There are a lot of myths which have insidiously become part of the legend of Michael Brown story which has been reinforced by a police investigative bias towards one of their own and then by media outlets not doing a minimal level of due diligent fact checking. A lot of what occurred in Ferguson, MO on 8/9/14 when a Black, unarmed, older teenager, Michael Brown who was fatally shot by the White Police Officer Darren Wilson has been inaccurately reported on by the media. These distortions continue to be repeated as in today’s (3/6/15) NY Times article regarding the Ferguson DOJ report.
With my fact checking, I, at least, made an effort to read all the eye witness and expert witness testimonies. Many incorrect facts of mythical proportions have even permeated the DOJ report explaining in part why they did not charge Police Officer Darren Wilson. Because the standard of proof to successfully prosecute a federal hate crime case is so high, he probably would not have been charged in any event. However, when the correct facts are brought forth in the wrongful death civil suit filed by Michael Brown’s family or by some other way, there is going to a lot of explaining to do by the media.
THIS IS AN UNUSUALLY LENGTHY BLOG ON FERGUSON FACTS
After reading every FBI eye witness statement, I can say unequivocally that the majority of the credible eye witnesses assert that while Michael Brown was moving towards Officer Wilson, that he was not charging. After I had reviewed the eye witness FBI or other police interview transcripts, I personally counted at least 11 eyewitnesses that no prosecutor or defense attorney would ever allow near a courtroom if they like prevailing. I am talking about witnesses who were never at the crime scene and /or had major facts wrong making their testimony highly questionable. For example one witness said that the victim Michael Brown was pointing a gun at himself. I found that 9 credible eye witnesses were in agreement on the major facts including that Officer Wilson fired his gun towards Michael Brown’s back as he was fleeing plus 3 more who concurred with most of the facts except they do not recall Officer Wilson shooting at Michael Brown when he was running away.
The facts that all twelve of the eye witnesses agree on are: 1.) That Officer Wilson did approach Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson about walking in the middle of Canfield Drive followed up by the officer quickly reversing his police SUV to cut off the two young men; 2.) That there was a fight between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson while the young man was outside the driver’s side door with the window down and Officer Wilson was sitting inside; 3.) That Officer Wilson did fire his gun while inside the SUV at least 1 to 2 times and that this is probably where Michael Brown’s right hand was shot; 4.) That Michael Brown escaped from the officer’s hold and ran east towards the Canfield Green Apartments; 5.) That Officer Wilson exited his SUV with his firearm drawn and pursued Michael Brown on foot; 6.) That Michael Brown turned around at some point to face Officer Wilson; 7.) That Michael Brown raised his arms at least at shoulder level for a short time; and 8.) That Michael Brown moved, staggered, fell a few feet towards Officer Wilson while being shot multiple times. Then there is Witness 10 who fully concurs with Officer Wilson’s accounts including that Michael Brown was charging and Witness 48 who agrees that Michael Brown was charging; whereas 12 eye witnesses describe Michael Brown as moving towards Officer Brown but not charging.
News organizations are perpetuating the myth of there being absolutely no gun shot wounds to the back of Michael Brown when there is physical evidence which could be interpreted as Michael Brown having been shot in the back. The famous Dr. Michael Baden’s trial testimony can be found in Vol. 23 of the grand jury transcript, pages 65-67. His words regarding item 83 in the autopsy report are: “And I think the next one ( back of right forearm entry wound) shows the controversial one…Well as to whether he was shot, people say from the back, no injuries to the back. But this back of the arm wound would support his being shot from behind.
Prior to the March 2015 DOJ report, the media for the most part, did not cover how the Police Officer’s training contributed to the Ferguson events on 8/9/14. During the grand jury hearing as per Volume 5 of the grand jury transcript, starting on page 196, Officer Wilson admitted that he does not carry a Taser gun because it was too large and cumbersome to carry on his duty belt and this practice was not discouraged by his superiors. The training officer who testified as per Volume 22 of the grand jury transcript, pages 38-39, described how their police department expects their officers to pursue a suspect. It was obvious that he was not aware of the 1985 Supreme Court ruling of Garner v Tennessee which overturns all state statutes and which bars an armed police officer from pursuing an unarmed, fleeing suspect unless the officer or others are in imminent danger of serious bodily harm which was not the case in this instance. To my mind, the Ferguson Police Department was the gun and Police Officer Darren Wilson was the bullet.
When media, police and prosecutors referred to the anatomy of the back, the back of the fore arm is never mentioned and so they were deliberately misleading the eye witnesses in an attempt to have the eye witnesses rethink what they saw. A good example of these dynamics can be found in the transcript pages 10-21 of the 11/11/14 police interview of Witness 64 who is young and who became doubtful when being confronted with the evidence of no gun shot wounds in Michael Brown’s back.
In the autopsy report by the St. Louis County Office of Medical Examiner, Exam Case # 2014-5143, on pages 3-4, the medical examiner lists the gun shot, back side injury sustained by Michael Brown on 8/9/2014. It is point 8 which states, ” There is a gun shot entrance wound of the dorsal right fore arm. (Dorsal is the backside of the right fore arm).”
There are three major issues that I would still like investigated by the media and/or the civil suit investigators which are:
1.) What was the specific dialog between the convenient store clerk and Michael Brown on 8/9/14? In the video, there was no audio component but the lead detective in his police report #14-43984, pages 52- 57, notes that there appeared to be heated words exchanged between the two players but I cannot find anyone mentioning anything about the content. On Vol. I of the grand jury transcript, page 53, the medical examiner testified at the grand jury proceedings that two five dollar bills were found in Michael Brown’s pocket at the crime scene which means he had monies to pay for some cigarillos. As per the store owner, he confiscated about $15.00 worth (PD report #14-43984, page53), when he grabbed them. Michael Brown and his companion, Dorian Johnson could have split this expense. There could have been some other transaction occurring. I want to verify one way or another if their heated discussion had any possible bearing on Michael Brown not making a payment or making a deal. For me, this omission is a big deal.
There is reporting that the store clerk claims to not speak English and any interview with him would require a translator (Vol. 24 of the grand jury transcript, pages 91-93). He alleges that he heard Michael Brown cussing but he could not repeat the words. I would simply like to verify this to be true. Personally, I grew up in a culture in which many people around me were bilingual, and sometimes when it was convenient, those who spoke English very well would claim that they didn’t understand, etc. The common sense question would be, how could the lead detective describe Michael Brown and the convenient store clerk as appearing to have a heated exchange of words, if the clerk does not speak English? I still want to know the content of what was argued. Reference to the ST. Louis County PD detective describing what he perceives to be a heated discussion between Michael Brown and the store clerk can be found in the PD report #14-43984, page 52.
2.) The next issue that I want further checked out has to do with the timeline and how accurate was the police dispatch system with regards to maintaining time. The FBI has sound data of the 10 gunshots from a local resident who was using his smartphone with glide technology. Glide has developed their system to keep real time and the company places the time of the shooting at 12:02:14. On the St. Louis County PD report #14-43984, page 1, the time of death is reported at 12:02 p.m. and on page 162, the police dispatch track 369, documents Officer Wilson’s last call on 8/9/14 as officer “21.” On page 165 of the PD report #14-43984, the lead detective notes that the dispatch track 369 matches the cad recorded time of 12:01:50. Does this mean that dispatch’s next timed event which is time stamped at 12:02:22, is post any shooting? I would like this timeline discrepancy and confusion explained. The time between 12:01:50 when Officer Darren Wilson called for back up as per track 369 and when Glide places the time of the shooting at 12:02:14, allows for only 24 seconds for the initial altercation between the 2 players to when Michael Brown was fatally shot.
Copper creek Ct, Ferguson, Mo, Canfield Dr.
12:02:22 Arrive on Scene
3.) What is the background on Witness 10. After I reviewed his different statements provided to the police and the grand jury, it is my opinion that he was pandering to the police by being willing to say what ever they wanted to hear and I am wondering why? He was not competently cross-examined by the prosecutors as to various inconsistencies regarding his testimonies.
Lawrence O’Donnell, host of the MSNBC TV show, “The Last Word” has reported that Witness 10 originally said that Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were behind him on the same sidewalk where he was positioned, and that he viewed the crime drama from a distance of about 100 yards; however, during his grand jury testimony, he stated that both men were walking in the middle of the street and that he could see everything from a distance of 50 to 75 yards away.
I added some points to Lawrence O’Donnell’s findings regarding Witness 10. In the transcribed 8/11 police interview, Witness 10 seems to become confused as to the timeline. He indicates that the events started at 8:40 a.m. but then he corrects himself and states that the time was around 11:40 a.m. It is as if he is trying to remember what he is supposed to say. He could not provide the phone number or the address of his employer but he could provide directions. Later, he says that on 8/9, he was working for an individual living in the area. He volunteers seeing a blue Monte Carlo at the scene during this 8/11 interview and at the grand jury hearing. All the other witnesses including those in the car describe the color as white.
Witness 10 was the only witness who concurred with Police Officer Daren Wilson’s allegation that as Michael Brown turned around, he reached with his hand towards his waistband. PBS published a table of witnesses, listing eye witnesses 22, 30 and 64 as indicating Michael Brown lowered his hand but there are caveats which are significant. For example, Witness 30 is an admitted felon who alleges that Michael Brown held the gun which was directly pointed back to himself, and consequently, he has no credibility. Witness 64, a credible witness simply says that Michael Brown tried to raise his hands but lowered it while using the other hand to clutch his chest. Witness 22 states that she heard the beginning shots, she and her boyfriend did not see anything until Michael Brown was facing Officer Wilson with his hands partially raised. In conclusion, Witness 10 is the only one who categorically vouches for Officer Wilson’s accounts 100%. On pages 4-5 of the 8/11 interview referenced in the ST. Louis County police report #14-43984, he is noted as stating the following comments on 8/11/14:
“So, the police officer exited the vehicle with his weapon drawn pursuing Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was quite a distance and he stopped and when he stopped, he didn’t get down on the ground or anything. He turned around and did some type of movement. I never saw him put up his hands or anything. I can’t recall the movement that he did. I’m not sure if he pulled his pants up or whatever he did but I seen some type of movement and he started charging towards the police officer.”
Witness 10 in his 8/11/14 interview with the ST. Louis County lead detective, as per page 9-10, he specifically states that he saw Michael Brown inside Officer Wilson’s SUV and he is the only witness who ever alleged this. The following are some excerpts:
The lead detective asks, “I just wanna make sure I understand okay? You see him in the car. You can’t necessarily tell what’s going on but after hearing the gun shot and seeing him run off, you make an assumption that there’s some sort of confrontation or conflict in side the car, right?”
Witness 10 responds, “Yes.”
The lead detective inquires, “Okay, so how…roughly how long do you think that he is, that Michael Brown is in the car?”
Witness 10 says, “Maybe at least 10 seconds from what I seen.”
On page 5 of the ST. Louis County police transcribed 8/11/14 interview, Witness 10 continues with the following remarks:
“And, Um, I must say what it was but I thought I heard something metal hit the ground and I’m not sure what it was. Um, I went in to tell the people that I was working with that I just..what I witnesses and I came back out and they were taping the scene off and I decided, I went down there closer to where the body was and I stayed down there ten..5 to 10 minutes.”
Witness 10’s testimony can be viewed in pages 149- 200 of Vol. 6 of grand jury transcript. On pages 195, he states for the record that he has no connection to the Ferguson Police Department. However, when he was at the crime scene on 8/9/14, he noticed Michael Brown’s Step Father and thought he knew him. Later, he was reading a newspaper and realized that he did recognize the Step Father. The prosecutors did ask him how he happened to know the Step Father but the answer is redacted on page 196. The prosecutors did question him if he was a friend or if there was a negative relationship with Michael Brown’s Step Father. Witness 10 responded that he was not a friend but that there wasn’t anything negative about the relationship, either. Witness 10 voluntarily came forward by personally walking into the police station, the Monday after the shooting, August 11, 2014 and that is when he participated in his one and only police interview before he testified before the grand jury. He departs from his initial 8/11/14 police interview by stating that just Michael Brown’s upper body was inside the police SUV; that he was witnessing events from a distance of 50 to 75 yards away; that he was too far away to hear what was said by either Michael Brown or Officer Wilson and yet, supposedly he was still able to hear something metallic hit the ground.The prosecutors played the CD of Witness 10’s prior 8/11 police interview (pages 215-231) for the grand jury but they interrupt it at the point when he mentions that he saw Michael Brown inside the police SUV. They explained that another witness was ready to testify. Needless to say, Witness 10 was never cross-examined by the prosecutors about the major discrepancies between his 8/11 police statement and his grand jury testimony.
There are two additional questions that I would like answered?
1.) Why was the decision made to test Officer Wilson’s gun for DNA instead of being tested for fingerprints?
As per Volume III of the transcribed grand jury hearing, pages 25-27 and 42-45. The crime scene investigator testified that Police Officer Darren Wilson’s gun could not be tested both for fingerprints and DNA material. Investigators made the choice to test for DNA evidence even though this same expert also testified that Officer Wilson did not have any bloody wounds and that he was permitted to travel from the crime scene to the police department without changing clothes which would be standard for most police departments and that Officer Wilson had blood stains on his clothes. Officer Wilson has stated for the record that there was blood on the gun when he placed it into and evidence envelop himself. For reference, see pages 7- 10 of 8/10/14 deposition between Officer Wilson and a detective from the St. Louis County Police Department, Bureau of Crimes against Persons. These are Officer Wilson’s words, ” I went right to the bathroom and had to wash off…I took my gun out, I made it safe, and I sealed it in an evidence envelop. Um at that point, I believe the blood was from after I fired and he came back to hit me, was from him like me blocking is how I got this, cause I was not cut or bleeding anywhere. I think it was his blood.” Consequently, there should have been someone to figure out that Michael Brown’s DNA would be on the officer’s gun and in the police SUV, mostly because Officer Wilson transferred Michael Brown’s blood. The physical evidence was compromised. Consequently, the smart decision should have been to have the gun checked for fingerprints. As per Vol. 3 of the grand jury transcript, pages 43-44, the crime scene investigator details how the decision was made to swab Officer Wilson’s gun for DNA instead of testing the gun for fingerprint evidence. On pages 25-27 of Vol. 3, he explains that the crime lab could not do both DNA and fingerprint testing. Personally I believe the answer is that the police knew that Michael Brown’s DNA would be on the gun but they did not think his fingerprints would be there.
There are those excusing not fingerprinting the gun because Officer Wilson alleged that Michael Brown covered the officer’s hand while he was struggling for the gun. Within the St. Louis County Police Department Investigative Report # 14-43984 on page 14, one can read the police statement that Police Officer Darren Wilson provided on 8/9/2014. He states, “Brown’s hand was large enough to encompass the top of the slide, a large portion of the hand grips and the trigger guard. It would have provided and important piece of the puzzle if Michael Brown’s fingerprints were or were not on the gun.
2.) The other issue that I do not believe was covered was that Officer Wilson had been wearing his duty belt at the time of the shooting. The duty belt is supposed to include a Taser gun and if Michael Brown was within 15 feet of Officer Wilson, this should have been an option for him to use. During his grand jury testimony (Vol. 5, starting on page 196), he testifies that he elected to not carry his Taser. Just so the reader knows, the police did not confiscate his duty belt until over a month later as it had been stored in Officer Wilson’s trunk before someone decided that it might be important. As per Vol. 24 of the grand jury transcript, page 84, there was fingerprint testing done on the duty belt which came back negative for Michael Brown’s fingerprints.
Just for the record, the Sergeant supervisor who was the on duty superior on 8/9/14 and who was the first officer to debrief Officer Wilson about the shooting, provided grand jury testimony which specifically indicates that Officer Wilson had no knowledge of the convenient store theft. The data on this fact can be found in Volume V of the grand jury transcriptions, page 56. The following reflects what was discussed.
The prosecutor asked, “Did he talk about the stealing that occurred at Ferguson Market, that he was stopping these two to investigate that?”
The sergeant supervisor answered, “He said he did not have that call, that call I later found out was given to Officer xxxx.”
The prosecutor followed up, “Did he know about it, did he talk about the stealing?”
The sergeant supervisor responded, “He did not know anything about the stealing call.”
I have read the first few pages of the DOJ report regarding former Police Officer Darren Wilson and I had to quit out of anger and frustration. I feel betrayed by our U.S. government and just about all of the establishment press. I pledge by the end of March , 2015 to have written many who are in the news media business about how I know that the DOJ report, as it pertains to Police Officer Darren Wilson, is laden with factual errors.
This does not mean that if the facts were corrected that the DOJ would have charged Officer Wilson with any civil rights violations because of very high standard of proof required for the DOJ to proceed.
However the facts and the truth do matter. The DOJ REPORT PERTAINING TO OFFICER WILSON APPEARS TO BE THOROUGH, UNBIASED, PROFESSIONAL AND AN ACCURATE PORTRAYAL OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ON 8/9/14 IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI unless one also has taken the time to read all witness statements, grand jury transcripts and documents.
Grand Jury Evidence – St. Louis Public Radio apps.stlpublicradio.org/ferguson-project/evidence.html
George Zimmerman not expected to face civil rights charges (Gary Green/AP). By Sari Horwitz October 1, 2014 www.washingtonpost.com/…/george–zimmerman…
After Ferguson, police consider ‘tactical retreat’ instead of force in certain cases STLtoday.com – 1/24/15 By Christine Byers
Glide confirms time of “gunshots” recording in Ferguson,MO …upstart.bizjournals.com/…/glide–confirms-…South Florida Business Journal Aug 29, 2014 – Glide confirms time of “gunshots” recording in Ferguson, MO
Audio captured at time of Michael Brown shooting, company …http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/…/michael-brown-ferguson-shooting-audio/ Aug 28, 2014 – App: Audio near time of Ferguson shooting 03:33 … said Thursday the recording was created at the time the Missouri teenager was killed this month.
MICHAEL BROWN’S MEMORIAL TELLS THE STORY …grondamorin.com/…/michael–browns–memorial–tells-the-story–part–xi/ Jan 12, 2015 – MICHAEL BROWN’S MEMORIAL TELLS THE STORY, PART XI. by Gronda Morin.
Justice Department Finds a Pattern of Civil Rights Violations by the Ferguson Police Department. The Justice Department announced the …