The rightwing media pulled no punches in dancing on Michael Brown’s grave and spitting in the face of his family. We are led to believe from evidence most of us never will see that the case is closed based solely upon the word of an irresponsible prosecutor who seemed to be acting as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney. More than that, he seemed, by the theatrics and teasing of the release, animated towards provoking emotions in the community. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s announcement regarding the Grand Jury’s decision seemed more like a campaign speech for political advancement than a public announcement.
Key to the case are the witness statements, in which Wilson also plays apart. Here it is also important to recognize several key aspects of the witness testimony. First, the more immediate the recollection by witnesses the better. That is, we can prioritize witness testimony taken the day of the shooting, August 9, 2014. Here is break down based on an analysis created from witness testimony by PBS Newshour. Excluding Officer Wilson, 21 witnesses were interviewed, 7 of those multiple times.
First, Officer Darren Wilson did not give testimony for a full 10 days following the shooting. That testimony is dated August 19th. That is critical to understanding the validity, veracity and accuracy of his statement.
of the 21 witnesses interviewed, 7 were interviewed more than once. In each case key aspects of their testimony changed. None of them could agree on the number of shots fired, ranging widely from between 3 and 11. Witness #44, interviewed on 8/16 and again on 9/25, a month and a half after the shooting, appears to have changed testimony in favor of Wilson. Initially the witness did not know if Brown reached into the car, but then changed testimony to indicate he had. Witness #48 initially indicated Brown had his hands up, but then recanted that
Excluding Wilson, whose testimony must be considered biased, the key issue is the alleged altercation at the vehicle. We are led to believe by the prosecutor that witnesses agreed fully that there was a battle in the vehicle, with Brown assaulting Wilson, supposedly in going for the gun, which subsequently went off injuring Brown and leaving residue on his hand. The facts show something quite different. While 8 witnesses recalled an altercation of some sort at the vehicle, 3 disagreed. 2 of the 8 changed their testimony on whether or not there was an altercation, both times in favor of the prosecution. While no allegations of witness intimidation have come to light, it must, until verified, remain a possibility.
While the prosecutor and the right wing media seem fixated on the alleged altercation at the vehicle, that is only part of the incident. Equally, if not more important, is whether Michael Brown had his hands up and was surrendering. Only 2 witness said that Brown did not have his hands up. Their testimony was taken days after the incident. 12 witnesses reported that his hands were up when shot. Likewise, only 3 witnesses said Brown was NOT running away when shot. Nearly every witness testified unanimously that he was running away when fired upon.
5 witnesses reported that Brown charged Wilson. 5 disagreed. That alone should have been enough to warrant a trial.
Finally, only 6 witnesses were interviewed the day of the shooting. That is curious, given the nature of the incident. Many of the rest were not interviewed for more than a week, several after a month or more and one on the 11th of November, more than three months after the shooting. Of those interviewed the day of the shooting, all were unanimous that Brown did not charge Wilson, or that they gave no answer
Clearly this is a simple analysis of the witness testimony. Not included here, but critical to any assessment is the distance and visibility of each witness to the shooting. Also critical is at what point in the incident each witness arrived. That is, did they witness fully, unencumbered by trees, angle, distance or lighting (1.e., glare) the incident from the moment Brown approached the vehicle until his death, or did the witness only the incident in part.
Still, based even upon a simple analysis we are left with an inescapable conclusion; it is not as airtight and simple a case as the prosecutor and media would lead us to believe. On that basis alone, in an uncorrupted system there should have been more than enough cause to hold Wilson for trial. And for those who would place too much faith in the infallibility of the judicial system, one only has to look to the civil rights era to realize that the courts have long maintained a bias towards the status quo rather than to minorities.
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.