Earlier in the week, I wrote this this detailing the two sides’ version of events when Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown after some sort of altercation at Wilson’s SUV window. Now check this out.
Let me preface what I’m about to say with how dangerous trial by public opinion is. It is dangerous. It undermines the rule of law, due process and innocent until proven guilty. Wilson is innocent unless proven guilty. I am not trying to “armchair” investigate or prosecute him. I’m still trusting in the court system to handle “justice” whatever that ends up looking like as this case goes on.
However, if you put a gun to my head (poor choice of words) and asked me to decide which side I think is more credible, from everything I’ve seen and read since I started following the case (again, realizing that I’m not privy to all the investigation details, obviously, only what’s been released to the public), if you asked me, “Would you proceed with charges against Darren Wilson for unlawfully shooting Michael Brown?” I would say yes. And let me explain why.
It’s the eyewitness testimonies from Michael Brady, Piaget Crenshaw, Tiffany Mitchell and Dorian Johnson (the individual with Michael Brown at the time of the shooting) that I find compelling. I linked their testimonies given to the news in the first sentence of this post.The New York Times in a report about eyewitness accounts, said “witnesses have given investigators sharply conflicting accounts of the killing,” without ever explaining what those differences were. And hearing exactly what all four of those witnesses have said, from the moment Piaget, Tiffany and Michael all saw the altercation begin at the SUV window (they obviously can’t account for the very beginning of it, as Dorian can, having been there) to the moment Brown was dead, I don’t hear any striking differences. I don’t hear any differences. It’s four individuals that don’t know each other and I believe Tiffany is not even from the area, that agree on the same version of events. Yet, the Times says “sharply conflicting.” Huh?
Both sides’ version of events agree on two points: That there was some sort of altercation at the SUV window and then Brown fled, to which Wilson gave chase, firing and shooting. The difference lies in what exactly happened at the beginning of that altercation — who was the aggressor? — and did Brown stop and surrender or charge the officer? Nothing from the autopsy can answer that as of yet.
However, taken the eyewitness testimony, especially that of Michael Brady, it seems to me what occurred was Brown ran, Wilson’s shooting, a bullet grazes Brown’s arm from behind causing Brown to stop and turn around. Law enforcement officials said (from that awful Times piece) Brown then lowered his hands and “moved toward” Wilson, whatever that means. Then Wilson says, “fearing that the teenager was going to attack him, the officer decided to use deadly force.” WAIT
As Lawrence O’Donnell (whatever else you want to say about him, his segment on this destroyed the Times’ shitty reporting on this) pointed out on his show, he already decided to use deadly force when he fired the first shot in the SUV and then fired more shots as he gave chase to Brown. What the hell?
Anyway, “moving toward” Wilson. What did Brady say about that? “By the time I get outside, he’s already turned around facing the officer, he has his arms under his stomach, half-way down; the officer lets out 3 or 4 shots at him. He took like one or two steps toward the officer.”