RegardingTheMichaelBrownCase <– PDF version
Mr. Michael Brown was shot to death by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson on the afternoon of Saturday, 9 Aug 2014. Some of the details that have become public knowledge include:
a. Wilson first “contacted” Mr. Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson while they were walking in the street.
b. There was some sort of confrontation between Brown and Wilson, part of which occurred inside Wilson’s patrol car.
c. At least one shot was fired inside the car.
d. Brown was shot at least six times and died at the scene.
e. Johnson was never shot at, nor injured in the incident, nor was he subsequently arrested.
There are two conflicting narratives as to the sequence of events. Both versions agree that there was a confrontation inside the patrol car, but differ as to the cause. Some claim Wilson pulled Brown in, or slammed a door on Brown provoking an attack by Brown. Wilson’s version is that Brown simply attacked him while Wilson was still in the car and the shot was fired while Brown was trying to take Wilson’s gun. The second area of dispute is whether Mr. Brown was shot in the back as he tried to run away, or was shot from the front as he tried to surrender to Wilson with his hands up; or had initially tried to run, but then turned and charged Wilson. Mr. Johnson has claimed Brown was trying to surrender and Wilson has claimed Brown was charging him. There were several eyewitnesses to the incident besides Wilson and Johnson; some corroborate Wilson’s version and other’s defending Johnson’s version. There have been three autopsies on Brown’s body, but none of them (as far as we know) are conclusive as to whether Brown was shot from the front or back.
Because Brown is black and Wilson is white, naturally the shooting attracted the attention of outside race-baiters and agitators, resulting in a prolonged period of nightly looting and rioting near the scene. Federal race-baiters including Attorney General Eric “Justice is political” Holder and President Barack “I lied, period” Obama also commented on the case, as usual without any knowledge thereof. The Ferguson police department handed control of security to the St. Louis County police department, but failing in their efforts, the National Guard was called in by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. The rioting and demonstrations finally ended when a grand jury was convened on 20 Aug to investigate the incident and make a determination as to whether Wilson should be charged with a crime. At this writing, the grand jury has not issued its findings, although it is expected shortly.
There are some other peculiarities in this case. First, Mr. Johnson admitted in the week after the shooting that he and Mr. Brown were in fact involved in a robbery (caught on videotape) of a local convenience store minutes before the confrontation with Wilson. It is not clear (as there is conflicting evidence) if Officer Wilson was aware of the robbery or the description of the men. So, we do not know yet whether the contact between Wilson and Brown/Johnson was precipitated because they were suspects in the robbery, or if it was because they were walking in the street. Secondly, Officer Wilson’s identity was not released until 11 Aug, ostensibly in the interest of his and the public’s safety.
One of the disturbing things about this case is that Wilson was treated differently than any other person. If Wilson had been a regular citizen, even with the chain of events as he described them, he would have been immediately arrested and charged with capital murder and his identity released. But because Wilson is a government employee, his identity was kept secret until practically forced from the Department, and he was merely placed on paid administrative leave pending a grand jury investigation. This is probably the greatest long-term facet of this case: the extent to which government employees are given preferential treatment compared to non-government employees involved in similar incidents. If we are to preserve liberty, it is essential that all come under the same law, government and non-government alike.