Michael Brown: Redacted Police Reports Released

Ferguson police today released the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown (Darren Wilson, who had been on the force for 6 years with no disciplinary history) and 16 pages of heavily redacted reports (available here) related to Michael Brown.

None of the released reports describe the shooting. Instead, they describe an alleged "strong arm" robbery at a convenience store that occurred shortly before noon on the day Brown was shot and killed. Police also released video images from a surveillance camera inside the store showing a person they say is Brown "towering" over a much shorter person (the store clerk or manager). Brown, according to the report, is 18 years old, 6'4" and 292 pounds. [More...]

A female witness to the "robbery" relates that the person police say is Brown was accompanied by another man, since identified as Dorian Johnson, age 22, and that Brown left the store with a box of cigars without paying for them. The store clerk tried to prevent Brown from leaving by locking the door, but according to the police report, citing the video images, and statements of the clerk and the female customer, Brown pushed the clerk against a display case and then left the store with Johnson and the cigars.

From page 6 of the 10 page police report (I've filled in patron or clerk for the obvious redactions, and X where I'm not sure which one the report is referring to.)

[The female patron] had just come out of the restroom and returned to the counter where she observed Brown tell [the clerk] that he (Brown) wanted several boxes of cigars. As[the clerk] was placing the boxes on the counter, Brown grabbed a box of Swisher Sweet cigars and handed them to Johnson who was standing behind Brown. [The patron] witnessed [the clerk] tell Brown that he had to pay for those cigars first. That is when Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets and turned to the leave the store. [X] then calls "911". Meanwhile, [the clerk]comes out from behind the counter and attempts to stop Brown from leaving. According to[the patron], [the clerk] was trying to lock the door until Brown returned the merchandise to him. That is when Brown grabbed [the clerk] by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack. [X] backed away
and Brown and Johnson exited the store with the cigars.

The clerk provided the direction in which the two men were walking after leaving the store (Neither had a driver's license.)

Also included in the media release are call dispatch times and a report by an officer who said he canvassed the area in which they were supposed to be walking but didn't see anyone.

The reports do not describe the encounter between Brown and the officer who shot him, or any details of the shooting.

The reports don't say whether Brown had any cigars on him at the time he was killed or whether he had enough money to pay for the cigars. The report says one box of Swisher Sweeter Cigars was stolen with a value of $48.99.

Here's an interview of a witness to the shooting, Tiffany Mitchell. She says she was driving with an employee in her car and saw Brown and the officer wrestling through the cop car window, and says Michael was trying to get away. She heard a shot go off inside the car. She says Brown got away and started running down the street. The cop got out of his car, followed him and started shooting. The first shot made him jerk and he turned around and put his hands up. She says the cop kept shooting, until he fell to the ground.

Dorian Johnson has also given media interviews. Police have previously said Brown tried to grab the cop's gun, which Johnson denies.

"The genesis of this was a physical confrontation," [St. Louis County Police Chief Jon] Belmar said, adding that Ferguson police asked his office to investigate the case.

Without revealing what led to the dispute, Belmar said the preliminary investigation showed that the Ferguson officer tried to exit his vehicle, but Brown pushed him back into the car, "where he physically assaulted the police officer" and struggled over the officer's weapon, Belmar said.

Another version of Belmar's statement:

Police said Brown pushed the officer back into the police car. According to police, Brown then entered the officer’s vehicle and a struggle ensued over the officer’s weapon. Police said during the physical altercation a shot was fired inside of the car.

The most unhelpful, over-the-top, incendiary description comes, not surprisingly, from lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is representing Brown's parents.

“That baby was executed in broad daylight,” ... Brown was shot and left in the road like an animal."

Crump's histrionics aside, nothing released by the police today sheds any light on the police narrative of the shooting or what led up to it.

It's unfortunate that the police chose to release documents casting Brown as a thug, while claiming exemptions from the public records disclosure law as to anything relating to the cop's initial encounter with Brown or the shooting. It's obvious the shooting was the result of the encounter between the cop and Brown, not the alleged robbery.

Even if, as the cop apparently claims (contrary to accounts of at least three witnesses) he was struck in the face by Brown during a struggle for his weapon inside his vehicle, during which a shot went off, giving him grounds to arrest Brown for assaulting an officer or some other felony, why wasn't he equipped with a non-lethal weapon (stun gun, pepper ball, etc) to use on Brown to stop his flight from the scene, and why didn't he call and wait for backup to arrive to apprehend Brown, instead of pursuing him on his own?

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    Chief just said (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:31:04 PM EST
    The shooter had no knowledge of the alleged robbery.   Completely unrelated.

    HuffPo (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:36:44 PM EST
    Well, not completely unrelated. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:45:45 PM EST
    Jackson said Wilson, along with other officers, were called to the area after a 911 call reporting a "strong-arm robbery" at a nearby convenience store.
    Assuming the quote above is accurate, if the robbery had not occurred, Wilson would not have been there, and Brown would not have been shot and killed.

    The chief (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:50:03 PM EST
    Was asked that question a couple of tomes and his answers seemed ..... evasive.  
    Watch the news conference.  I'm sure it's up someplace by now.

    The link to what I quoted (none / 0) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:04:44 PM EST
    is here. I'm sure there are other reports as well.

    the question.

    When first asked if Wilson knew Brown was a suspect in the robbery, he said "I don't know. I don't know what he [Wilson, I presume] said in his interview [police incident interview, I presume].

    On the follow-up questions the chief then seemed certain that Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect.

    That point will probably be clarified in the coming days.


    Also (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:51:28 PM EST
    I would say if that's true why didn't they say that days ago.

    Until we have a timeline of Browns (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:01:42 PM EST
    movements during that day, this is an unwarranted assumption.

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence."

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


    "the officer, Darren Wilson, saw cigars" (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:18:56 PM EST
    Jackson said the officer was aware cigars had been taken in the robbery of a store nearby, but did not know when he encountered Brown and Dorian Johnson that they might be suspects. He stopped them because they were walking in the street, Jackson said.

    But Jackson told the Post-Dispatch that the officer, Darren Wilson, saw cigars in Brown's hand and realized he might be the robber.

    A most inconvenient addition, (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:26:32 PM EST
    if true.

    They seek them here; they seek them there... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:41:14 PM EST
    They seek those loosies everywhere...

    What did the chief really say (none / 0) (#29)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:29:17 PM EST
    Huffpo has one headline Capt linked to, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline contradicts Huffpo.  The Post-Dispatch also has this nice little blurb about a local cat fight.

    "St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley will lead an effort to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case involving an officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

    Dooley spoke with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster today and asked the process to remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from the case. Tension has mounted over the county's handling of the situation. McCulloch fought back on Thursday, criticizing a state effort that replaced county police handling protests in Ferguson."


    This mess is far from over.


    related because Brown knew (none / 0) (#75)
    by CityLife on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:43:13 AM EST
    Brown would have known he had just robbed a store so it makes perfect sense that he would assume the cop was stopping him for the robbery. Looking at the video of the robbery, it lends credibility to the cop's story that Brown assaulted him.

    No, it doesn't. (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by nycstray on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:59:57 AM EST
    Just because Brown shoved a guy who was trying to lock him in the store, you can't assume he assaulted the officer. There's a difference between an unarmed (and much smaller) man blocking your exit and a LEO with a gun. And even if there wasn't, just because you messed with one person, it doesn't mean you messed with someone else.

    Why would Brown think that a cop (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 07:22:12 AM EST
    Telling him to get the f out of the street is stopping him because he robbed a store?

    Cops  hassling you for being in the street instead of questioning you about the robbery would normally be an indication that the cop didn't know about the robbery.


    A couple of primers on logical and rhetorical (none / 0) (#81)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 08:20:39 AM EST

    B/S 101  B/S 201

    Hey, I'm just trying to help.  Never hurts to review the tools of the trade.  Like they say, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull$hit.


    It appears the used his service revolver (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:34:17 PM EST
    when he shot a suspected fleeing felon (robbery with use of force).  Requiring a law enforcement officer to use a non-lethal weapon in these circumstances would entail state legislatures changing current law.

    Also, some days this blog disparages law enforcement use of stun guns, which are sometimes lethal.  This is inconsistent advocacy.

    See CaptHowdy comment #1 (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:46:21 PM EST
    The shooter had no knowledge of the alleged robbery.   Completely unrelated.

    Maybe. Maybe not. An officer responded to (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:06:47 PM EST
    the 911 call and assumed subsequent dispatch. Could not locate the suspect. Should we assume that was the end of the matter?  Radio communication. A sworn officer has the power of arrest re a suspected felon even though the crime may not have occurred in his presence.

    CaptHowdy Comment #2 (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:22:16 PM EST
    Ferguson Police Chief: Darren Wilson Did Not Know Michael Brown Was Suspect In 'Strong-Armed' Robbery



    But is that the same... (none / 0) (#70)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:52:59 AM EST
    ...as not knowing that the robbery had occurred?

    The fog (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:02:18 AM EST
    Is not accidental

    If he knew about the robbery (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by nycstray on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:08:57 AM EST
    why was he dealing with a guy jaywalking (who he didn't know was a suspect)?

    Why? JWB (none / 0) (#82)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 08:21:45 AM EST
    The Issue... (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:52:21 PM EST
    ...is when cops use tazers when it not warranted or needed.  Like old ladies, kids, pregnant women, and people whose only crime is expressing their opinion.

    I challenge you to find an instance where the use of tazers, or any other non-lethal weapon, has been condemned here in a situation in which a cop, or others, were in actual actual danger.

    They are suppose to be alternative to lethal weapons, and when used for their stated purpose, no issues.  When they are used in situations in which no one, including the officer is any danger, it condemned.

    This is the problem.

    So is this.


    Denver has police procedures (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:55:28 PM EST
    recommending the use of non lethal weapons. It also has its manual online. I couldn't find one for Ferguson.

    Unnecessarily or prematurely drawing or exhibiting a firearm limits an officer's alternatives in controlling a situation, creates unnecessary anxiety on the part of citizens, and may result in an unwarranted or accidental discharge of the firearm. An officer's decision to draw or exhibit a firearm should be based on the tactical situation and the officer's reasonable belief there is a substantial risk that the situation may escalate to the point where deadly force may be justified.....

    105.03 Less Lethal Force and Control Options

    (1) POLICY The primary duty of police officers is to protect the public, themselves and other officers. Less lethal force and control options may assist officers in performing these duties, but are not intended to substitute for the use of deadly force when it is reasonable and necessary. There is neither a requirement nor an expectation that officers attempt to use or exhaust less lethal options in situations requiring the use of deadly force.

    (2) LESS LETHAL OPTIONS The Denver Police Department authorizes the use of Electronic Restraints Devices (ERD)/TASER, Pepper Ball deployment systems, twelve (12) gauge and forty (40) mm specialty impact munitions to be carried by certain officers in their normal duty assignments.

    Sounds Like the Cops... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:03:23 PM EST
    ...have been busy building a case that the officer believed Brown posed a significant threat to the public.

    From Wiki:

    In the United States, this is governed by Tennessee v. Garner, (U.S. Supreme Court 1985) which said that "deadly force...may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others." This case abolished the Fleeing felon rule where a fleeing felon who posed no immediate threat to society (e.g., a burglar) could be shot if they refused to halt.

    Justify the shooting before releasing the details that lead up to it.  Doesn't seem like the actions of people who believe they did the right thing.

    There is a bullet somewhere, and probably a dash cam with a mic, and surely a cop fearing for others safety got dinged up a little; they aren't afraid to release evidence, so what is the problem ?

    Brown could have pummeled that clerk and he just pushed him out of the way.  He robbed a store with size alone, no weapons, but soon after he decided to take a gun from a cop, then flees because he wasn't strong enough to take the gun from the cop, but so menacing as to pose a threat to the public unarmed.

    No dash cam/mic. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:10:06 PM EST
    The important time frame is what did the officer (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:12:33 PM EST
    know b/4 he decided to fire his service revolver?  No one had searched decedent's person for weapon(s) at that point.

    I wouldn't be too surprised if the tox screen shows results which may have affected decedent's judgment.


    I doubt toxicology will show anything negative (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:04:57 PM EST
    on Brown. Isn't it just as likely the officer's toxicology will show something indicative of him being too quick on the trigger figer?

    I think the officer is going to rely on his claim that Brown committed a felony assault on an officer by trying to grab his gun and he was justified in pursuing him and using lethal force to stop him from fleeing the scene.

    I'd like to know if Brown's fingerprints are on the gun or holster.

    It may be as simple as the officer getting hit in the face while Brown tried to escape his clutches and the officer got incensed and went after him, gunning him down. And now is coming up with a self-defense claim that has worked in such situations before.

    Who will be believe? Three witnesses, two of whom have no dog in the fight, or the officer, whose career (and freedom) is on the line?


    As you pointed out to me.... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:08:29 AM EST
    ...with regard to Zimmerman, a self-serving account is still evidence and cannot be dismissed or ignored just because it helps he who tells it, but must be weighed against all the other evidence.

    I'm not feeling much of an "Officer Wilson is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty" vibe from a lot of folks here at TL.


    That vibe (none / 0) (#74)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:15:26 AM EST
    Probably has to do with the multiple eyewitness accounts that contradict his version of events.     I have pre judged nothing.

    One question.
    Why did this take this many days?  If his version is true they must gave known it within minutes of the incident.  Why wait 5days to tell this story?


    what is the contradiction? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by CityLife on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 03:07:23 AM EST
    From what I read, Witness Tiffany Mitchell saw Brown and the officer "tussling through the window." That is extremely dangerous.  From what I have read the cop is reacting to an assault and already fired a shot while he was still in his car as Brown was reaching into the car. From what I read, the cop then fired another shot as Brown is trying to escape and this is all before much talked about "Brown surrendered with his hands up" story. So Brown was already shot and spins around and raises his hands? How many seconds has elapsed? looks like a lot of people are skipping past a lot of important details and ignoring a violent timeline about which we don't have all the details. The cop was injured when Brown assaulted him correct? That isn't a minor point. From what I understand, it seems that many people have assumed the cop lied when he said Brown tried to grab his gun. Does any fair minded person disagree that the video of Brown robbing the story lends more credibility to the idea what this was a criminal who had assaulted a police officer? do we know for sure that the shots already fired didn't cause Brown to collapse during his alleged surrender? I don't think we have all the facts.

    Why (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 03:32:39 AM EST
    Wait 5 days to tell that story?

    5 days? Didn't the cops say from the start? (none / 0) (#79)
    by CityLife on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 04:35:08 AM EST
    Didn't cops say from the start that Brown had assaulted the police officer and tried to grab his gun? "The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager Saturday by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb came after a struggle for the officer's gun, police officials said Sunday, in an explanation that met with outrage and skepticism in the largely African-American community." - Grief and Protests Follow Shooting of a Teenager, Police Say Mike Brown Was Killed After Struggle for Gun in St. Louis Suburb
    and as "sarcastic unnamed one" pointed out "if I am not mistaken at about the 6:50 mark he says that the deceased ran away from the Wilson and his truck, and then came back towards Wilson. ... If Brown did turn around and come back toward the truck/Wilson, that adds a whole new dimension." and this is the video sarcastic unnamed one links to http://youtu.be/VdL9dqkyjhM?t=6m2s  where MyEBT&me writes: "Does the man in the background at the 6:30 mark say "who's hat is that?" his hat. "how's he get from here to there"? he ran. "then the cop got out the truck but dude kept coming at the cop. fired shots but dude kept coming". Was Mike Brown charging toward the armed police officer after assaulting him in the truck?"

    Why would someone who just committed a (none / 0) (#21)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:13:02 PM EST
    robbery do something unusual, attention-getting and possibly illegal (jaywalking?) like walking down the middle of the street?

    I would not be surprised if he had at least a little buzz on, not that that is a requirement for unusual behavior or course.


    I am retreating to my previously stated (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:15:09 PM EST
    position of "I'm gonna wait."  

    Most likely the law enforcement officer's conditions of employment require he abstain from ingesting llegal substances.

    It is reported the deceased has no criminal history. Why would he allegedly push around a store clerk to steal cigars?  Probably aware such ,erchants generally have video securty. Why would he allegedly push the officer?  Why would he allegedly run away from an officer?  Impaired judgment.


    Because the clerk was trying (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:22:24 PM EST
    to lock him in the store. He wanted to leave.

    This sounds like, at most, a shoplifting case, not a robbery case, and the clerk escalated it by trying to detain him. Some jurisdictions allow shopkeepers only to detain someone after they leave the store. Missouri allows detention inside the store.


    It would have been misdemeanor shoplifting (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:31:19 PM EST
    W/o the shoving. Those photos show more than a push.

    Missouri statute: (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:36:46 PM EST
    The kid wouldn't have reached as far in as (none / 0) (#46)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:34:51 PM EST
    a holstered weapon, to the officer's belt, but he might have objected mightily to a gun being brandished in his direction, and reached for that.

    "the officer's toxicology..."

    An "ology" indeed, but, in this case, proctology.


    I was thinking the very same thing. (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:15:28 PM EST
    a danger? (none / 0) (#36)
    by markw on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:07:51 PM EST
    I think it is reasonable to assume that a person who assaults a police offer and tries to take his gun poses a significant threat to the public. And even more so if that is a 6'4" 290+ pound 18-year old.

    It is reasonable to stop shooting when (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:22:34 PM EST
    a person has surrendered and put his hands in the air.

    Three witnesses have stated that this occurred.


    yep (none / 0) (#41)
    by markw on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:12:46 PM EST
    Yes, if he was standing stationary, with his hands in the air, and not making threatening movements, it would not be reasonable to continue shooting, and would presumably be a prosecutable offense.

    My guess is that whether this is in fact what happened is going to be highly contested.


    a few thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by crimebird on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:00:00 PM EST
    1. It's nice to find a site where a hotly disputed event can be discussed without people doing the online equivalent of screaming at each other.

    2.  Based on the limited information that is out there on this case, I think anyone who professes to know what happened is being very foolish.  

    3.  I'm going to be keenly interested in what the forensics (bloodstains, ballistics, pathologist's report) tell us.  As we all know, eyewitness testimony can be very dramatic but sometimes it can be wrong.

    4.  I don't blame the police out there for wearing riot gear when dealing with riots.  I don't think the automatic rifles were necessary (it would seem to me that sidearms, shields, batons, and some shotguns would have been sufficient).

    5.  I think that given the depiction of Brown as a "gentle giant" who was going to college, the video tape of him robbing that store is highly relevant if only because it contradicts the incendiary claims that he was some sort of completely "nice" guy who would never get in a fight with a cop.

    You know what (none / 0) (#69)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:49:56 AM EST
    I agree with #5 except for something J said that I had not considered.
    What if the clerk refused to sell them to him?  Because of lack of ID or whatever.

    In that instance I think I might have grabbed the clerk by the shirt and then took the freakin cigars too.


    Except Dorian Johnson (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by SuzieTampa on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 07:51:34 PM EST
    doesn't give that account. He says Michael Brown was stealing the cigars.

    The Chief of Police (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 12:14:29 AM EST
    of Ferguson does not appear ever to have had to answer tough questions in public about his leadership.

    Forensics, shmorensics.  Whatever took place through a car window was not started by a kid who wanted nothing to do with police.  The officer had no news of a recent theft and no reason to suspect the kid of anything more serious than jaywalking.

    Every witness says he tried to surrender.  He was murdered.

    I'm sure we all recognize a rear-guard action of trying to smear the kid, who while big had no record of any kind.  The length of time it took to put the story together is strong evidence it had to be cooked.

    Release of information (none / 0) (#92)
    by SuzieTampa on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 07:56:44 PM EST
    As in the Trayvon Martin case, people are once again talking as if the best way to accomplish justice is to arrest people before an investigation is complete.

    Look at how threatened the witnesses felt in the TM case. Would witnesses in this case feel comfortable diverging from the accepted narrative?  


    Who threatened witnesses? (none / 0) (#94)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 08:22:26 PM EST
    You know that it's a felony.

    Not every witness (none / 0) (#95)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 10:29:26 PM EST
    "Every witness says he tried to surrender."

    There's one (at least) from whom we've yet to hear directly.


    And we won't hear from him (none / 0) (#97)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:09:28 AM EST
    His lawyer will keep him off the stand and he will take advantage of his right not to say a damn thing about it.

    Which will leave the narrative in the hands of the eyewitnesses and police department spokespersons.


    The only thing that matters is (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by NYShooter on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:22:21 AM EST
    What was going through the officer's mind when he fired the lethal shot[s]?

    As we know from the Zimmerman trial, (paraphrasing,) "I was in imminent fear for my life, I thought I was about to be killed," those feelings, if a jury accepts them as true, entitles the alleged victim (shooter) to use lethal force.

    There is so much conjecture, and, speculative nonsense being tossed around that it just leads us further away from the germane issues.
    Do we know what, exactly, was Wilson's justification for using deadly force? I know every State has different rules, and, legal justifications for shooting a person. Among all the irrelevant muck that's been bandied about the only thing I've read that might give Wilson a pass is if, in fact, Brown really was grabbing for the gun. (Again, like in Zimmerman's case.)
    Everything else being used to condone the shooting just boils down to machoism gone berserk, shooting a fleeing felon in fear he will kill innocents, loss of control (panic/incompetence,) or, just plain racism.

    Does anyone know, or, is there an intelligent, coherent pretext that looks like Wilson's lifeline for a "justifiable shooting?"
    Personally, I don't see one yet. And, maybe that's why it's taken so long to get any information at all from the police's perspective. But, again, from my perspective, what they've come up with here is just self-serving, prejudicial crap.

    Could be it's the best they've got.

    FL law doesn't say (none / 0) (#93)
    by SuzieTampa on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 08:05:56 PM EST
    that the jury must consider only what the defendant believed. I forget the actual wording, but it's something along the lines of what a reasonable person might believe.

    does Witness Tiffany Mitchell contradict that? (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by CityLife on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 04:08:31 PM EST
    You wrote"Even if, as the cop apparently claims (contrary to accounts of at least three witnesses) he was struck in the face by Brown during a struggle for his weapon inside his vehicle" Who are the three contradicting the cop's claims?  Witness Tiffany Mitchell says she saw Brown and the officer "tussling through the window," I don't see that as a contradiction to the idea that the cop was hit in the face.

    I am Puzzled About ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by RickyJim on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:38:31 PM EST
    1. Do all witnesses need lawyers?
    2. It sounds like Dorian Johnson was at least an accessory to a robbery but I've read he won't be charged with a crime.  Why?

    Johnson didn't steal anything (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:28:13 PM EST
    or commit a crime. There's no indication, as far as I've read, that he aided and abetted or conspired with Brown to steal anything. He just left when Brown left.

    Well recognized jury instruction: Mere presence at the scene of a crime, even with guilty knowledge a crime is being committed, does not make one guilty.

    I also think it's wrong to call this a robbery. Sounds like shoplifting to me. The manager tried to lock Brown in the store, in some jurisdictions that isn't allowed. (Unfortunately, in Missouri, it is.)

    Brown didn't take the item through the use of force, he tried to leave with an item that he obtained without force and allegedly he hadn't paid for.

    JOhnson committed no crime at the store.


    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#32)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:41:30 PM EST
    News reports are saying Brown was a suspect in what was described as a 'strong-arm robbery' and the video and still seem to show Brown grabbing the clerk around the neck.

    I am a real estate law guy with no criminal law experience and don't even know if there is a Mo statute defining strong-arm robbery.  But it does seem to me that what Brown did in the store was not simple shoplifting.


    The police report which is quoted in (none / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:48:21 PM EST
    Jeralyns post states:

    That is when Brown grabbed [the clerk] by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack.

    Key words: Grabbed by the shirt.


    The video of Brown (none / 0) (#54)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:37:42 PM EST
    shows him putting his hand on the clerk in the store who was trying to stop him from stealing.  To my eyes his hand was on his neck.  You may claim to your eyes it looks like Brown just grabbed the clerk's shirt but I am not sure how easy it would be to sell that to a jury; especially after seeing Brown shove the clerk into a rack of potato chips.

    And lets not forget Brown was 6'4" and 297 pounds according to the police report and the clerk was much smaller.  There are also pix of Brown flashing gang signs wearing Crips colors.

    Still lots more we don't know, but lets not ignore what we do know.


    Reading is evidently a lost art (none / 0) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:59:27 PM EST
    My eyes  read Jeralyn's post which quoted the police report that clearly states :

    That is when Brown grabbed [the clerk] by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack.

    My fingers typed a comment that clearly stated:

    The police report which is quoted in
    Jeralyns post states:

    That is when Brown grabbed [the clerk] by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack.
    Key words: Grabbed by the shirt.

    Maybe you might try READING what is written by the police, by  Jeralyn and by me. Seems like you are the one who chooses to ignore what is known to be in the police report and in Jeralyn's post  and would rather make up your own story.


    And let's not forget (none / 0) (#61)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:55:47 PM EST
    the store person was lucky he only got pushed by the 6'4 297 Brown. Being not very big myself, I would have let the guy walk. 50 bucks isn't worth getting seriously hurt over!

    BTW, lots of young adults 'flash signs' in pics. They seem to think it's cool.


    Read what the customer in the store says (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:27:18 PM EST
    I quoted it in the post -- it's on page 6 of the police report.

    He grabbed the cigars, no force, and the clerk came from behind the counter and tried to lock the door to prevent him from leaving. Brown shoved him aside and left.

    The force was not in taking the cigars, it was in leaving after the clerk tried to stop him.

    Regardless, the police now say the cop who shot him didn't know about the robbery.

    So what's the point of releasing this except to smear him? It had nothing to do with the shooting and the police excuse now is they released it because the media asked for it.


    Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:02:27 PM EST
    It is clear why you are a first rate criminal lawyer.  Your point about the strong arm tactics by Brown being related to leaving the store and not stealing is a great one.  Kudos on that.

    The police have not been clear in what the cop knew or when he knew it.  Here is a blurb from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that has been linked to several times in this thread:

    "Ferguson officer realized during encounter that Michael Brown might be suspect in robbery, chief says

    The officer who shot Ferguson teen Michael Brown stopped Brown and another teen because they were walking in the street, not because of a robbery a few minutes earlier, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said Friday afternoon.

    Jackson said the officer was aware cigars had been taken in the robbery of a store nearby, but did not know when he encountered Brown and Dorian Johnson that they might be suspects. He stopped them because they were walking in the street, Jackson said.

    But Jackson told the Post-Dispatch that the officer, Darren Wilson, saw cigars in Brown's hand and realized he might be the robber."

    I am not claiming Chief Jackson has not made conflicting statements about this, just that it seems like this would make it easier to raise reasonable doubt in any trial.

    Thanks again for your insight about what Brown's use of force is related to.


    Apparently in Missiouri, (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:03:23 PM EST
    the definition of "forcibly steal" includes acts done after the taking.

    (1) "Forcibly steals", a person "forcibly steals", and thereby commits robbery, when, in the course of stealing, as defined in section 570.030, he uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another person for the purpose of:

    (a) Preventing or overcoming resistance to the taking of the property or to the retention thereof immediately after the taking; or

    Weird. The same degree of pushing around (none / 0) (#60)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:27:32 PM EST
    seems to get a pass from our local prosecutors - when it's done by the police, routinely and often.

    Sorry, forgot the link (none / 0) (#59)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:13:06 PM EST

    from Post-Dispatch.

    The biggest question I have concerns the forensics.  How many shots were fired, how many hit Brown, and where were the shots fired from.  


    The point of releasing it... (none / 0) (#66)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:38:10 AM EST
    ...according to the chief, was because they had to because of media FOIA requests.

    Many unanswered questions (none / 0) (#23)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:17:32 PM EST
    In a high profile case like this one it may well be a good idea for a witness to retain counsel.

    I will be interested to see what is released.  There are claims that the LEO knew Brown might be a suspect in the robbery


    But this claim has since been sorta been retracted, but in a rather wishy washy way.

    Also claims, with pix, that Brown at least knew how to make Crip gang signs with the implication that he was a Crip.  Same might be said of Johnson and he may, or may not, face charges; again depending on more evidence being released.

    Still lots of twists and turns to come.  Best to not get too far out on a limb till we know more.


    Yes, not getting (none / 0) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:13:18 PM EST
    too far ahead is good advice.  What has been presented is, at least to me, confusing.  The convenience store episode does seem to be more shoplifting with possible assault related to the clerk's attempt to detain him.    If a strong armed robbery was deployed to obtain the cigars, the much smaller sized clerk would likely be placing himself at substantial risk by attempting to detain him after the merchandise was strong armed away from him.  And, the information was originally stated as  "stealing."

    As for the critical issue at hand, the incident in/outside the police SUV and the fatal pursuit, it seems odd that the officer would question and attempt to retain/arrest a large man by pulling him into the police vehicle through a window.  And, only then emerge from the police vehicle, after a shot was fired inside the SUV.   Of course, then there are shooting reports of witnesses that impact the truth of that initial encounter.  It is hard to get ahead of the story when facts available put us behind on most everything.  


    Through a Window? (none / 0) (#34)
    by RickyJim on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:54:46 PM EST
    I was under the impression that Brown and Wilson were struggling with the door open.  I don't remember one of the two witnesses saying that the officer tried to do the impossible of pulling Brown into the car through a window.  

    Witness Tiffany Mitchell told CNN (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:14:47 PM EST
    The video and  here's a description:

    Mitchell said she was driving when she saw Brown trying to pull away from an officer as the two were "tussling through a window." She said she had hoped to get a video because the incident "just didn't look right," but failed to get her camera out in time.

    "I didn't know exactly what was going on, but I knew it didn't look right for someone to be wrestling with the police through the police window, but I didn't get a video because a shot was fired through the window, so I tried to get out of the way," Mitchell said.

    Mitchell then described what she saw happen between Brown and the police officer.

    "As I pull onto the side, the kid, he finally gets away, he starts running. As he runs the police get out of his vehicle and he follows behind him, shooting," Mitchell said. "And the kid's body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turns around and puts his hands up like this, and the cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete."

    Is it Possible ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 10:01:16 AM EST
    that what the witness(es?) saw was Wilson trying to restrain Brown until the other officer, he was on the radio with, arrived?  Ms. Mitchell did not mention Dorian Johnson in what I have heard.  Where was he when this was going on?

    Person attempting to lock doors... (none / 0) (#39)
    by unitron on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:27:26 PM EST
    ...to prevent loss of cigars is said to be owner of store.

    Quiktrip owns the store (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:30:48 PM EST
    they are not franchised according to a google search. The report refers to the person they interviewed at the store as the "manager" -- p. 4 of the report.

    The NYT, St. Louis Post Dispatch... (none / 0) (#63)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 12:17:23 AM EST
    ...reporting that the store where the cigars were stolen was Ferguson Market and Liquor on West Florissant Avenue.

    On page 4 of the police report on the robbery it is mentioned suspect walking northbound on W Florissant toward QwikTrip.

    I'm not sure if that's the same QwikTrip that got burned or not.

    This is supposed to be a picture of Ferguson Market and Liquor.


    thanks, I see that now (none / 0) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:24:23 AM EST
    Amazing how many papers are still saying it was a Quiktrip. Apparently the store asked their name be kept from the police report. The manager, though, is reportedly a female, the daughter of the owner, and both say they weren't there at the time. Clearly, she isn't the one in the security video, so it must be a clerk.

    One interview with daughter/manager Priyanka Patel:

    "People are scared to come into the neighborhood," said Priyanka Patel, manager of the Ferguson Market & Liquor store across the street. "We were scared to reopen."

    Interview with the owner/father:

    A Post-Dispatch reporter spoke to Andy Patel, who has owned the Ferguson Market and Liquors for about five years, on Wednesday. Patel at that time denied being the victim of a robbery from his store. His daughter, Priyanka Patel, 27, also denied it, though she said she had heard rumors of a shoplifting incident.

    The store was the subject of an FDA complaint for selling tobacco to minors in 2012. The complaint says they are required to check the ID of anyone under 27. Brown doesn't have a driver's license. Maybe the clerk asked him for ID and refused to sell him a pack of cigars when he couldn't produce one, and he decided to take them?

    I'm done trying to figure it out. Too many inconsistent versions by the media and cops and witnesses. And the important thing is the shooting and police reaction to the protests, not the cigar story.


    And now, apparently.... (none / 0) (#67)
    by unitron on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:41:18 AM EST
    ...Ferguson Market and Liquor is being looted.

    I'll bet the Patel's think that's kind of important as well.


    Not that amazing. (none / 0) (#83)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 08:29:25 AM EST
    The NYT can still afford a journo on the ground, but a lot of the stories are nothing but rewordings of stories already published by others.  Errors propagate like rumors.

    Perhaps law enforcement chose not to treat him as. (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:17:36 PM EST
    Heart-wrenching video (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:03:16 PM EST
    by bystander here.

    I have a hard time understanding everything that is said, but at about the 6:30 mark an apparent eye-witness is heard describing the shooting, and if I am not mistaken at about the 6:50 mark he says that the deceased ran away from the Wilson and his truck, and then came back towards Wilson.

    He also seems to say that there were a lot of shots and due to Brown's continued running/walking it seemed like the Wilson was missing Brown.

    He sounded like he was pretty shocked that the wilson was missing, probably due to how close Brown was.

    If Brown did turn around and come back (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:49:51 PM EST
    toward the truck/Wilson, that adds a whole new dimension.

    Nowadays they don't have to shoot that well, (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:38:02 PM EST
    not when your semi-automatic's clip holds fifteen rounds, or more.

    FOIA requests by media... (none / 0) (#38)
    by unitron on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 07:24:13 PM EST
    ...are the reason the police had to release the video, according to chief.

    In a sense, the robbery is no longer an open case or ongoing investigation, but the shooting still is, so assume police have more latitude in not releasing info on that yet.

    Were witnesses to shooting other than Johnson interviewed before or after opportunity to hear/read Johnson's version?

    Did Brown know what Wilson did or did not know?

    Even if Wilson initially reacted to jaywalking, description of strong-arm suspect and items taken could have come over radio about that time.

    Reserving judgement 'til more known.

    The fact that it took the police department (none / 0) (#42)
    by Angel on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:31:40 PM EST
    almost a week to give their side of the story seems highly irregular to me. Bottom line for me is is that you don't go around shooting unarmed burglary suspects.  Especially if they have their hands in the air.  

    Especially if they're facing away from you... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:45:18 PM EST
    Standard Operating Procedure in the bad old days, though.

    I came back to TalkLeft (none / 0) (#45)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:32:33 PM EST
    after I read that Michael Brown's family had hired Benjamin Crump and his law firm. I quickly realized that this time, Jeralyn, you will be defending Brown, not the shooter.

    It looks like Crump is employing some of the same strategies he used in the Trayvon Martin case: 1. Talking as if the victim was a young child who avoided violence. 2. Referring to any evidence to the contrary as character assassination. 3. Calling in the Dream Defenders to help organize protests and printing up T-shirts that suggest Brown was doing nothing wrong -- he was giving up -- when he was shot. 4. Saying Brown had no criminal record.

    1. Unlike the TM case, in which some people still think of him in terms of the Hollister photo, the public has seen very quickly that Brown wasn't a child and that he could be violent. At least, I consider it violent to grab and shove out of your way the owner of the store from whom you appear to be taking unpaid merchandise valued at $40+.

    2. What happened in the store is germane to understanding this case. The officer, Wilson, may not have known that Brown was a suspect, but if he did see Brown with the cigars/cigarillos, he may have become much more apprehensive of him and he may not have had any other details about what happened in the store.  (By the way, I'm not saying this justified the shooting.)

    3. I don't know what is true or not, but their actions will help cement their side in many people's minds.

    4. He was 18. If he had a juvenile record, that would be sealed.

    Police say death threats have been made against Wilson (starting before his identity was known by the public). It's not surprising that they would try to get him to a safe location before releasing his identity.

    The Ferguson PD doesn't seem to have learned anything from Sanford. They are late in releasing information, letting Brown's supporters get ahead of the story as well as various rumors being spread. Then there were the crazy images of the invading army...

    Several inaccuracies (none / 0) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:59:10 PM EST
    According to the police report  it was not the owner of the store  who was grabbed.

    From the office of the St. Louis Prosecutor:

    St. Louis County Prosecutor's office confirmed that Brown had no prior misdemeanors or felonies against him.


    From what you and the police are (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:45:58 AM EST
    CURRENTLY saying the BOLO on the robbery would have to have been Be On The Look Out for man carrying cigars without any description of the two suspects. It is not as if Brown had a distinctive appearance at 6 ft 4 in and 297 lbs. <snark>

    There is More for Crump in this Case (none / 0) (#50)
    by RickyJim on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:04:00 PM EST
    Welcome back Suzie.  Mr. Crump rarely takes on cases where the opposition is small fry like GZ where he shared with Martin's parents in a payout of a million or two from an insurance company.  He usually takes on big corporations like the Boston Red Sox or States like Florida in the Martin Lee Anderson case and has done extremely well.  Yes, I am mystified as to the nature of his special magic that has enabled him to do so much better than others.

    One Big Difference (none / 0) (#85)
    by RickyJim on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 10:08:12 AM EST
    It took a few weeks for the Martin/Zimmerman affair to get to national prominence, due to the efforts of lawyers Natalie Jackson, Ben Crump and publicist Ryan Julison.  However it took maybe a day for the Brown shooting hit the headlines.  Can somebody explain the difference?

    Riots and looting (none / 0) (#86)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 11:13:33 AM EST
    I would offer another explanation: (none / 0) (#88)
    by NYShooter on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:53:14 PM EST
    Since the Zimmerman case (White on Black shooting) these incidences have been getting more media attention, especially Law Enforcement, White cops shooting/killing Black suspects.

    I think the recent New York case where the cop had an elderly, asthmatic, Black gentleman pinned on the ground, and, in spite of the victim pleading, "I can't breath,"  continued to exert undo force with an unauthorized/possibly illegal, "choke-hold," to the point of killing him.

    Personal Note: As a New Yorker, and, one who has experienced numerous tense, often violent, and, occasionally, lethal situations there is one incident that I will never be able to get out of my mind.

    I'm sure many of you will remember the case, many years ago, when the NY police were called into a housing project to ameliorate a situation where an old, mentally ill, woman was acting erratically. With all the time in the world to come up with a plan to, peacefully, and, safely, take this woman into custody, and get her the help she desperately needed, the cops, apparently, felt that shooting, and, killing this poor soul was a more appropriate way to go.

    "But, but, she had a knife!" Without dignifying that defense with a response, God help us if in the 21'st century the only way our muscular, weight lifting, bullet proofed, militarized, "Law Enforcement" officials can quell sensitive situations like this is by shooting those involved as if they were rabid, vicious dogs.

    The case was not unique. Just Google, "elderly man/woman shot and killed by police," to see hundreds of similar cases.


    "Elderly?" He was 43. (none / 0) (#89)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 03:26:08 PM EST
    Not arguing with any of the rest.

    Yeah, "sickly," (none / 0) (#96)
    by NYShooter on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 02:07:18 AM EST
    might have been a better term.

    To me the word "sickly" usually conjures up the
    image of a visually frail person, which Eric Garner most certainly was not.

    Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Dennis Rodman and Jerome Bettis all have had asthma since they were young. My son has asthma and he competes in track and football in HS.

    Eric Garner's death was completely avoidable and in no way acceptable, no exaggerations are necessary.


    eyewitnesses (none / 0) (#87)
    by crimebird on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 11:17:36 AM EST
    Right now, the state of play of the case seems to be what the police officer has claimed versus the claims of three eyewitnesses.

    The guy who was with Brown in the store seems to me that he would get ripped apart on the witness stand since he had left out the account of what had happened in the store minutes before the shooting.

    That leaves two eyewitnesses (at least that we know about).  But as people have often pointed out in other criminal cases, eyewitness testimony can often be wrong.  I'm not saying this is the case here but I wonder how many people who have previously argued that eyewitness testimony can't be trusted are trusting it in this case because of their own biases and beliefs.

    So I can understand why people would be upset about what has happened and would be protesting, but I think anyone who already "knows" what happened is kidding themselves.