20 year old Jeffrey Williams has been arrested and charged with the Ferguson police shootings. Police say he may not have intended to shoot the officers. They say that's his story, they don't know if they "fully buy it."
“I’m not sure we completely buy that part of it,” the prosecutor said. “I wouldn't say he wasn't targeting police. I’m saying right now the evidence we have supports filing the charge that he may have been shooting at someone other than police and struck the police.”
He's not charged with attempted murder. The complaint is here. Protest organizers say they aren't familiar with Williams.
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Why is no one asking whether the Ferguson shooter might be a lone wolf terrorist?
In November, 2014, ISIS supporters called for using Ferguson as an excuse for lone wolf attacks:
In particular, Al Nusra Al Maqdisiyya, a prominent group of pro-ISIS activists on social media, wrote on its Twitter account: "O lone mujahid, you must use the breakdown of security in #Ferguson to increase the burning in America. They are squabbling over worldly [matters], so you send them to hell! #ISIS.”
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In the latest fallout from DOJ's Ferguson report, Ferguson city officials announced that Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned today. Ferguson City Manager John Shaw resigned on Tuesday, and Municipal Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned on Monday. Jackson's resignation letter is here.
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DOJ's report on its six month investigation into police practices in Ferguson, MO will be released today. Here's what it finds, according to the New York Times.
The Ferguson Police Department was routinely violating the constitutional rights of its black residents.
Ferguson's population is one-third white.
85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests. In cases like jaywalking, which often hinge on police discretion, blacks accounted for 95 percent of all arrests.
This is not just a Ferguson problem, but a national problem. You see it every day in courtrooms across America. [More...]
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Ferguson DA Rob McCulloch broke his silence today. In an interview, he said that he thinks some grand jury witnesses lied.
[McCulloch] acknowledged that witnesses he did not believe to be truthful had come before the jurors. Mr. McCulloch said that one female witness, who provided testimony that appeared to bolster Officer Wilson’s account of events, “clearly wasn’t present” when the shooting occurred.
....[He] added that the grand jury also heard from other witnesses whose testimony was also in doubt. “It went both directions,” he said.
McCulloch said he decided to let them testify even though he thought they were lying. He wanted the grand jury to hear everything. [More...]
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Ferguson officer Wilson has resigned from the police force and according to the Mayor, will not receive severance pay or other benefits.
Wilson, 28, won’t receive any further pay or benefits, and he and the city have severed their ties, Mayor James Knowles told reporters a day after Wilson tendered his resignation, which was effective immediately.
His lawyer said he resigned due to threats against the department. He doesn't have a new job lined up as yet:
“In terms of what it (the resignation) means, it means at this point he doesn’t have a paycheck,” Bruntrager said. “He has no income so he’ll have to make some decisions pretty quickly.”
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MO Governor Jay Nixon has ordered 2,200 more national guardsman to Ferguson.
More than 2,200 additional National Guard troops will take to the streets in the St. Louis area at night, Gov. Jay Nixon announced. They will join 700 Guardsmen already on the scene and hundreds of local police officers.
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The prosecutor's office has released the grand jury testimony in the investigation of the Michael Brown shooting. The grand jury declined to indict Officer Wilson. The local CBS affiliate has this recap, with links to some of the testimony. Officer Wilson's testimony is here. Dorian Johnson's testimony is here.
As expected, violence erupted following the announcement. More on that here. The St. Louis Post Dispatch has a running feed of incidents. The police chief says the violence is worse than the worst night in August.
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The media hype over the grand jury decision in Ferguson is over the top. Except for a few stories about Buffalo and one warning of a cyber attack by China or Russia, CNN aired nothing else this afternoon, except commercials. It was that way on my hour drive to the jail to see a client at noon, and that way for the hour drive back at 4 pm. Wolf Blitzer kept breathlessly announcing "We're expecting a grand jury announcement any moment so stay tuned." It's now 3 hours later and there has been no announcement of the grand jury decision. But the media's non-stop reporting of anticipated violent reactions persist. I learned from CNN that Best Buy is closing its stores for the weekend. Schools have decided to close the whole week. Homeowners in outlying areas are stocking up on guns fearing increased crime. Police are worried. And on and on. [More...]
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Forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who conducted an autopsy on Michael Brown at the request of his family's attorney, has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating Brown's shooting death.
According to the lawyer for Brown's parents:
Baden had only limited access to information and has asked to review several other pieces of evidence before he testifies.
Among the items Baden did not have access to when he performed his autopsy:
Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on Brown's body, indicating he was not shot at close range, though he said at the time he wasn't given access to Brown's clothing and the residue could be there.
It's not known when the grand jury will be finished. The prosecutor has said "sometime this month."
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Two workers, one of whom agreed to be interviewed, say they witnessed the shooting of Michael Brown. They didn't see the confrontation at Officer Wilson's vehicle, but according to the description of the one who is now speaking out, they did see what happened thereafter.
His account largely matches those who reported that Wilson chased Brown on foot away from the car after the initial gunshot and fired at least one more shot in the direction of Brown as he was fleeing; that Brown stopped, turned around and put his hands up; and that the officer killed Brown in a barrage of gunfire.
The worker said Brown stopped to talk to him around 11:00 am. Later, the worker heard a shot: [More...]
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Several news outlets are reporting Eric Holder will announce the Justice Department's civil rights division will launch an investigation into actions of Ferguson police.
A 1994 federal law gave the civil rights division the authority to probe whether police departments are engaging in a “pattern or practice” of violating constitutional rights or federal rights. The law was enacted after the videotaped beating of African American motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
...Federal investigators look at patterns of excessive force, complaints against officers, and department training to help officers avoid racial profiling and unnecessary use of force.
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Driving this afternoon and listening to CNN on Sirius, the main story was not ISIS or Syria, it was a new audio of the Michael Brown shooting that a passer-by captured on his cell phone while video-chatting with a woman. As he tells her how fine she looks, there are gunshots in the background. Either 10 or 11, depending on the guest they were interviewing. But all could clearly hear about a three second pause between the first round of five or six, and the final ones. They then replayed four interviews of eye witnesses, all of whom said there was a pause in the shooting as Brown turned around and put his hands up.
The significance? Unclear, since it's not been confirmed the tape is authentic or reliable, and obviously, the network doesn't have the original recording. The FBI has also been given a copy.
Here's a thread for all topics related to the Brown shooting.
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Ferguson was fairly calm Tuesday night, with most people peacefully protesting.
AG Eric Holder arrives in Ferguson today. Here is his letter to the people of Ferguson.
Gov. Nixon said the county prosecutor will stay on the case for now, rejecting calls for a special prosecutor. (the St. Louis County Circuit Court grand jury is scheduled to commence hearing testimony today.)
I won't be online much today, so you can use this thread for all Michael Brown/Ferguson related topics.
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After a night of more unrest in Ferguson, a few shootings (reportedly not by police) and at least 30 arrests, officials are calling for calm.
A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown tomorrow.
President Obama has dispatched AG Eric Holder to Ferguson. DOJ is conducting its own civil rights investigation. [More....]
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