Overnight, documents were released revealing what we are told includes all of the information the grand jury in Ferguson had when it made the decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the self-defense shooting of Michael Brown. We are not privy to the deliberations of the grand jury because it is private.
I was looking for the information last night, but it was released after I went to bed. I’m going to refer you to CNN’s website since they have set up a website page with no commentary and just links to the documents. (Other news organizations may have done the same, I’m just linking to the first one I’ve found.)
Unfortunately, the court has released PDF files in which information in text format can not be cut and pasted into other documents. It’s all graphic scans of the documents. I’m not sure why they did not release at least PDFs where you can select sections of text. Maybe they wanted to keep some people from cutting and pasting out-of-context information. It won’t help, it will just slow them down a bit.
I’d like to see a journalist or blogger go through all of the witness interviews, find the statements that refute Wilson’s testimony and put together the reasons the grand jury dismissed the testimony as not consistent with the forensic facts or statements supporting Wilson’s statement of events. I don’t have the time to review much of anything, but I’ll hunt through a bit of this now.
If you are going to protest on the street about “social justice” using this case as a starting point or turning point, you damn well best be reviewing all of the information provided.
Important Note: The witness statements are just that, statements. I did not include witness testimony from the grand jury proceedings as it’s not easy to quickly figure out where the witness testimony is.
Here is part of a hand-written journal entry by witness 40. You can check my translation – please do – which is from page two of the journal scan posted here. There is no indication of the race or sex of the witness.
The cop [Wilson] tried getting out and the big one hit the door the cop looked pissed and tried opening the door again. The big kid [Brown] hit the door with his gut and the little one [Dorian Johnson] punched the mirror. Something gold fell on the ground. The big one is half in the window/door can’t remember. I swear the little one had the cops left. I hear a noise. Not sure what the guy in the green shirt [Johnson] was yelling stop. The big kid pulled his pants up they was tan shorts and he started running. The skinny one took off in [opposite direction] the cop got out left hand on face, right hand on gun. The cop screamed but I could not understand. Everyone was screaming. I heard “lay yo stupid ass down.” I think it was a lady next to me. The cop was wobbling. The big kid turned around had his arms out with attitude. The cop just stood there. Dang if that kid didn’t start running right at the cop like a football player head down. I heard 3 bangs, but the big kid wouldn’t stop. I hear cop say something but not sure what or if he was just making noise. Cop took a couple of steps forward then backwards and the gun went off 2 more times. The last one on the top of the kids head. OMG, the blood…
Moments before, this witness had just asked Brown and Johnson for directions. The witness left the area immediately after the shooting.
Here is a segment from witness 10, starting on page 4 of this document. The witness was working in the area, and came into the police department on his own to provide a statement about 48 hours after the shooting.
… I seen the police car at a slant and I seen Mr Brown in the window of the police car looked … it appeared as they were wrestling through the window and one gunshot had let off. And, Mr Brown took off running and my first thought was like “oh my gosh” did I actually just witness a police officer being murdered because it took a while for the police officer to get out of the car and pursue the-the suspect. And, I wanna say maybe six seconds, but it seemed like it was forever after the-the-the first gunshot. So, the police officer exited the vehicle with his weapon drawn pursuing Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was quite a distance and he stopped and when he stopped, he didn’t get down on the ground or anything. He turned around and he did some type of movement. I never seen him put his hands up or anything. I can’t recall the movement that he did. I’m not sure if he pulled his pants up or-or whatever he did but I seen some type of movement and he started charging towards the police officer. The police officer then returned fire, well. Not returned fire, open fire on Mr. Brown. Um, if I had to guess the shots and the-the distance between him and, Mr. Brown, it would have been five to ten yards and the shots that were fired was four, five to six shots fired and Mr. Brown was still standing up. Um, and my thoughts was while he’s missing this guy this close, is he-is he hitting him or because Mr. Brown there was no reaction from him to show that he was been hit. Un, after that, Mr. Brown then paused. He-he-he stopped running and when he stopped running the police officer stopped firing. And, then Mr. Brown continued, started again to charge towards him and after that the police officer returned fire and un well not returned. I’m using wrong … a started to fire once more at him. Um, if I had to guess the rounds that were fired then it would be four to five more shots and after that Mr. Brown collapsed and fell to the ground.
Later in the statement, the witness describes Brown’s movement towards Wilson as “I’m comin’ carge full-blown at you to try to get to ya.” The witness also said he came forward to “tell it how I seen it. Because I feel like it’s very rare that somebody’s gonna come forward and tell actually what happened.” The witness was incorrect since many other statements closely matched his own.
One member of the Brown family – a cousin – last night puts this entire problem back onto law enforcement policy and procedures. He didn’t think Wilson should have approached Brown and Johnson since they were suspects in a strong-armed robbery. Wilson should have waited for back up. I’m certain the family also feels Wilson should have completely stood down and not pursued Brown after he started running away. Yet, their jobs involve pursuing and stopping suspects. What it comes down to is this particular Brown cousin thinks the cops should just leave well enough alone, even when people reach into a police car and start beating on cops.
Witness 12 was interviewed three times. Read the statement. I don’t find it credible.
You can read through witness 16’s statement. It’s all over the place and I don’t find it credible at all. He states “… he didn’t see him specifically get shot…” Then he says …
Yes, ’cause he was shootin’ as he was running. They were shootin’ if they were-if they were running away. That’s why he turned around and put his arms up in the air and then got closer and shot him.”
Witness 22 states Brown was kneeling and had his hands up when he was shot.
Witness 25 states Wilson was “steady opening fire, aiming at the African-american guy’s chest area…” The witness also states Brown was “running up the street and the officer was walkin’ behind him opening fire.”
The grand jury needed to put a lot of information together to get the best picture possible of what happened that day. The witness testimony is a small part of the information provided, and we would expect the most pertinent witness testimony would match up with the forensic evidence including known distance, shell casing placements and the autopsy. There is a lot to go through here and I’m not going to be the one to do it.
Just don’t have the time. But more importantly, I do have faith in the grand jury since they were provided the full picture of what was known and came to a decision not to indict.
Your comments below please.