Friday, November 28, 2014

The Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

A writer writes!

From Darren Wilson’s public comments, he apparently believes he handled the encounter with Michael Brown perfectly.  According to Wilson he was just doing his job.  That comment in itself is chilling since the result of his “doing his job” was the death of Michael Brown.

In reading Wilson’s description of the initial physical confrontation with Brown, I wondered why didn’t Wilson simply drive his police car several feet away from Brown when the alleged punching began?  Wilson stated that he had called for backup.  If so, why didn’t he wait until backup came before he confronted the two African American men walking in the street?  Why would he initiate a confrontation with two suspects when there was no other physical police presence there with him?  Did Wilson really want to buy time until his back up came?  If so Wilson had the option to use his vehicle to follow the suspects from a safe distance also protecting himself from harm.  Instead after the initial verbal exchange with the two Black males, he backs his car up in reverse to approach two suspects not knowing if they were armed or not.  Was Wilson taught this back up approach maneuver in his “training”?

During his grand jury testimony Wilson was asked wouldn’t he have been more mobile in dealing with the suspects in his car rather than on foot?  Wilson replied he wanted to stay where he could keep Brown in one place while keeping himself safe.  He is also later asked about why he didn’t think about driving away after the confrontation, again until backup came?  His response was he was attempting to deal with the threat.  So, Wilson made a conscious decision to put himself into a situation where he could claim he was fearful which allowed him to use his gun.

Wilson said his training was not to flee.  Was he trained to back up his vehicle in the manner that he did?  Why not turn the car around rather than put it into reverse?  Was he trained to escalate encounters with minorities into a deadly force situation where firing his gun was the best alternative to diffuse the situation?  If you’re afraid of getting beat up in your car, then move the car away from the person while maintaining sight of that person until backup arrives!

Wilson played the “I feared for my life card” and by the grand jury’s decision played it well.  The grand jury apparently believed that a 6’ 4” policeman, driving an SUV police vehicle, and armed with an automatic weapon rightfully felt threatened by and should have been fearful of an unarmed Black male.  A Black male whom Wilson said he feared was going to beat Wilson to death or take his gun away and shoot him.  Hollywood couldn’t write a better science fiction script.  All the protections Wilson had from being harmed and feeling fearful he decided to give up.  Attempting to get out of his vehicle, and not distancing himself from the suspects until help came were decisions made by Wilson.

Did Wilson really believe that someone he already had shot at least 3 times would be able to tackle him?  Did Wilson, a trained policeman, really believe the only option was to shoot Brown?  Did Wilson panic and cover up his panic by claiming he feared for his life from an unarmed person? 

Wilson, why didn’t you distance yourself from Brown in your V6 engine SUV car!  Wilson says he was trying to buy some time until help arrived.  Moving his car away would have bought some time.  Was Wilson afraid that backing off until help arrived would be seen as being cowardly?  After the shots in his car, Wilson inferred that he was fearful that an unarmed Brown would get away and possibly hurt someone else responding to the scene.  How was an unarmed Brown going to hurt others after already having been shot by Wilson?

After the shooting Wilson walked back to his SUV police car and turned the engine off.  Wilson was told to drive back to the station alone in another car.  After killing another human being he was not monitored by the police.  Instead he was given the honor system method to police himself while driving back to the police station.  No one monitored what self inflicted injuries he could have made to himself to prove Michael Brown struck him.  The grand jury transcripts showed that Wilson, a supposedly well trained cop, was on the wrong radio channel when initially reporting “shots fired”.  One witness said that after Brown was shot he staggered toward Wilson.  Another witness said Brown stopped turned around and walked towards Wilson.  That witness wondered why Brown didn’t stop approaching Wilson.  Wilson said he backed away from Brown some but as Brown continued towards him chose to stop his retreat and end the encounter by shooting Brown until he was dead. Wilson made a conscious choice of ending the encounter by killing Michael Brown.  Wilson chose the method of encountering Brown initially.  Wilson chose to approach the two men before backup arrived. Wilson chose to pursue unarmed suspects after they ran away.

So he thinks he did the right thing?  As the civil authority in the situation, his poor judgments are partially why the mother and father of Michael Brown are now without their son. 

The Ferguson community grand jury had their chance to properly address the killing.  Now it’s time to put the case into the category of a civil rights crime and carefully review each decision point of Wilson.

All policemen have the right to fear being injured when you enter an unknown situation.  But you also need to avoid giving away all the protections you have from being harmed.  Wilson gave away his protections and helped to elevate the situation into an execution.  Is that doing your job?

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