Police Officer in Ferguson Is Said to Recount a Struggle
WASHINGTON — The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.
The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.
The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck...
Wait, I thought, according the the eyewitnesses, that the officer simply drove up and shot Mikey Brown in cold blood, with no motive, as Mikey had his hands above his head in a surrender fashion. Now, there is blood on the officer's gun, uniform and in his vehicle. How could that be. It directly contradicts the eyewitnesses.
...Police officers typically have wide latitude to use lethal force if they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger.The Times has a link to a decent article on use of deadly force, but, this standard also applies civilians. Did they have reasonable fear for the life or serious bodily injury of themselves or a third person.
The officials said that while the federal investigation was continuing, the evidence so far did not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson. To press charges, the Justice Department would need to clear a high bar, proving that Officer Wilson willfully violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights when he shot him.
The account of Officer Wilson’s version of events did not come from the Ferguson Police Department or from officials whose activities are being investigated as part of the civil rights inquiry.
Strange, the Holder Just-Us department seems to only want to seize control of local police departments and indict officers for doing their jos, but for some reason the black and Hispanic gangs killing thousands are are prosecuted for "civil rights" violations. I wonder why.
Now take a look at this quote.
...In the many accounts of Mr. Brown’s death, the most potent imagery has come from his final moments, when he and Officer Wilson faced each other on Canfield Drive. Some witnesses have said that he appeared to be surrendering with his hands in the air as he was hit with the fatal gunshots. Others have said that Mr. Brown was moving toward Officer Wilson when he was killed.
Now this one.
Few witnesses had perfect vantage points for the fight in the car, which occurred just after noon on Aug. 9. Mr. Brown was walking down the middle of the street with a friend, Dorian Johnson, when Officer Wilson stopped his S.U.V., a Chevy Tahoe, to order them to the sidewalk.
This is the first time I've heard the witnesses didn't have a good angle to view this. If this was brought up in previous reporting, I'd love to see it. For example, these witnesses:
...One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, said later that while she could not see clearly, it appeared Mr. Brown was “trying to flee.” Another witness, Tiffany Mitchell, said that she had watched with alarm from a close distance and that as the two briefly struggled, “Michael was pulling off and the cop was trying to pull him in...”
Ms Crenshaw could not see clearly, but she could determine Brown was "trying to flee." And Ms Mitchell refers to the deceased as "Michael". Maybe I'm just cynical, but she may have knows the man before he became a cause celebre. Whenever I investigate anything (assault case, accident) and I have witnesses, the first question I have of them is "Do you know any of the people in the case." It allows their statements to be put into context.
But as I told a family member when this first happened (and who was ready to hang the officer at first sight just based on the eyewitness testimony) this is a slow process and needs to be handled dispassionately. And I also mentioned to him when witnesses are put under oath they often "revise" their statements, not that they can be changed with a felony for lying.
Good to see the NY Times is actually doing some reporting for a change on this matter. Better late than never.