Monday, August 18, 2014

Separated by Perception: Michael Brown and the Media's Bias. Updated with good advice from Robert Stacy McCain

I still do not know what happened when Michael Brown was shot. I know the original statements that he was shot in the back turned out to be not true.

The suggestion he surrendered and was shot seem incredible, and that is not disproved by the evidence (at least as far as I can tell). But this evidence is also consistent with the claim that Brown was moving toward Officer Wilson when he opened fire. The issue remains did Michael Brown threaten Officer Wilson in a manner that justified the use of deadly force.

Why Michael Brown's violent behavior just minutes before his shooting would not be relevant is beyond me.  People seem very interested in Darren Wilson's history with the Ferguson Police Department. But to Governor Jay Nixon, the NAACP, and the rioters, what Michael Brown did just minutes before the shooting is irrelevant. It is perfectly okay, however, for the Black Panthers to call for Officer Wilson's death. Events are moving quickly while the truth lags behind. There was an initial rush to judgment in the Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward matter, but the media rarely engages in any self-reflection.

The Ferguson Chief said that the initial contact between Wilson and Brown was not related to the store robbery, but that Wilson made the connection when he saw the cigars in Brown's hands.

I wish there was some balance here in the reporting. I agree with Mark Steyn that police should be taping their encounters with citizens as a matter of course.  I am troubled by the over militarization of police forces in general and the impact to our civil liberties.  While Jazz Shaw makes the case we can't go back to those halcyon days of Andy Taylor taking Barney Frank's bullet (as if they ever really existed), the truth is good policing starts with good community relations.

I want to find out what actually happened with this shooting and I am concerned that is not going to happen in this case. If Officer Wilson did something wrong he should be dealt with appropriately. I am hopeful that Darren Wilson gets a fair review, but how this is playing out is troublesome.

Should this give us a sense of relief? Eric Holder is on the way to Ferguson.

AP Style Book says 18 years olds should be referred to as "man" or "adult" and not a teenager. So why is the media repeatedly calling him a teenager?
Obama to pontificate about Ferguson
Poll: 57% of blacks think Wilson is guilty of murder, Whites and other Minorities mostly undecided (waiting to see what evidence there is). Polls of this type are going to be erratic, especially given emotions are high right now. I look at this as more of the glass being half full (or 43% full if you are referencing African Americans). But when 80% of Blacks think the justice system is unfair to them, there is a serious problem.
More witness accounts
It is getting harder to have a serious dialog on this topic
Ace is now reporting what Michael Haz had in the "Wilson" Facebook post (again I am not sure this can be relied upon)
TOM's #Ferguson Advice: Stop watching Cable "News"  Instalanched
Mother of the Year
Is Gov. Jay Nixon nuts?
The Narrative Breaks Down


  1. This seems like a typical way for a football player to "rush" someone. He wouldn't have his arms raised like a lineman trying to swat down a pass.

    So this diagram seems somewhat more consistent w/ the "hands-up" (or outstretched) pose rather than the "hard-charging lineman" pose, if the bullets entered the "inside" parts of his arms, as appears from the pic.

    Overall, I'm w/ you, Evi, on keeping an open mind until all the evidence is in. There are plausible stories for both sides to tell.

    Heck, I don't even know how close Brown was to Warren when the shots were fired. I heard a figure of 35 feet yesterday, but don't really know how accurate it is.

    1. Hey, I like Michael Baden's autopsy shows as much as the next person, but I cannot tell from that autopsy sketch whether Brown's arms were up or not. I suspect Baden has a pretty good idea--although what notes he has released have been fairly neutral on the circumstances of the shooting itself (Baden does not appear to be going there, just document the evidence from the autopsy).

      Is Baden engaged by the lawyers for the civil case or as an expert for the parents right now (or both). I do not know. He is a pretty pricey expert, but I could see him donating his services if for the family (as opposed to the civil lawyers).

      The shot to the top of the head is consistent with Brown charging or having his head turned down. Again, it is not conclusive (in itself).

  2. Baden did donate his services to the family.

    As Baden said, the head shot is also consistent w/ the last shot being taken while Brown was dropping from the previous 5 bullets.

    1. Isn't it also consistent with a final execution style shot from a cowardly distance to the prone corpse which is what the animals in Ferguson want to believe?

    2. I used to do a fair amount of target shooting with handguns, often at "human" silhouette paper targets. I'm struck by the linear precision apparent if the arm were folded as in Chip's running back photo. They'd all be clustered in the same place! OTOH, if he were running with his arms raised, the cop managed to trace a remarkable line up one arm. Either scenario suggests that the cop was a hellva good shot. Deadly kill shots at the end.

    3. I still do a fair amount of target shooting and self defense practice....usually weekly. The time it takes to get off just the first accurate shot is more than many would believe ...e.g., the distance an attacker can cover before being hit. The Tueller Drilll is designed to measure that. I commented about what the "Tueller Drill" predictions would infer on Lem's Darren Wilson's Facebook Comment post. The missing information (or at least that I have missed so far ...anyone has the info correct me please) is specifically how far apart were the officer and the assailant when the first shots were fired and how far apart were they when the assailant dropped to the ground dead? That said, I'd agree the officer was a good shot. Adrenalin may have caused his shots to the arm before he focused on the head and face. In short if you are "pulling" the trigger versus "squeezing it" shots generally pattern to the lower left side of your target.

    4. Just read the CNN caller thread at Lem's where a "Josie" says the assailant fell to the ground 2-3 feet from the officer after the fatal shot. If true, that definitely fits the Tueller Drill predictions for a 2 second time frame....with 4 - 5 non-lethal shots before the fatal shot.

    5. Ari, my impression from every account is that this thing really went bad when Wilson pulled his gun. I'd like to know your opinion on whether it's standard procedure to draw a handgun when dealing w/ a large man who's preventing you from leaving your car, or would lesser force (like a taser) be indicated?

      What about staying in the car and calling for support? (I haven't seen any reference to Wilson having had a partner w/ him.)

    6. Based upon preliminary reports, it appears Brown also struck the officer and attempted to reach for his gun. If that is what happened then the gun is in order. Pending further confirmatory evidence I don't think the officer was wrong to use his firearm. He had already been assaulted by a guy some 4 inches taller and 100 lbs heavier than him (from the photos I've seen) and if that large person was running at you in the street, I'd fire myself. The advantage for the officer in a court will be his authority to direct civilians to be compliant. No where in his responsibilities is the "duty to die" or be maimed by overwhelming force.

      The officer made a (IMO) huge mistake by trying to direct the mid-street pedestrians from his car in the first place, rather than pull ahead and get out of the car first, then give instructions. Once he did that, with the person of interest close enough to block or slam a door, reach in to a window, etc....everything had to go bad from there on out.

      Worse after effect, thanks to television reporting, now every black kid under 30 that I've seen today in my neighborhood has been walking down the center of the street and not using the sidewalks. The last batch of 4 who went past ranged from roughly 5 to maybe 9 in age. It's always been "a thing" here, but since last Friday is is every day time now.... even for the little kids. BTW...they are heading for our local neighborhood taxpayer paid for park that has courts for one thing or another, picnic facilities, etc....and my immediate neighborhood is 95% Arab ethnicity. They have to walk a long way to strut and defy the man, so to speak...especially now that they've been instructed by television news and race baiters there-on. It is hot here now. Yes, I expect trouble.

    7. One reason among many that I am critical of the pull up and yak out the window tactic used is because an officer I knew and liked was shot dead that way...he never even had a chance to get out of his unmarked car. He'd been on a drug interdiction stake out at a fast food place 5 blocks from here, but was careless in trying to talk to a suspect from inside his car. Said "suspect" quickly became "killer" when he shot the officer dead in the head through a paper bag he had in his left hand...reaching inside and firing with his right.

    8. The "attempt to reach for" Wilson's gun is certainly important, but I don't think we know a lot about that, either. When I read the official police statement about this, I noticed that they worded it along the lines of "there was a struggle over the gun" (paraphrasing from memory). Conspicuously they didn't say that Brown tried to grab the gun from Wilson's holster. So I've conjectured that the struggle may have occurred only after Wilson drew his gun, with the possibility that Brown made an instinctive and ill-advised move to push it away or something, thereby escalating things fatally.

      If Brown did grab Wilson's holstered gun that certainly puts a different light on events, but I haven't seen an official statement that that's what happened. Absent evidence of that, I have to wonder if Wilson overreacted.

    9. Chip....I understand your distinction between a holstered gun or one already drawn, or even being drawn. My problem with that is to me it doesn't matter...a "struggle over the gun" is simply that, a civilian who had reached in to the car, punched the officer in the face, then proceeds to "struggle" for that uniformed officer's gun if sufficient cause for that officer to defend himself by whatever means he had. Please remember, I am an old dude, old school, where the uniform and badge meant something to the benefit of a just did not tussle with a uniformed PO, period. They're men and women who go out daily in communities of thousands upon thousands and the fact is they are alone on their own more often than not. When the respect for the uniform and badge is gone, and I fear that it is today in way too many places, the rest of what we once called civilization is on the way out the door as well.

      I've known a lot of police officers, and among maybe the hundred or so, I knew only one that could be called a "bad cop"...mainly because he was nuts, and was eventually medically retired. One man I knew reasonably well, partner of my room-mate etc., became nationally famous for an incident here, and was indicted and imprisoned for it. He was eventually released, and has since passed away so I can't harm him by saying anything....other than based upon his record he was the very last man to do what he was convicted of using the same we gonna riot logic we're witnessing once again. I will swear on my child's head and my own life that he was not guilty, but a similar dynamic was at work here that is at work in Ferguson today.

      I am afraid now that it is never going to end. Black versus White just because. White versus Mexican just because. Arab versus anyone else just because...lately the threat if ISIS, which is international and will arrive here sooner than later. I live in the middle of an Arab community, immediately adjacent to both black and Mexican communities (within a mile)...I've seen changes in my community over the past 6 months that are disturbing. Is ISIS already here? I go no where unarmed anymore. Ever. My best friend asked me this after noon if it wasn't time to move out? I answered: I do not run, and moving out and segregating the communities is what brought all of this nonsense on us today. I've lived through it in Detroit. No Mas. No Mas.

      PS: sorry for the emotional outburst.

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  4. Forensics are good enough to determine the angle of Brown's arm wrt the gun. This will come out in due course, especially if the cop is put on trial. Can you imagine the legal forensics battle?

  5. The media is still describing him as a "teenager"

    I also read early on that he was a "college bound teen" any truth to that at all?


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