Archive - Nov 2014


November 27th


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Memo to Darren Wilson's defenders: LOOK.

In the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision, there is one takeaway from the result, the release of documents, and the press conference from county prosecutor Robert McCulloch, it's that the whole thing is just fishy as fuck.

This, by the way, is a separate thing from whether or not Darren Wilson is guilty of a crime, whether or not Michael Brown had it coming, and whether or not the people of Ferguson should be upset and protesting. I mean, it's inexorably tied to all these things, but it's also a thing in and of itself.

By all accounts, grand juries simply do not work the way this grand jury did. This was, essentially, a de facto trial. Witnesses were called, testimony was given, and physical evidence was presented far in excess of what's required in a normal grand jury situation. It was a trial, with the prosecutor's office acting in the role of the defense and nobody acting in the role of the prosecution. Which is weird.

The McCulloch press conference was a long, rambling affair, in which the prosecutor went out of his way to present the wildly varying descriptions by dozens of eyewitnesses to what happened, even though allegedly, physical evidence helped convince the grand jury which ones were credible and which weren't. Which is weird.

Basically, if you were trying to convey the impression that an impartial system has investigated and discovered that the police don't actually have it out for black people after all, what they did was the worst possible way to do that.

And no, Michael Brown doesn't have to be an innocent little angel for this to be true. He could have punched a cop, grabbed the cop's gun to keep the cop from shooting him, and even advanced on the cop before he fired, and the whole process would still be fucked up and fishy and enough to raise suspicion in anyone with the slightest bit of skepticism that Something Is Up.

What's up? There's no way to know, because something's up with the process used to determine what's up. There can be suspicions, certainly, given historical precedent and societal factors, but that would be speculation. And there's been enough speculation about this on the Internet already. But if you're convinced that the grand jury was perfectly normal and proved that the cop did the right thing, you should probably take a long, hard look at WHY you think that, because something is definitely up.

About the only thing we can trust out of a process like this is a certain subset of facts - facts presented by questionable people on the grounds that they are helpful that, upon closer examination, turn out to actually be damning. And there's one key piece of Darren Wilson's testimony that falls squarely into this category. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked... At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I'm shooting at him." - Wilson, in his grand jury testimony.

Factual evidence subsequently revealed that Michael Brown was not a demon, and could not run through shots. So, when Darren Wilson believed those things, Darren Wilson was wrong.

Which means that a grand jury heard that a cop shot a kid because he thought the kid looked like a demon who was getting ready to run through bullets and kill him. And the grand jury said, "Oh, if that's the case, then yes, you can go. It's cool."

So, you know. You can see where, from that point of view, some people might be upset.