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UncategorizedProsecutors almost always get grand jury indictments. Except in...

Prosecutors almost always get grand jury indictments. Except in Ferguson

48hillsfergusonburning

By Tim Redmond

NOVEMBER 25, 2014 – The news that a Ferguson police officer would not be indicted hit just as my investigative reporting class at City College was starting. We delayed things a bit as my students checked in on the web and got the basic info: A grand jury in St. Louis County, made up of nine whites and four African Americans, had decided that the evidence didn’t support a criminal charge against Darren Wilson.

I have not read all of the documents. I wasn’t in the Grand Jury room. But we took a moment to talk about some of the questions that ought to be raised in the wake of that decision, and they start with this:

What, exactly, did Prosecutor Bob McCulloch present to the jury, and how persuasive was it?

It’s odd: Most of the time, prosecutors are on the side of the cops – and most of the time, when they present a case to a grand jury, they get an indictment. If anything, the problem is that grand juries are unfair to defendants. You know the old saw: “If a district attorney wanted, a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”

I know of very, very few cases where prosecutors have vigorously sought indictments and have been turned down.

A grand jury indictment isn’t a trial. The jurors hear nothing from the defense; it’s a one-sided chamber where only the prosecution gets a say.

Ferguson is a majority African American city; the grand jury, selected from the entire county, was dominated by white people.

That starts off as a problem: The panel was going to have credibility problems.

Now Ferguson is in flames, and there’s going to be discontent in cities all over America.

It’s very rare for a prosecutor to file criminal charges against a police officer. District attorneys work with cops; they don’t like to flip the deck and put the cops on the defense.

That’s been a longstanding problem with the criminal justice system in this country.

Mix in a white prosecutor, and majority white grand jury, and the highly unusual outcome of a prosecutor failing to get an indictment, and you see why people are angry.

An indictment isn’t a conviction. It’s just a statement that someone ought to go to trial. The bar is relatively low.

Again: Not in the room. Maybe the prosecutor tried as hard as he could and was unable to reach that bar. Maybe race played no role in the grand jury decision.

I’m not into violence; looting and burning often hurts the very communities that have already been damaged. But the message that things are not okay in Ferguson, or in the United States – that this was an unusual outcome – seems hard to ignore.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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78 COMMENTS

  1. They’re all classification systems that people use to make overly-broad statements. I don’t have much time for them myself but if people are going to use concept like race to try and stir up ideological dissent, then I will point out some inconvenient truths about them when they do.

    Get back to me when black-on-white violent crime doesn’t happen at 40 times the rate of violent white-on-black crime. And when you have developed a more rational distinction between good and bad.

  2. Well, those “stereotypes” have different meaning, or different referents, unless you want to argue that gender is the same as religion and both are no different from sexual orientation. The words “class” and “race” have different meaning too, so why substitute one for another?

  3. Not really. The concept of race is no different than various other stereotypes that people use to try and lay a card. You could easily substitute classifications like gender, religion, sexual orientation, and so on.

    But of course if you have evidence to suggest that blacks do not conduct a massively disproportionate amount of the violent crime in this nation, then feel free to present it. But on the evidence of Matthew Brown’s self-destructive behavior, I’d suggest that you will struggle with that stereotype.

  4. Maybe those other nations do not have a class of citizens who commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime?

    But of course if you really think a place like Pakistan is better than here, why are you still here? You say one thing but do another.

  5. Greg –

    If anyone here is calling for a race war, it’s Dave at the very beginning of this article’s comment section. Or does telling us that “(We’re) pretty goddam lucky that, at the very least, enraged mobs aren’t dragging every cop, or every white person, out into the streets and stringing them up.” not count in your mind as calling for a race war?

    But in any event, why don’t you talk about the horrible fact that around 8,000 black people are murdered every single year. To put that in perspective, that’s more blacks killed in one year than the number of lives the U.S. has lost in a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it the police doing most of the killing? White people? Nope. The murderers are almost always (over 90%) other black people.

    But the majority of white people are killed by other white people you’re going to say. True, but they’re not killing each other in numbers that blacks are. The leading cause of death for black males between 15-40 is homicide at the hands of another black male. For every other race, it’s disease or accidents. Cities with large black populations like Chicago and Oakland have become killing fields for black males.

  6. In fact, it would be reasonable to assume from his behavior that Michael Brown resorted to violence to solve problems, but without the video that happened mere minutes earlier, we would be dealing with the “he was a good kid” meme by our media manipulators, rather than the “black lives matter” meme. But, how often is there a video? Its rare, but getting more frequent. I would argue that the reason we are becoming a surveillance society is a reaction to the literally unbelievable black crime rate in the United States.

  7. Some creepy stuff here on Thanksgiving. A yucky, disturbing obsession with a fellow internet commenter posting with a pseudonym.

  8. And the reason for the media blackout is because it is reasonable to extrapolate from the body count that other crimes are equally disproportional and just go unreported. Certainly my experience. I’ve never reported one of the numerous car break ins I’ve had the pleasure of, and even if I did I wouldn’t “KNOW” the race (except that I really would have a good guess).

  9. If not for a virtually total media black out on black homicides by firearm ages 10-24 Tamir Rice would make perfect sense, instead of flaming riots.

  10. Greg, cops in England are increasingly armed:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28656324

    The problem with gun control is well known. It prevents law-abiding people from owning firearms while it does not deter crooks at all. In fact, many blacks cannot own firearms legally because they are felons, but obviously that doesn’t stop them.

    I own a number of guns and would use them in a variety of home defense situations without hesitation. If you break into my home I will shoot you, and your race is immaterial. I don’t have a CCP/CCW because they are so hard to get in SF but, if I were worried, I’d carry.

    A policy that arms only criminals is not appropriate.

  11. Wow. Pretty staggering racism on display here from the right wing. First you have Sam referring to the murder of a human being as a “good clean shoot,” like he’s hunting some animal or something. And now hiill is all but calling for a race war.

    Personally, I’m not a big gun person, but comments like these are why I’m wary of the white liberal line on gun control. This is why they say that a state where only the police have guns, is a police state. Black people need guns to protect themselves from people like you.

    Of course the best situation would be if we disarmed everyone and not have the police carry guns either, like they do in Britain… but that’s another story.

  12. How can I stalk someone who, according to you, I have no knowledge of? That is what is weird here, and not some gentle, well-meaning curiosity.

    But it is important to understand the background of a commentator here as it can explain most, if not all, of their views.

    And if I can show how your politics derive from your personal situation, then that diminishes any logic you might otherwise claim for your position.

    Or, of course, highlight any hypocrisy, as when a certain white male tech worker and condo owner here criticizes white male tech workers for buying condos.

  13. In the context of the 40 to 1 rate of black on white crime according to the FBI and the homicide deaths of non hispanic blacks of 51.5 I’d say judging quickly off the top of my head that the white police officer was not only justified in shooting michael Brown, but why it doesn’t happen more often is a mystery and should probably be redressed.

  14. Now we’re going beyond trolling and getting into cyberstalking territory. Fortunately you clearly don’t know me, so I’m not too concerned. Still… creepy shit. Shows what kind of a person you are.

  15. Given the disproportionate rate of often horrifically brutal black on white crime and the stunning number of no doubt even more brutal black deaths by firearms, a rational response would be allow whites to own firearms to protect themselves from blacks, and ban firearms from blacks to protect them from themselves. If you want to get to the root of the firearms argument.

  16. Greg, if that’s the story you are sticking with, you’d better be damned sure that I can’t prove otherwise, or your lie will be very very public.

    Better be careful not to let anything slip . . .

  17. Greg, you are still discounting the fact that blacks commit far more crime. For instance, according to FBI ststistics, black-on-white violent crime happens at 40 times the rate of white-on-back crime.

    No matter how much you rationalize the reasons for that, we can’t ignore it, and we must punish them.

    Sweden has much less crime not just because it has very few blacks, but also because it is a very homogeneous culture. Because America is just a mix of cultures, there is no inherent agreement on how to behave, like there is in a monoculture.

    So America needs a massive framework of laws to control peoples; behavior, because peer pressure won’t work here the way it does in Sweden. And if you have more laws, you’re going to have more punishment.

    The liberal in me might want to see less folks in prison. But the parent in me wants the bad guys off the streets.

  18. The incarceration rate for *white* people in this country is around 400 per 100,000.
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/06/incarceration-gap-between-whites-and-blacks-widens/

    The incarceration rate in Sweden: 60, for all populations in Sweden
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate#United_States

    No, America would not look like a giant Sweden. In fact, if you took out all African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, America would still look like a giant gulag compared to almost any other country in the world.

    Now why is that? The short answer is that it’s both more crime, and harsher penalties for the same crimes. But dig deeper -why do we have more crime? And why do we have harsher penalties for the same crimes? These statistics tell you that the system is broken.

    The racial disparities make it even uglier, because the incarceration rates for African Americans are absolutely staggering. Even in Apartheid South Africa, blacks weren’t subjected to this kind of state repression. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, this is not about crime, but social control of a population that is reacting to a declining standard of living; blacks just have to deal with the added element of deeply rooted institutional racism.

  19. Actually we don’t need to go as far to see what “America minus blacks” would look like, crime-wise. How about Canada?

    The economic cost to this nation of black crime at this point probably exceeds the economic value of slave labor, when everything is taken into account. Which is a good economic argument against slavery, but not a good argument that black crime isn’t a problem.

    I read one black “intellectual” arguing that, when Brown walked away after hitting Wilson twice in the head, that Brown didn’t need to follow him. But rather Wilson could have simply stayed in his car and “let it go”.

    That smacks of a stunning sense of entitlement from blacks i.e. that they should have some form of immunity from police action regardless of what they do.

    Personally I think Wilson should be given a commendation for bravery, but that wouldn’t be too politically incorrect.

  20. Well, Greg, my degree of confidence is sufficiently high that I will not disrespect you by giving your full name, address and phone number, which I have.

    Instead I will give some information that you will recognize as true about you, but insufficient to identify you through a compound google search.

    Let me know how many of these seven are correct, if you dare. But if you lie, it will come back to haunt you.

    1) You surname has five letters in it, at least in its anglicised form.

    2) Greg is your middle name but you go by it.

    3) You live very close to the Great Highway and GGPark

    4) You have ran for DCCC and lost

    5) You have lived in the former Soviet Union

    6) You work in a retail store at Stonestown mall

    7) You have been in a lawsuit where ACLU was involved

    OK, Greg, and don’t even think about lying.

  21. Greg your arguments are too delusional to go into some detailed analysis although I may anyway.

    I noticed that you specifically mentioned drug crimes because that is the typical tactic and again almost doesn’t merit a response except I’ll say if you target crack cocaine your bizarre street crimes plummet.

    I’m thinking about the murder rate because you can fudge the numbers for drugs and other crimes and you can make baseless accusations about arrest and incarceration rates, but you can’t hide the bodies.

    The rest doesn’t merit a response except to say that “refuse to adhere” sounds like another way to say “willfully ignorant.”

    If you took black crime out of the statistics America would look like a giant Sweden.

  22. Ok, just curious. Who do you think I am? One guess. I’ll answer yes or no and leave it at that. Since you said you figured it out, you only need one guess, right?

  23. Greg, by claiming that the information that I have given about you leads you to conclude that I have “no clue” who you are, you are inviting me to give out much more information about you.

    Is that what you really want here? Getting caught out in a lie isn’t going to do your credibility much good.

    And why are you so sensitive about people knowing who you are? From what I’ve seen, there’s aren’t too many black marks on you, other than your ridiculous politics. You’re just an ordinary Joe.

    So, what are you afraid of? Even your buddy marcos appears to have given up.

  24. When people assert that blacks commit more crime (and even you seem to be admitting that now) they are not necessarily saying that there is something about having darker skin that makes you more prone to crime. It’s rather that the sum total of socio-economic and cultural forces that constitute race tend to result in blacks being the most criminal, followed by Hispanics, then whites, then Asians.

    And I’m sure you could bore us fr hours about how this is not the fault of blacks, but the inevitable legacy of slavery, segregation, blah blah. But in the end that doesn’t matter because those things cannot be changed. The fact remains, as Jesse Jackson famously said, that we all know the feeling of hearing foot-steps behind us and then looking back, feel a sense of relief when we see that it’s not a young black male.

    So nobody is saying that blacks are “bad”. But they are saying that blacks are statistically much more likely to do bad things. And in certain circumstances, that will get you shot.

    The black community has a lot of work to do no themselves.

  25. No, we don’t know each other. Again, I’m not going to confirm or deny personal details (except those I personally mentioned). But based on Sam’s various comments, I’m pretty secure in the knowledge that he has no clue who I am.

    What is particularly ugly is the fact that he tries to cover up his own racism by accusing me of same (naturally never with any substantiation, because there is none). There have been times when I’ve been tempted to reveal certain details about who I am which would totally shatter his bizarre theories about me to pieces, but I’m not going to play that game because I understand it’s bait.

  26. hiill,
    That’s a deliberate misrepresentation of what I said. The reasons difference between black and white incarceration rates is multifaceted. Some of it absolutely has to do with the fact that blacks are much more likely to be stopped, arrested, imprisoned, and imprisoned for longer -even considering the same crime and same criminal record.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1985377
    I was using drug crimes in particular to illustrate the disparities that you choose to ignore, and studies back up what I said.
    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2014/09/30-war-on-drugs-black-social-mobility-rothwell
    Again, same crimes, and same criminal record.

    Another aspect of institutional racism (an institutional classism), is what types of crimes are even considered “crime.” There is massive crime in the corporate and financial world. It affects more people, causes more severe losses, and yet neither the police nor the media ever focus on it.

    And while it’s true that blacks do commit *some* crimes at rates higher than whites, you have to look at the reasons why. Either you believe in the racist theory that blacks are just “bad people,” or you have to acknowledge that there are societal factors that drive some groups to commit crimes more than others.

    I refuse to adhere to the racist theory that blacks are just more crime-prone. So I have to ask, what is it about the way we organize society that causes certain people to commit crimes? And really, it’s an extension of the broader question of why is it that *all* of America is such a violent, crime-ridden place? African Americans are the canary in the coal mine. But the reality- one that even progressives don’t talk about so much -is that the incarceration rates for *everyone* in this country are beyond outrageous. Part of it has to do with the fact that America is more violent than just about any other developed nation, but an even greater factor is that we throw more people into prison for the same things, and for longer, than other societies.

    To say that the system is broken is giving it too much credit. That assumes that purpose of the criminal injustice system is to deter crime. If that were the case, then it’s clearly a failure. At this point, however, I think a neutral observer of the system can look at it and conclude that America uses prison as a method of social control, and African Americans bear the biggest brunt of that.

  27. hiill, Actually Greg lives in SF, in the Sunset/Richmond area, out by the ocean. But it’s still possible that he feels culturally and ethnically repressed. He is not American-born and English is his second language. This may explain some sense of cultural isolation, as well as the incipient anti-Americanism that often creeps into his posts.

    But Greg reserves his special venom for Asians. Partly because their political clout in this city stands in the way of his socialist aspirations. And partly the area where he lives is majority Asian, further reinforcing his lack of a strong ethnic belonging.

    Throw in the fact that Greg was born in the Soviet bloc, and it’s not hard to understand how such a bizarre set of beliefs came to permeate his thinking,

  28. Sam I think it’s more complicated than that. If Greg is white, he probably lives in Oakland, a town with I believe one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, one of the smallest police forces in the country, and a media that relentlessly downplays that most of this crime is committed by blacks. If Greg lives in Oakland he is under constant attack because of his race, and he is under credible threat of extreme harassment and violence if he doesn’t say the right things and learn to protest on cue. Stockholm syndrome. Ferguson was 75% white as recently as 1990 before an influx of blacks, but when the same thing happens to black neighborhoods and cities, like what is happening in places in Oakland, the new white residents, particularly women, get their phones snatched and their faces smashed in.

  29. If whites and blacks commit crimes at the same rate, as Greg ridiculously claims, then why are the most crime-infested cities in the US all cities with very large black populations?

    Gary, Indiana
    Detroit
    Memphis
    St. Louis
    Baltimore
    Oakland

    Coincidence? Vast right-wing conspiracy?

  30. The reason Greg is so sure black and white crime rates are equivalent is simply because the media have conspired to stop reporting on the race of the criminals and the victims, apparently for fear of an ‘uprising’, to use Greg’s term.

  31. hiill, Greg isn’t interested in Brown’s crimes, behavior or irrationality, nor how he engineered his own demise. Nor is he really interested in what happened, the evidence, the testimony or the context. If Greg sees a cop, he wants to do the intellectual version of what Wilson wanted to do – hate and beat down on him.

    And Greg is no more successful than Brown, but he gets away with it because “it’s just words”.

    It’s impossible to work with that level of bias, discrimination and hatred. All we can do is ruthlessly expose his negativism and injustice so that readers are left in no doubt.

  32. Greg if neither a state nor federal grand jury will indict the officer then that was justice.

    As far as black incarceration, dont do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    If you want to play the knock out game on a police officer better make sure you knock him out.

  33. Yes, it is trivially simple to allow your eyes to glaze past any comment or commentator that displeases. It’s really easy to do – you don’t need no stinking technology to do it.

    And that has the added advantage of meaning that you are never subjected to an opinion that criticizes or challenges your sanitized one-dimensional set of prejudices. I feel sure that’s important to you.

  34. Greg, you’re white. I figured out who you are. I won’t spill, for now anyway. But you’re white.

    Your refusal to accept that it is the criminal behavior of blacks that brings about more negative attention from law enforcement stands starkly in the way of you really understanding why the Grand Jury declined to prosecute here. This was a perfectly clean good justified shoot. The only people claiming otherwise are either criminal blacks and white cop-haters like you

  35. There are ways to work towards effecting change in society without violence, intimidation and excess.

    As MLK also said “We must learn how to disagree without being disagreeable”.

  36. btw, SciLaw… I don’t think it’s a “failure to understand” on Sam’s part. It’s not even willful ignorance, because I think Sam is smart enough to figure out that black people face institutional racism. I think it’s just that he doesn’t give a crap, which is why he mouths the same platitudes over and over like a machine -stuff about white grandmothers and the rest.

    It’s the exact same attitude that the authorities take. Out of 162,000 grand jury cases in the country, they refused to indict in only 11 cases. A prosecutor has to try really, really hard not to get an indictment. Frankly, with odds like that, I don’t know why we have to have grand juries at all. It’s a kangaroo court that basically makes it seem like there’s some form of oversight when there really isn’t. Or like in this case, when the prosecutor feels political pressure to indict a criminal, but really doesn’t want to, he can do a half-assed job of it and then shrug his shoulders and blame it on the grand jury.

    The “long-winded and sanctimonious” statement that the prosecutor made in the wake of the non-indictment, as one legal expert described it, showed that he had nothing but contempt for the victim and cared more about defending the perpetrator of the crime.

  37. “Since you’re white as well (as we established a couple of weeks ago), you don’t get to use the word “white” as an insult.”

    “We” established no such thing. *You* speculate that I’m white, and you can speculate whatever you want. I will neither confirm nor deny. What I said us just a statement of fact. You’re a white and you’re smug.

  38. I agree with what Martin Luther King had to say about the “riots” of his day:

    “It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

  39. SciLaw, young black males are on the receiving end of more adverse attention from cops because they commit a disproportionate amount of the crimes.

    If white grandmothers committed the most crimes, they’d be getting arrested and shot. But they don’t. They commit the least crimes.

    How the cops treat black males is dependant on how those black males behave. Why aren’t you out there helping to educate them to behave much better? Then none of them will get shot, just like no white grandmothers get shot.

  40. It’s not an uprising. It’s just more criminal behavior from a class of people for whom criminal behavior is entrenched normal behavior.

    Their attitude seems to be that either the grand jury does what they say or they will riot. Fine. Let them riot. If they want to destroy their own neighborhoods and businesses then let them. But we should never distort the judicial process just to placate thugs. Not gonna happen.

  41. However, I get to use the term white with you. And you are a cliche with your white privilege arguments considering you never address the racial disproportionate actions that result in police officers killing black males.

    Let’s discuss (a) the Walmart toy gun shooting, (b) the recent 12 year old toy gun shooting, (c) the not so recent local toy gun shooting, (d) the police shooting of a black man who was reaching for ID as requested by the cop, (e) the illegal stranglehold death in New York, it goes on and on. And there are so few indictments.

    The problem is “imminent danger” for cops is such a low standard that it’s essentially meaningless, and it’s easy for you to scoff at it since it’s not open season on white males.

    What’s scary is how you can’t seem to understand how the grand jury process is broken in this circumstance. It was literally a legal farce.

  42. That’s fine. I’m not saying he should be convicted but I do think he should have been indicted. There’s ways of presenting the evidence (we all know that) and there was literally no CX of Wilson as a witness (besides the strange fact of the potential defendant testifying at the grand jury itself). There are plenty of other lawyers who have already gone through the testimony and pointed out areas of Wilson’s testimony that should have been clarified through better questioning.

    And yes, a felon couldn’t serve but considering that the police force in Ferguson was using the black population as a piggybank, one could argue whether a number of those felonies were based on a white police force badgering blacks which then triggers certain sentencing guidelines.

    I can find citations if you’d like.

  43. Scanning the news this morning its obvious that the media thrives and promotes sensationalism, even 48 hills to some degree.

  44. Since you’re white as well (as we established a couple of weeks ago), you don’t get to use the word “white” as an insult. Although your use of the word “boy” is interesting, given the context.

    I am comfortable with the decision because I can quite simply see no evidence that supports the conjecture that this was a crime. Nor could the jury. A cop is allowed to use deadly force when there is imminent danger to himself or another person, and it is clear that that was the case here.

    And Greg, since you always criticized cops in your SFBG days, the fact that you’d be “comfortable” if instead Wilson had died here totally devalues your opinion.

  45. hiillary,
    Just how long do you want people to wait for justice? Ferguson residents have been out there since August. And the protests have been largely peaceful. They’ve waited for the system to deliver justice, but the system spat in their faces and once again told them that their lives don’t matter.

    I mean, look, we need to put this in context. What most white people fail to understand is that this country is a brutal police state for black people, and I say that without the slightest exaggeration. When I tell people that we incarcerate more people per capita than any other country, including the worst dictatorships, people don’t believe me. And yet, it’s true -look it up. And while it’s bad enough for anybody, black and brown men get hit the hardest by far. It has nothing to do with how many crimes they commit -they’re much more likely to be stopped, arrested, imprisoned than white people, even when you account for criminal record. White people do and *sell* just as many drugs, yet we don’t have stop and frisk regimes in white neighborhoods. You have the police acting as an occupying army in black neighborhoods, and you know what, people are pissed.

    People are pissed, and they have a right to be pissed. They’re disempowered and abused and they’re rising up. And by the way, can we please stop calling this a riot? What happened in the Mission district with the Giants fans -that was a riot. This… this is an uprising.

  46. Of course you’re “comfortable.” That was one of your favorite phrases when you posted as guest/anon at the sfbg. You’re a smug white boy who’s comfortable with every abuse and every intrusion of civil liberties by the security state. You’re an apologist for state thuggery. That’s your “job” here.

  47. Of course Brown’s conduct is material and key here, because it is Brown’s conduct that makes the difference between this being a cold-blooded execution and a good police shoot.

    The shoot looks legit on the basis of Brown’s criminal and violent behavior at the time of the incident.

    I’m comfortable with the decision.

  48. True, and also being a felon would dis-qualify a person from serving, and the percentage of blacks with felony convictions is much higher than for whites.

    So the make-up of the jury reflects the non-felon demographic quite well.

    It’s also shallow, and also racist, to assume that jurors ignore the evidence and “vote their race”. I’d have no problem convicting a white or acquitting a black, if the evidence supported that.

  49. Wrong, unlike you I don’t have a kneejerk opinion on this. The prosecution of the Rodney King cops was valid IMO.

    It’s just that there’s no evidence here that the cop didn’t follow the book and behave appropriately. You know, that evidence thing?

  50. Tim’s gut instinct seems to be correct. From some of the evidence coming out, the prosecutor seems to have been going through the motions, but in reality doing everything he could to not get an indictment. Even more odious, he was basically putting the victim on trial. Here’s what Vince Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, had to say on Amy Goodman’s show this morning:

    “Yes, thanks Amy, and good to see you Sekou. It is almost inexplicable. The first thing we have to remember is that this is not a verdict. This hasn’t gotten to verdict. This was an indictment. So the grand jury was asked to consider evidence in order to prefer charges so that the police officer could go to trial, but they did not do that. What was so strange about it is I’ve never seen, in my years, I’ve never seen a prosecutor take such a hands-off approach. And to listen to that press conference, Amy, you would think that he had just sort of spread out the pieces of paper on the table and said, grand jury, do your thing. Let me tell you, prosecutors never do that. There’s a reason why they say prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich. It’s because they can entirely control that process.

    Now, they did release some of the transcripts yesterday. And I took a look at some of them, and what I saw, which people need to know, is that this wasn’t just the grand jurors listening to the testimony I idly. The prosecutors are framing the evidence. And as you heard in that press conference yesterday, there was more talk about what Mike Brown did than there was about what Darren Wilson did. It was almost as if in that grand jury process looking to charge Darren Wilson, that they were really charging Mike Brown. And I also noticed in some of the transcripts that they were setting up — the prosecutors were setting up the sense of fear, even asking the Police Sergeant when he got to Mike Brown’s body, when he first got there, leading them into the testimony to say, yeah, there were people that were agitated, there were people that were upset, there were people that were moving around. And of course there were people that were agitated because Mike Brown’s body was on the ground. But they’re setting this up so that essentially to play into the defense of Darren Wilson, that he acted reasonably out of fear for his life, A, B, that he acted reasonably and pursuant to the law because he thought that Mike Brown was breaking the law.”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/25/it_is_officially_open_season_on

  51. “I’d have acquitted the cop every time. ”

    Of course you would. You’ve never seen a jackboot that you didn’t want to kneel down and lick.

  52. Which part of (a) I’m [Wilson] scrambling to get his arms out of my face, followed by (b) Brown turning around to give the cigarillos back to his buddy, followed by (c) coming back to hit me am I making up? Yep, sorry your bad.

  53. “Ferguson is a majority African American city; the grand jury, selected from the entire county, was dominated by white people.”

    In fairness, the grand jury was 25% african american, reflecting the demographic of St. Louis county, pop. 1,001,444 est 2013. It is a bit much to expect a tiny community of 21,111 est pop 2013 to support a jury system on their own, 8,192 households of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.6% ,31.5% had a female householder with no husband present.?

  54. Hmmm, looks like you didn’t read the testimony yourself. Try again dimwit

    I was doing the, just scrambling, trying to get his arms out of my face and him from grabbing me and everything else. He turned to his…if he’s at my vehicle, he turned to his left and handed the first subject. He said, “here, take these.” He was holding a pack of — several packs of cigarillos which was just, what was stolen from the Market Store was several packs of cigarillos. He said, “here, hold these” and when he did that I grabbed his right arm trying just to control something at that point. Um, as I was holding it, and he came around, he came around with his arm extended, fist made, and went like that straight at my face with his…a full swing from his left hand.

  55. @scilaw-

    “Maybe because there was only slight bruising on the face when Wilson was initially claiming an eyeball fracture.”

    No, WIlson never said anything publicly about that. There was a rumor that he had suffered an eye socket fracture, which is probably what is confusing you. But Wilson had made no public claims prior to the GJ testimony.

    “Maybe because the Ferguson police chief said the stop was not robbery related and somehow Wilson is now testifying it was.”

    Read the testimony. Wilson said that he stopped them for walking in the middle of the street and then noticed that Brown fit the description of the kid who stole the cigars.

    “Maybe because Wilson’s testimony that Brown stopped hitting him to pass the cigarillos back to his friend is most likely a fabrication to link this stop to the previous robbery.”

    Oh, I get it. You just like to make things up. Sorry. My bad.

  56. Maybe because there was only slight bruising on the face when Wilson was initially claiming an eyeball fracture.

    Maybe because the Ferguson police chief said the stop was not robbery related and somehow Wilson is now testifying it was.

    Maybe because Wilson’s testimony that Brown stopped hitting him to pass the cigarillos back to his friend is most likely a fabrication to link this stop to the previous robbery.

    Maybe because we should at least get indictments for shootings of unarmed civilians as a matter of public policy to stop the “war mentality” of the cops out there.

    Maybe because the prosecutor openly mocked testimony that didn’t support his pro-cop version of events.

    Maybe because prosecutors who don’t recommend a charge never will get an indictment, so this farce of a grand jury was a non-starter to begin with.

    Maybe because white men can go around with open carry and somehow survive but black men are shot, strangled by cops and black kids are killed carrying fake guns at a strangely weird statistical rate.

  57. And you will wait, and wait, and wait.

    This ain’t no Rodney King thing.

    But hey, his family can always try civil court, so that the good people of Fergusen can pay some more.

  58. Or maybe, with 20/20 hindsight…if you are walking down the middle of the street with a bunch of cigars that you just stole, and a cop drives up and tells you to walk on the sidewalk….maybe you just do it and go home with your cigars.

    I do have a lot of trouble with the eyewitness accounts saying that Wilson was trying to pull Brown into the car with him. How can anyone say that with a straight face? Just reach out and pull a 300 pound kid over your lap? And then what?

  59. Brown was a thug, see the video of him stealing and pushing the shop keeper away. Color has nothing to do with this tragic effect.
    The looting and burning of local owned stores was done by thugs not the protester that were there airing their grievances.

  60. It isn’t close to a good case. Read this testimony from the Grand Jury:

    “Brown punched him (Wilson) in the face when the officer drove back to him.

    Wilson said he tried to get out of his cruiser but Brown slammed the door shut twice and hit him with his fist.

    “I felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right,” Wilson said.

    It was a perfectly justified police shoot of a guy who had taken illegal drugs, just robbed a convenience store and was violently resisting arrest by attacking a policeman.

    I’d have acquitted the cop every time. Why are we even discussing this?

  61. Such an enlightened and reflective response.

    Luckily your black mobs aren’t very smart, and only trash the neighborhoods where they live.

  62. I listened to the whole news conference, and the inescapable conclusion was this: Darren Wilson executed Mike Brown for contempt of cop. And the grand jury said that was legal. If that’s legal, burn it down.

  63. I get a kick out of people whining about the “looting” going on in reaction to this incident. Really, if “looting” is all that’s happening, you’re pretty goddam lucky. You’re pretty goddam lucky that, at the very least, enraged mobs aren’t dragging every cop, or every white person, out into the streets and stringing them up. You’re pretty goddam lucky only “looting” is going on, whitey. You’re. Pretty. GODDAM. Lucky.

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