A Dose of Reality for Ferguson, Missouri


Unlike much of America, I’ve stayed quiet about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. As a cop, I know initial media reports about any incident are usually wrong. I also know that many media outlets and internet commentators deliberately twist facts to inflame emotion. They’ll throw out empty, meaningless phrases like “he was shot in broad daylight, in his own hometown” even though that has literally nothing to do with the legality or illegality of the shooting.

And it goes without saying that in any incident involving a police officer, many people with absolutely no understanding of police work or lethal violence suddenly think they’re experts. After Brown’s death I expected a loud chorus of hysterical cries from people who had no idea what the hell they were talking about. I haven’t been disappointed.

“But he was unarmed!”

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard the term “unarmed teenager”. Yes, Brown was an unarmed 18 year old. He was also 6’4″ and 292 pounds. Anyone who thinks an unarmed, 6’4″, 292 pound man can’t be a threat has never been punched in the face. Unarmed people can be extremely dangerous.

In 2012 an unarmed 17 year old beat an El Paso police officer to death. The officer was 29 years old, a former Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.


An off-duty police officer in New York City was beaten almost to death by an unarmed man last November.

In July, an unarmed 21 year old “felt like killing someone” and beat a 56 year old random victim to death at a train station in San Antonio.


In 2012, an unarmed 24 year old man beat a man to death for raping his daughter.


Those chanting “but he was unarmed” are pathetically ignorant of the reality of violence. Unarmed people hurt or kill others on a regular basis. No, that doesn’t mean every unarmed person needs to be shot; it does, however, mean an aggressive, unarmed person can be a threat to your life. The bigger and stronger that person is, the bigger the threat.

“All Michael Brown did was shoplift cigars.”

No, he didn’t “shoplift” anything. He committed a robbery. Shoplifting is a nonviolent crime, usually committed by people desperate to avoid confrontation. Robbery is violent. When someone uses or threatens force to take anything, no matter how unimportant or inexpensive, that’s robbery. If someone grabs you by the collar, reaches into your pocket and takes a single piece of chewing gum, the problem isn’t the lost gum. The problem is that someone used force to take your property.

Many media outlets refer to Brown’s crime as theft or shoplifting. That’s probably a deliberate lie, chosen specifically to downplay the crime Brown committed. The Daily Kos, which can always be trusted to produce inflammatory stupidity, said “Brown shoplifted some cigars on the day he was killed”, which does not in any way describe what happened (the same article also claimed “Michael Brown was gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, apparently for the crime of jaywalking”).


Cracked magazine, which usually does a good job of cutting through nonsense, mentioned “robbery” but then decided to go full propaganda: “…the officer (who was aware of the previous robbery) saw Brown walking with the same cigars that had been stolen and suspected that he was the shoplifter.”


No, Cracked. He wasn’t a “shoplifter”. He was a robber. There’s a huge difference between someone who sticks cigars in his pocket and walks out of a store, versus a guy who grabs cigars, pushes a store owner around and threatens him, and then walks out. The first act is simple nonviolent theft, the second is a violent robbery.

Both Kos and Cracked assert the robbery didn’t matter, either because the officer didn’t know about it or because stealing $50 worth of cigars doesn’t justify a shooting. I offer a counterpoint: yes, the robbery is hugely important. We’ve heard conflicting reports about whether or not the officer was aware of the robbery, and I can’t say for certain he knew Brown was a robbery suspect. But Michael Brown sure as hell knew he had committed a robbery. He knew he was about to be arrested for something more serious than shoplifting. Does that mean Brown would likely react more aggressively toward the officer than someone who had committed simple theft? Based on my experiences dealing with suspects who just committed felonies, I’d say yes.

“The officer shot him six times!”

Yes, the officer shot Brown six times. That sounds excessive. It’s not. On TV and in movies, people get shot one time, fly through the air in a spray of blood and immediately die. In real life they don’t.

A police officer got into a gunfight with a robbery suspect in 2009. The officer shot the suspect 14 times with a .45 pistol, and 6 of the bullet wounds were nonsurvivable. The suspect still didn’t go down. The officer finally shot the suspect three more times, in the face and top of the head. The head shot finally stopped him, but didn’t kill him; he died later, at the hospital. An autopsy determined he hadn’t been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Last year I wrote an essay about what bullets really do (and don’t do). I described incidents I worked where people were shot but didn’t react the way most people think they should. These incidents include a robbery victim who was shot three times including once in the forehead and still ran 500 yards to find help, a young female shot through the thigh who showed no reaction at all, and a man with part of his head blown off who was still conscious and alert.


Police officers are trained to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Under stress we’re not counting bullets, we’re shooting until we’ve eliminated the threat. It is not at all uncommon for a person to take multiple bullets before they stop being a threat.

“The officer should have used his baton, Taser or pepper spray instead of his gun.”

Here’s a little-known reality about intermediate weapons: they don’t always work. In 20 years as a cop I’ve used my baton twice. Both suspects wound up in the hospital… eventually. At the time I was hitting them, they weren’t impressed. I’ve also pepper sprayed around 30 suspects. Pepper spray works on everyone… eventually. Some people don’t react to it right away. And even if you get a hit, that hit might not be enough to stop the suspect.

In 1992 a police officer responded to a domestic disturbance and confronted a violent wife abuser. The officer sprayed the suspect. The unarmed suspect beat and disabled the officer, then fractured the officer’s skull with a stick of firewood. The officer died shortly afterward.


Here’s a video of a March 2014 encounter between a police officer and suspect in a Philadelphia train station. The officer pepper sprays the suspect and hits him with a baton, to no effect. During the fight the suspect tries to disarm the officer.


Here’s one of an officer who pepper sprayed a combative suspect. It didn’t work. He then shot the suspect. The suspect disarmed the officer and tried to shoot him, then almost beat him unconscious.

But what about Tasers? Tasers work great, except when they don’t. If there’s not enough spread between the darts, the shock won’t disable the suspect. If one dart misses, no shock. If one dart gets hung up in clothing, no shock. If the Taser itself malfunctions, no shock.

And any intermediate weapon takes time to deploy and properly use. If a large, aggressive suspect charges me, I know I have mere seconds to choose a force option and hope it works. Whatever I choose, I know it’ll likely be the only weapon I can employ before the suspect is on me. Batons, pepper spray and Tasers all have significant failure rates. In some cases, the best option is to go straight for the pistol.

“Witnesses said Brown was giving up when he was shot.”

Witnesses have said a lot of things. Brown’s friend insists he and Brown were innocently minding their own business until an evil racist police officer cursed at them, ordered them out of the street, grabbed 6’4″ Brown around the neck (without even getting out of his patrol vehicle!), shot Brown as he was running away, then shot him again after Brown put his hands up in surrender.

There is no reason to disbelieve this version of events. Except for the fact that Brown’s friend was with him during the robbery, has a warrant for theft and giving a fake name to police, and, being Brown’s friend, is biased in his favor. Oh, and the multiple autopsies that show Brown wasn’t shot in the back.

This might be a shock to some, but sometimes people lie to protect their friends. Every time we cops show up to a bar fight, it’s practically a comedy routine from each “victim” and their friends. “Officer, I was walking by the pool table and that guy bumped into me. I said ‘Excuse me sir, I didn’t mean to bump you and I profusely apologize’, but the guy punched me! For no reason!” I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve wasted taking statements from bar fighters and their friends who insist they’re all sweet innocent angels who were viciously attacked for no reason.

I worked one shooting where the victim’s girlfriend swore – SWORE – that her boyfriend’s ex-wife had driven by and shot him as he and the girlfriend were leaving a restaurant. No other witnesses said anything even remotely like that. No physical evidence corroborated the girlfriend’s story. Eventually investigators figured out the boyfriend was shot by an unrelated woman during a fight between eight drunks in the parking lot. The woman even confessed. But the girlfriend still swore – SWORE – it was the ex-wife. Amazingly enough, witnesses with an axe to grind sometimes lie.

There are witnesses who insist Brown was attacked for no reason whatsoever. But at least two of those “witness” statements don’t match up to the physical evidence.

“Johnson [Brown’s friend] said the officer hit Brown with another round as he was running away and fatally gunned him down after he stopped and raised his hands in surrender.”

“Brady [another alleged witness] said Brown and Johnson then ran away, while Wilson got out of his car and began shooting.”


No, the officer didn’t shoot Brown in the back as he was running away, unless all three forensic pathologists managed to miss the gunshot wound in his back during their autopsies. Call me crazy, but I’m not going to take their “That cop shot Brown for no reason as he was running away” statements as gospel. Another as-yet-unidentified witness made a statement in the background of a video taken right after the shooting. He said a shot was fired in the police car during a struggle, then Brown ran away, then was shot repeatedly after he turned and charged the officer. The witness statement begins around 6:30.

We will likely never know the identity of that witness and I’m sure that statement will never reach any court. But I think it was from an actual unbiased witness, and is probably closer to the truth than any other “witness” statement we’ve heard.

Bottom line

You’ll notice I said “I think” the videotaped witness statement is true, instead of saying “I know”. I’ve formed an opinion but can’t claim I know what actually happened. Officer Darren Wilson may have stopped Brown for walking in the street, then shot him repeatedly for absolutely no reason. Crazier things have happened.

But you know what’s more likely? Wilson simply ordered Brown and his friend to get out of the street, then realized they were robbery suspects and tried to stop them. Instead of complying, Brown shoved Wilson back into his vehicle, punched him (and maybe broke his eye socket), then ran away after Wilson fired a shot. Wilson jumped out and ordered Brown to stop. Brown chose to charge Wilson, who fired until Brown fell dead.

That’s what I think happened. But I don’t know for certain.

Since I don’t know the actual truth I’ll keep this opinion in the land of conjecture, where it belongs. I won’t scream about racism. I won’t demand prosecution as a way to curry favor with a particular demographic. I won’t excuse the thieving, brutal punks who use this alleged injustice as an excuse to be the murderers and looters they already were. I won’t let dumbass fantasies like “unarmed people can’t be a threat”, “he could have just used pepper spray” or “there’s never a reason to shoot someone more than once” influence my opinion. Instead, I’ll stand by and wait for actual evidence.

If that evidence shows Officer Wilson murdered Brown, I’ll fully support his prosecution. But if the evidence shows Wilson acted both legally and morally, I’m 100% on his side. Either way, I won’t let emotions drive my decision. Maybe a few others on TV and online, and a whole bunch of people in Ferguson, should try to keep their emotions in check as well.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


679 Responses to “A Dose of Reality for Ferguson, Missouri”

  1. 1 willie

    I stopped reading when the writer said the following

    But you know what’s more likely? Wilson simply ordered Brown and his friend to get out of the street, then realized they were robbery suspects and tried to stop them. Instead of complying, Brown shoved Wilson back into his vehicle, punched him (and maybe broke his eye socket), then ran away after Wilson fired a shot.

    the eye socket story has been thoroughly debunked. The author says thats what he THINKS happened. Where is getting his info from? debunked right wing outrage machines? Hasn’t he read the stories that totally shredded this stories credibility? The fact that he references it tells me doesn’t know and doesn’t care. He would argue that he’s being open minded. No, he’s being closed minded.

    as to the rest of his article, he says things like “sometimes tazers and batons and so forth don’t work” soooo…. whats your point? we shouldn’t use them? How do other countries go without killnig a single suspect all year and we can’t go a day without it happen somewhere in America? He says cops are trained to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Funny, I thought they were trained to take steps to take nonlethal steps to neutralize an enemy before going for lethal solutions. Either he wasn’t trained properly or he’s not being honest about his training. At least I hope so. because Im not comfortable living in a society where the cops first thought is “shoot to kill” to any and all threats.

    • The only debunking of the eye socket story I’m aware of is that Don Lemon cited an unnamed source who said Wilson didn’t have a broken eye socket. All I know is, one unnamed source says he does, the other says he doesn’t. Where is the evidence that it was fabricated, rather than simply being unconfirmed?

      Regarding your point on Tasers and batons: no, I didn’t say we shouldn’t use them. But the public should understand they’re not magical light sabers that always give us an option other than deadly force. They very often fail, and in lethal force encounters we have seconds to decide what weapon to employ; if I truly believe I’m about to be beaten to death, and I know spray, Tasers and batons often fail, I will likely go to my gun instead.

      As far as other countries, I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that our first thought isn’t “shoot to kill”, and no police department had a “shoot to kill” policy.

  2. I’ve read post after post after response after response, and you people are so freaking stupid. Let me tell you what happened there, and I know because I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night…..

    And to Chris Hernandez… Thank you Brother.

  3. 5 john hargrove

    First that was well written and concise, you validated your points well. Whether you responded immediatley or waited, you are biased. I think you tried to weigh things fair as possible. Individual scenarios are debatable. I think vets should be allowed to walk on water and I want a cop when shit hits the fan. Making lethal force decisions is hard. Your damned if you do , damned if you don’t. The point that you don’t speak of is the fact that the statistics bear out that blacks are targeted and incarcerated more than any group. considering we are 20% of populace there must be an oversite with regards to white, asian,spanish et al… What you don’t speak of is the overwhelming numbers of unarmed young blacks that wind up deadf for minor offenses. While a 6’4” 290lbs man definitley is a considerable threat. Not all of these killings are done to behemoths. The small framed man in calif. Amadou Diallo and the list can go on. Being a law officer you have to weigh justice and be honest with yourself at the end of the day. The facts are Blacks are approaced/arrested with a far more violent outcome. The point that nullifies your piece is that you undeniably overlook the longstanding history and lack of restraint when a black is involved. That why urban blacks grow up distrusting cops and white kids think they are their friends. On your behalf, the use of intermediary actions may be riskie but are necessary. Story recently of 87 year old woman 90lbs approached officer and suposedly had a knife. She was thrown down and her head was cracked open (90lbs) no tazer no mace.. Emmy winning producer harrased and accused of crime only because he was the only black there . Man was sitting in public mall, supposedly waiting to p/up kids. spoke clearly and politley was walking away because he was asaked to move and a b/up officer (after3 to 4 minutes of talking with the first officer) stepped in and violently arrested the man for no reason. Then there is the man a year ago in Ferguson who after being beat by officers, perhaps a crime was commited to be fair to the officers, but then they sued him for getting blood on their uniformes. WE ARE TIRED OF BEING MISTREATED AND KILLED. You speak of the justification of force, but no justrification about rogue cops who take out their frustrations on the public. The racist attitude that invariably developes when an all white force goes against any minority group. You may treat people correctly but many officers do not. they know their word will be taken over someone who was arrested and asd history has proven 9 times out of ten if they kill they will be exonerated. Keep it real and we could get somewhere.

    • John,

      I hear you, but my point wasn’t to address everything wrong with the criminal justice system or police. I was writing about this specific incident, and deconstructing the most commonly used reasons to proclaim the shooting could not have been justified. I’ve never claimed all cops are perfect; in fact, in the comments I’ve stated I’ve worked with three cops who wound up being charged with rape while on duty, and two of them went to prison because they were guilty. I also haven’t defended every police shooting. There are some that were flat-out wrong.

      If you want me to “keep it real”, I’d ask you to do the same thing. I’ve tried to stay away from the racial aspect of this, but if we’re going to talk about mistreatment of blacks by police, shouldn’t we also talk about black mistreatment of other blacks? Young black males are being murdered at an astronomical rate, and 90% of those murders are by other blacks. Chicago doesn’t have an insane murder rate because white cops are going into black neighborhoods and killing people, it’s because the residents of those neighborhoods are killing each other. You say you’re “tired of being mistreated and killed”, so where is the outrage over the endless flow of young black males murdered by other blacks? That accounts for the vast majority of the killings. I’ve seen it with my own eyes as a cop.

    • 7 tthompson

      John, without a doubt you bring up some good and equally valid points, but I would like to comment on a few of your points. First,if you think that the blacks (African Americans,so I don’t get yelled at for not being politically correct) are only 20% of the populace,you might need to go back and check your numbers.

      Second, I will agree with you that there does seem to be a larger number of the blacks going to jail, however, that might be in part because our black communities are committing a larger part of the crimes, and that is not a racially motivated comment, but one made based on the media output. Not sure where you are from, but in the St. Louis area,that is all you hear about from the media, blacks killing blacks every single day in drive by shootings, outside of businesses, etc. Now, I feel pretty confident that if the media would report the news equally we would see that more crimes are being committed by whites and other groups as well, but that doesn’t inflame the public so it is not heard as much. Also, I agree that there is too much over reaction by law enforcement on what seems to be very minor issues, but I think it would be more fair and correct if we didn’t group all law enforcement or even a big number of them into that group, but instead realize and admit that these actions are committed by a very few number of officers and are usually blown way out of proportion by the media who generally will only report the incidents that involve the black community.

      Third, in defense of law enforcement, (and I can give you a website to follow if interested) there are law enforcement officers being killed nearly every day by individuals, some for very minor issues, so it isn’t difficult to understand how some officers have short fuses. Those that don’t have short fuses are all too often the ones that are being killed. That does not give them the right to mistreat citizens and is not offered as an excuse, but is just an observation.

      Fourth, as to your comments relating to events that have happened in the past, I’m sure we could all pull stories that we can use to make our point either way, as with your story of the 87 year old, 90 lb women with a knife thrown down and her head was cracked open and no other devices used. If you know anything about knives, they are very dangerous, with this situation if I use a tazer, chances are she has a heart attack and dies and the media only reports “Officer tazers 87 year old grandmother to death”. If I use pepper spray, then it’s reported “Officer blinds 87 year old grandmother with pepper spray”, Law Enforcement will never win in any situation because we won’t let them, they are always the aggressor. Personally, if I was a cop and you came at me with a knife with the intent to inflict great bodily harm or death on me, you would be lucky I didn’t shoot you.

      • 8 shawn

        Blacks are about 14 to 16% of the total population of United States.

  4. Here’s how I see it: we have courts and juries to decide the facts as presented and then render judgement on if there was wrong doing on the part of Mr. Brown or Mr. Wilson. As a citizen, I’m reserving judgement on the case until such evidence is publicly known. I’m also fully aware that police work is extremely difficult and split second decisions have to be made.

    However, all the arguments I see is that you have one camp giving evidence that Mr. Brown was innocent of any actions that lead to the shooting and others, like the author of this piece, giving ideas and conjecture on the actions of Mr. Wilson.

    But, the problem in Ferguson is in fact not that a police officer killed someone; this happens often around the nation. Sometimes with acceptable reasons, sometimes as overreactions. No, the problem is that the people of Ferguson, for one reason or another, have lost faith in the authority of the police.

    The police can only effectively do their jobs when the people they are serving and protecting trust in their intentions. Then, when incidents like this occur, trust can be put into the justice system to work out the details. Ferguson PD has a history of being a poorly run department and was even disbanded several years ago to be rebuilt. It’s hard to imagine any community who believes so little in the police to trust anything they do and to see corruption or wrong doing even when the PD’s best intentions are at play.

    What the people of Ferguson truly need to rebuild their community and state of mind is a strong local government, looking out for the people and working to get the community and the police working together again. When neither side trusts each other to the point of violence, it will never matter who did what in this situation.

    When people cry foul, it’s more often for a reason. Ferguson needs leadership and dialogue, not to be treated like a rebelling force.

    • thank you for posting this i think these people of need to wake up to reality and stop crying about cops be4ing racist. every time they do something wrong and police catch them they say it cause cops are racist. heres a thought maybe cops coming after them because they have commited a crime

  5. 11 Carmen

    I just don’t understand why COPS don’t LEARN or are not TAUGHT to shoot in another way instead of shoot to KILL…….A lot of the things people get so angry about is these people that are dying should not be killed for their actions…Punished yes most definitely but not killed!!! Can we not shoot in legs or arms or anywhere else to not just shoot to kill them? I understand
    that being a police officer is a very dangerous job and I am so thankful we have those brave men and women that choose it as a profession but a little bit of common since should go into play in certain situations!!!!!

    • Carmen,

      This has been addressed elsewhere in the comments. Shooting in the arms or legs is extremely difficult under stress and isn’t likely to disable a suspect.

    • 13 De Reck

      Sadly Carmen you have watched too many movies and TV. Limbs are too small to shoot especially as they move and they don’t necessarily eliminate the threat. The body however is a larger target and police are taught to shoot centre mass and are also taught to shoot until the threat is eliminated. When a police officer draws his gun and shoots it is never going to be pretty and most likely will end in death; not always though as many people have recovered from multiple gun shots even to the head. Also understand there may only be seconds to make a decision and that is a decision that the police officer has to live with; right or wrong it will effect him mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and possibly financially. You mentioned people that are dying should not be killed for their actions and that they should be punished not killed. The police do not punish people nor do they normally just go and kill people because of a crime. We are all responsible for our own actions and actions sometimes dictate the outcome. We choose that outcome. We can choose to comply or not and if we choose not to comply and use aggression or make ourselves a threat then we must realize that we may not like the end result. This whole incident is sad and blown out of proportion. People are prejudging based on poor media and racists like Al Sharpton who have their own agenda and really couldn’t care a less of what happened. This did not have to be about race. Nobody cared when the black police officer killed the white unarmed male shortly after this because it didn’t have the backers like this incident. Nobody cared about the multiple black males being killed by other black males. Nope, this is about personally agendas and what sells. If the officer did commit murder then he should be charged and be punished. If the officer is found not guilty and the actions of Brown are found criminal and the shooting justified then this needs to be accepted … but it won’t and the media and Sharpton will spin this to their benefit creating a greater rift. I will wait to make any judgement based on fact no heresay or emotion. I think the officer and Brown both need to be given the same respect and let justice prevail.

  6. 14 Chris

    America is messed up – thank God we don’t have 1% of the guns you have here in Europe.

    • 15 asdf

      you wont be saying that when isis rolls through your neighborhood

    • 16 Steve Britt

      Aren’t the police trained on the capabilities of their PR-24 baton anymore? A trained officer with this baton is more than a match for any attack by any unarmed criminal. I was a good friend of an officer that traveled all over Nebraska training departments in its use. He proved only an otherwise unarmed attacker trained to use nanchuks was a serious threat. A person running at someone swinging a PR-24 just increases its effectiveness.

      • 17 De Reck

        The PR-24 is a little outdated, most are using ASP Batons now. In either case this is not a tool that would be used when you feel your life threatened. This means you have to be in close quarters and I personally during training have had it come out of my hand. I have actually known of an officer that while in use it came out of his hand and the criminal used it on him. Brown was a big guy and if he bum rushed you the baton would be of little use. And can be less useful against somebody that understands close quarter combat such as martial arts. Having trained years in this including disarming of weapons, this is definitely not a tool I would use. This type of weapon is used for intimidation but there are times that this point has come and gone and therefore is an extremely poor choice. And this tool can still kill.

  7. 18 Robert T. Tegland

    Understand, I believe this officer was right in his decision I believe there is one less thug on the street thanks to his actions that day, but people have begun to have a bios against the police force due to the fact that allot of the police are getting somewhat brutal and power hungry in their swat like tactics tazing old people who pose no threat, shooting dogs in cages or chained up and beating the shit out of people who give them lip, the “law” has become somewhat lawless in these later days.

    • 19 Bill

      Robert, I think you’re wrong. There may be a few cops that over react, and they do get dealt with. But the news ONLY shows that bad cops, and of course stories with no solid facts, painting a picture of the cops as bad. Cops really are there to protect, and GENERALLY don’t hassle you without a reason. ‘I was pulled over cause I was black!’ no, you were pulled over because you had no plates, or they weren’t your plates, or weren’t registered, or someone reported a car like yours just robbed them, or you’re openly smoking your joint when the police drove by. Maybe your radio was too loud. Maybe a talk light was out. YOU DON’T KNOW, don’t jump to conclusions. The brutality you hear about is generally from friends of the person beaten, or from the person beaten, and they’re not telling you all the facts.

      Ferguson was SO NOT WRONG for bringing in all that force. BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE LOOTING VANDALIZING, AND ATTACKING PEOPLE. Even with the force they brought it, they still didn’t really have control. If you’re not generally bad, people won’t start off expecting bad things to happen.

      even white protests get swat teams called out on them. You may remember here in Ferguson, the first night the cops didn’t come till the violence and looting and vandalism started. The next night it happened again, so they brought in more, still couldn’t control them. So the next night they brought in more. People calmed down, and they decreased the police force (ok, it was probably more all the instigators had been arrested). The police know the area, and know what to expect.

      Again, shooting dogs, taxing people who ‘pose no threat’ you don’t know, you weren’t there.

      A lot of people are frightened by dogs, dogs are aggressive by nature. Dogs have tell tail signs of their intent. just because a dog is approaching you acting like a sweet playful dog doesn’t mean he’s not going to attack when he gets to you. (also, most dogs will come charging at you, barking, that doesn’t mean they’re going to attack, they just want to say hi! 🙂 ) So yeah, sorry to say some people will over react when a pit bull comes running at them, because they BELIEVE THE MEDIA ‘all pit bulls are bad’, but again, did you know the dog? had you seen how gentle it was? or are you going on what the dog’s owners and friends are saying about the dead dog… dead dogs sure don’t look vicious, do they? (I’ve never heard of a cop shooting a caged dog, or chained, but I could see the chained, cause a lot of chains are hard to see from a short distance, and dogs run fast, and if the chain is unusually long….)

      And yeah, there have been times when police over react, or just shoot someone because they’re pissed, or whatever. it’s not right, but how many civilians shoot people because they’re pissed or whatever? How many cops stop civilians from shooting people for no reason? There’s bad everyone. it happens. no one is safe from bad people regardless of where they live.

      And, the best way to avoid getting shot, beat, or locked up by a cop. DON’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. IF THEY STOP YOU, BE POLITE AND FIND OUT THE REASON THEY STOPPED YOU (Don’t complain or jump to conclusions). ANSWER POLITELY AND RESPECTFULLY, and chances are (if you’ve really done nothing wrong) they’ll send you on your way.

      • 20 Lola Shanks

        Ferguson brought in that force BEFORE any looting. Nobody was attacking people. You have bad information.

        • 21 Bill

          Maybe they did, but that’s always the case with ‘protests’ The police always bring in massive amounts of police, swat, etc. look up other protests, see if there was anything different about this one (as far as police involvement/actions are concerned)

        • 22 EGirl

          Bullshit… they looted and burned down a convenience store on the FIRST night.

        • 23 lance

          it was after, I was there in St.Louis should have done it sooner.

        • 24 Krin

          No, you’re wrong. The looting and the burning of the quiktrip happened maybe one day after the death of Michael Brown, before anyone (including Media) really cared that much. You have bad information.

          • 25 dave Slavik

            Wrong, I live here, I was working near the area while it was going on. ON THE DAY MICHAEL BROWN WAS KILKED, the looting started and QT was burned to the ground. The riot gear came out after that.

        • 26 Marc

          No they didnt. I live in St Louis and the the riots started that night. It was not until the next day and few days after that full force riot protection was used.

  8. 27 mjmjr

    you said the truth,i agree,and nobody waits for an investigation to be over.they always using the race card.sad but they have no intelligence.

  9. 28 Gary Brown

    Well said! As a former LEO, and having seen the purported autopsy results of the wounds on Brown, it reminds me of a situation with a friend of mine, a Sgt. Working off-duty in a Sept store. During an attempted stolen credit card transaction, the suspect ran out with the Officer chasing him. Upon rounding a corner, the Officer was confronted with the suspect pointing a revolver at him…the Officers instinct kicked in, he drew and fired four times, hitting the suspect in the thigh, the side (grazed), the wrist, then the chin. That seems to be the same pattern of shots from Ferguson.
    This also occurred in ST. Louis Co.. In the 70’s.

  10. I greatly appreciate this perspective as it is definitely not one that is reflected in most media reports. Even though I have learned by now to sit back and let actual facts come out before I form my own opinion, it can be hard not to get caught up in the spin. Some of the points you make here address my own questions, and I thank you for that.

    I wonder, however, if you would concede that in some communities, poor relations between police and citizens have resulted from, at least in part, malicious and overzealous actions by the police? And that perhaps those poor relations can lead to the chaos that we see in Ferguson now when sparked by almost any event, including the shooting of a not-so-innocent person? I, for the life of me, cannot imagine how anguish and frustration translates into looting and violence, so I am not defending those actions. It is my believe that people loot because they want free stuff, and that is all. But not ALL of the protesters are lawless looters. SOME of them appear to have legitimate concerns. I would find it hard to believe that those people are suffering from some type of mass delusion.

    • Joyce,

      I definitely agree that serious rifts and distrust exist between police and many communities in America. My essay was limited in scope and intentionally didn’t address the larger issues, but I might write about them in a later piece. Thanks for commenting.

      • 37 Liz

        I really appreciate your article, as well. I teach social studies and have been thinking on how I will address this in class because it will come up. You mentioned bias, which is likely the approach I will take. I try to get kids to see that people select their facts to support the perspective they want to tell. The strongest arguments include the strong points of perspective that challenge their own. I really think you needed to end it with the fact that the reaction of people in Ferguson has to do with something very real. I was waiting for a “That being said, this doesn’t change these statistics that made it easy for some to assume the cop acted in a racist manner…” I was waiting for you to use facts to present a well rounded argument, not just a good argument for one side. We have a problem with racism in this country that does happen in the way that many people have assumed it happened that night. Those are facts as true as the ones you put down here. I don’t think you meant to do this but some people will use your good argument to keep the “bad black perp” identity alive without acknowledging issues between class/racial groups and law enforcement that keep festering. It’s very important to support your colleague in a time when it’s not popular to do so. Imagine how much support you can give by helping create real and productive conversation around the core problem. Now that could also save lives.

    • 39 Xmystic

      Poor relations between police and citizens probably do result from overzealous actions by the police. But those poor relations are not specifically color related. I’m sure the police that behave this way act that way toward ANYONE they don’t like. It’s more an example of power corrupting and going to their heads. The list of dislikes may include blacks in general, disrespectful behavior, thug mentality, sagged pants, etc, etc…

      Looters are those that take advantage of the situation for personal selfish reasons. Those that have a legitimate concern would most likely be those acting within the system and I suspect they would include all colors. I personally don’t think a looter can ever take the moral high ground.

  11. 40 john hargrove

    In its entirety this is the complete point that Mr. Fernandez needs to refrain from speaking of the deep seated law enforcement perspective.Blacks cannot sit and cry constantly about all the wrongs. Depression is a syndrome where hope is lost and it becomes physical. A continual perspective from this view breeds apathy and a perpetuating cycle. When you live in a world with “white Privelidge” you don’t suspect that the frame of reference that you see the world means, when driving in a \white neighborhood after 10-pm it helps if you have a white male with you. A white female is just as much , if not more of a reason to be pulled over smply for driving while black. Mr. Fernandez can’t relate to not being able to get a taxi late at night because the driver doesn’t want to go to a suspected part of town that a black might live in. If Mr. Hernandez encounters a problem like being pulled over he simply identifies himself as Marine/police.. please get this comprehensive video.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkO7IixYt_A

    • 41 dave

      The dude’s last name is “Hernandez” I’m sure he’s had his fair share.

  12. 42 john hargrove
  13. 43 Zanne

    Interesting. I haven’t really actually paid much attention to what is going on in Ferguson. It all seems so crazy. Its hard to know what is going on when people have their own political and social agendas. Growing up in a law enforcement family, I was aware of the discrepancies between what the media said and what actually happened. Of course, unless someone was there as a witness, we may never really know exactly what went down. Keep in mind that even eyewitnesses can have flawed perspectives because people’s minds can twist things to make them remember things differently. So that woman who swore it was the ex-wife may have actually believed it was the ex-wife.

    Moving along, I’m curious as to the take on the death of Victor White in New Iberia, LA. He allegedly shot himself in the chest while his hands were cuffed behind his back. Granted it was slightly to the side and the press makes it sound like it was completely in the front… but its still hard to imagine how someone could maneuver to do that. But, the bigger question is, IF he did indeed manage to shoot himself like that, why didn’t the cops find the gun on him beforehand? They found cigars, a small bag of weed, and supposedly some cocain. And how did he get the marks on his face? (falling against something after being shot?)

    Any way you spin it, the cops did mess up on this one. The question is how much.

    I’m curious for a take on it.

    • I just read that article, and there’s not enough information there for me to say one way or the other. I do know that some people, depending on body size, build and strength, can move their hands around quite a bit while handcuffed. I’m aware of one case in Texas where a handcuffed robbery suspect managed to draw a pistol and shoot an officer in the head from the back seat of a patrol car, although I think that robber got his hands in front. I know of another case where a juvenile female managed to hide a pistol until she got to the station, then shot at an officer while her hands were cuffed behind her. I’ve had plenty of suspects twist around and get their hands in front of them, and I’ve had one suspect get out of a leg restraint.

      And officers miss weapons on a fairly regular basis. So it’s not hard to believe officers missed a gun, especially a small .25, and it’s not hard to believe White was able to move the gun around while cuffed if he was a thinly built guy (in my experience, big guys aren’t able to move their arms or hands around while cuffed). So I’d need to know exactly where the gunshot was. What does “right chest” mean? Is that right front, or the right side of his torso? I’d guess it’s the right side of his torso, but I’d need to see the report.

      On the question of how police could have missed the gun, I can tell you how they missed the gun in the case I mentioned where the officer was shot in the back of the head: the officer who died caught the robbery suspect. The suspect wasn’t reported to be armed. The officer searched the suspect and found an item reported to be stolen from the victim. When the officer found that item, he realized he in fact had detained the right guy… and he stopped searching. That was a case of a human being making a mistake. The same thing could have happened in the White case, or White could have been murdered by police. I need more information to say for certain.

      Interesting and tragic case, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  14. 45 smd

    Facts are whomever wrote this article is completely bias one for being a cop and two for only showing stats involving a officer getting badly beaten in which there was 3 in the past what 22 years?. Me being a white american citizen growing up in an all white town with no trouble with the law am not bias. Even you yourself distorted this story by saying “Brown’s friend insists he and Brown were innocently minding their own business until an evil racist police officer” where in any article does it say Browns friend called the police officer an “evil racist police officer”? Also what is the point of bringing up many other articles from 1992, 2009, 2014 and saying “Batons, pepper spray and Tasers all have significant failure rates.” ? Either way whether they work or not shouldn’t they still be used before a gun unless the suspect has a deadly weapon? Kind of a cowardly move by the officer considering the autopsy suggest that brown was not shot at close range “According to Baden’s autopsy, the bullets that struck Brown were not fired from close range, as indicated by the absence of gunpowder residue on his body.”. Also why would you say “There is no reason to disbelieve this version of events” then totally contradict yourself hmm be a little more bias. Listen I’m no professional but i have my own opinions I for one do believe that there is a large number of police officers who believe they are above the law and take advantage of quite a few things, then their are actual good cops who do whats right. For instance police can “fix” tickets for friends/family and also choose who to give warnings to and whom not to. Most importantly police do take advantage of weapons they carry i understand you never know what is around the corner but you signed up for the job but don’t go to a fist fight with a gun. Guns are for coward who can’t hold their own for a cop it should be LAST resort not first. If you can’t hold you own stay in your car, call for backup or go take boxing lessons don’t rely on a deadly weapon. As for your article my opinion is your a very crooked cop and don’t say “Either way, I won’t let emotions drive my decision. Maybe a few others on TV and online, and a whole bunch of people in Ferguson, should try to keep their emotions in check as well.” because they already have.

    • I’m sorry, at what point did I claim to be unbiased? EVERYBODY is biased. I’m just not letting my bias get out of control. I have an opinion, but I know it could be wrong.

      • 47 anne hayes

        I appreciate your well documented article . . . its step by step logic.
        I do not understand how the media can report comments, opinions, that
        are not documented. Some people believe everything they hear on
        TV. Stupid people reporting to stupider people.

    • Please, feel free to go and work a shift as an officer of the law. Hell, do a citizen ride along on a Friday night in July and then come back and tell us if you have the same opinion.

      A 911 dispatcher, who works BOTH sides of every call and honors the thin blue line.

    • 49 Judi Dunham

      Well said SMD! I, like you, am a white American. I also am a senior female. Some of the ideas stated in this article are confusing. When were Michael and his friend convicted of robbery? I thought you had to be tried and found guilty. I don’t think anyone takes the media that seriously anymore. But wasn’t he shot in daylight hours in his own community? The writer hints there is something wrong with reporters saying this. Has the autopsy been released? Why would this author have access to it? Although his example of other cases are interesting, they have NOTHING to do with this incident. The problem is the way this whole thing has been handled. Why didn’t the police release the info about the officer right away? It makes people suspicious. In time more facts will by e made public. If the officer had a broken eye socket, why not just say so when it happened. It might have caused people to have different views. My heart goes out to the family of Michael. Can you imagine your son lying in the street dead for hours with people watching like it was a circus? As a mother you would want to hold him. Couldn’t they at least let her go be near him? Why did law enforcement let it become such a spectacle? They could have shut down the streets and make the spectators leave the area. This added to the anger. If I lived in that city, I would be enraged with what was happening to my community. On TV it showed live footage of officers threatening and cussing people days after the incident. I realize some of the officers were from other towns. There are officers who are ex!cellent and others who aren’t like any profession. But remember they are to act as PROFESSIONALS! The video show WASN’T of the shooting. It was AFTER the shooting. No matter what the outcome, I think a lot of anger could have been prevented if thing were handled differently.

      • 50 Danielle

        Everyone knows about the autopsy because all three medical examiners have released statements about them. The police didn’t release his name until they knew they could protect him and his FAMILY form the violent looters. Do you think the violent people in that crowd wouldn’t have hurt him or his family during those first violent nights? People were shot! As for you blaming law enforcement for the spectacle, why would they want to shine a spotlight on an officer shooting? It’s ludicrous to me that you think they would.

        Why not blame the people of the town and the media because they were the ones that made the town a spectacle. If they didn’t want a spectacle they would have told Al Sharpton to take a hike and waited until all evidence was in before protesting and/or looting.

        The author was clearly just giving his opinion based on available facts and his experience while you just ask question after question and make statements that absolutely show your bias against police and lack of knowledge about law enforcement. As for the officers cussing…they are human beings. Hard to believe I know but they are. They are prone to being angry at snotty liberal white douches goading them, as in one video, and people throwing rocks, urine and Molotov cocktails at them. Was what they did right? No. But be honest and remember that no all the protesters were quiet little angels deary.

        I do have some compassion for those that were peacefully protesting and attempting to stop the violent people in their midst. They are acting emotionally to something that hits their hearts and I understand that. I just wish they would wait for the complete investigation before judging the officer for being an officer as they would like to not be judged for the color of their skin as there is NO evidence of racism was a reason for the shooting. Being white does not equal being a racist killer.

      • Judi
        You really need to educate yourself more on the issues you’ve tried to ignorantly address here.
        Big one “couldn’t they just let her go be near him?” No! It’s a police investigation. As a mother it would kill me to not be able to go to my child and I would lose it. As the person watching and also knowing the basics of an investigation i know you can’t. I would think as an elder you would know more about life then what you’ve written out here.

    • 52 RandyGC

      “Batons, pepper spray and Tasers …Either way whether they work or not shouldn’t they still be used before a gun unless the suspect has a deadly weapon?”

      I suggest you re-read Chris’s comments, particularly the part about “Whatever I choose, I know it’ll likely be the only weapon I can employ before the suspect is on me.”. Situations like this develop and end in seconds with not a lot of time for assessment and reaction.

      Did the officer make the correct choice (gun vs baton vs pepper spray)? We won’t know until we find out if the shooting was justified (i.e. the officer perceived he was in immediate and imminent danger to his life/well being).

      As far as the “unless the suspect has a deadly weapon” statement, there are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people. And dangerous people are dangerous without any kind of tool (gun/knife/club) in their hands. Again as Chris noted in the article.

      ” Guns are for coward who can’t hold their own”. I (obviously) disagree, and while I don’t want to be overly argumentative, I’ve only heard that kind of statement from people who are overly impressed with their physical prowess/martial arts skills and have never actually faced a life threatening situation in the real world. Perhaps this does not describe you, but it sounds that way to me.

      As a gun owner and regular CCW carrier, I will call 911 at the first safe opportunity. But in this situation I consider the Police like Artillery and Air Support: I’m going to scream loud and often to get it, but I’m not going to sit passively and let my position be overrun waiting for it to show up.

      • 53 Wayne

        Tell it to the families of the cops killed or gravely injured because they were caring enough to try the pepper spray or baton first instead of their pistol. If someone breaks into my house or means to harm me or my family I will not put down my gun and fight with them, And if they rush me I will empty the clip. If someone has enough adrenaline going to rush you when you have a gun on them one shot will not stop them. If it’s just some idiot who just thinks they can kick my ass that’s another story. They will find out the hard way I’ve been in fights before and can definitely hold my own in a fight.

        • Please be careful about the “being a cop is a super dangerous job” line. It isn’t true. It really isn’t in the top ten. My ironworkers on my construction sites are way more at danger than any police officer is, on average, and anymore, ironwork is actually pretty safe.

          Let’s tell the truth when we talk about this. Part of telling the truth is accepting that the narratives that we spin are often incorrect.

          Consider that injuries in this job, which isn’t even in the top ten most dangerous, are largely accounted for by auto accidents (makes sense, considering how much driving police do) and most of the accidents aren’t even “responding” to calls.

          That being said, anyone that doesn’t understand how Officer Wilson could have shot Brown dead with zero malice in his heart in this situation is either a liar or an idiot.

          High stress situations happen. Bad decisions get made, sometimes.

          No one commenting here knows whether the shooting was justified or not. No one. THe fact that Brown wasn’t armed is meaningless.

    • 55 Joe

      This author wrote this article pertaining to this shooting and this shooting alone. He was not referring to every power abusing cop or perk abusing cop. None of us, you or the author, know exactly what happened until the details of the investigation become more public. Now to address these issues of use of deadly force that you bring up! I am in the military, I’ve been trained on combatives and hand to hand combat. Now because of that are you saying that I should resort to my weapon as a 2nd option to eliminate a threat??? Apparently, you are under the assumption that someone can not be killed in a fist fight. If someone was to break into your home, unarmed, are you going to drop your gun and fight them first or grab your pepper spray? If the truth about the altercation at the officers vehicle is accurate about him being hit hard enough one of his eye sockets was broken then he had already demonstrated that he was a dangerous threat! Regardless of fail rates of non lethal means, if someone is charging at me, someone who I just got physically assaulted from, I’m going to eliminate that threat with the weapon I have the most confidence in that will neutralize it. Cops, military, and other first responders, we all sign up to protect and serve citizens. I agree that there are people who abuse the power that they are given and use it to their advantage, won’t debate that with you. Choosing to do one of these jobs doesn’t give anyone the right to unlawfully kill someone or break laws. It does, however, give us the right to defend ourselves to be able to come home to our families.

    • 56 Bigeasy

      SMS, you’re ignorant!! Are you serious with this response?

    • 57 res

      Wow. Where to start. I’ll just say the choice of weapon for, in this case, self defense was likely appropriate because a person can close the distance too quickly to allow the physical disparity to remain.

    • 58 Rootitooti fresh n fruitie

      Congrats on being a fuck in idiot. Keep your bullshit to yourself fool.

  15. 59 Matthew

    I understand what you are saying. What I have an issue with is the 30 feet Mike Brown covered while wearing flip~flops. You can see them on his feet in the store video, you can see them on his feet laying dead in the street, and they are listed in the Police report released by the Ferguson PD. I have never been able to run more than a step without losing them or falling. Not saying someone else couldn’t, but it’s very difficult. 30 feet in how many seconds? The police didn’t pick up his hat and put it on his head, so pretty sure they didn’t return lost flip flops. Yet his friend said he was running as well??. Another issue that you may be able to shed light on is the 911 logs that Anonymous released. Why was Ferguson silent about the shooting, even when questioned by other 911 operators? And why 6 hours in the street? Thank You for your service and your time Mr. Hernandez.

    • I see the flip-flop concern, but as you said, even his friend said he was running. I can’t answer the question about the 911 logs, and maybe an explanation for some of the radio silence is that they were dispatching by computer. The 6 hours in the street (I heard 4, but don’t know for certain) were apparently so the medical examiner could complete his investigation, but that sure seems like a long time.

    • 61 CSI Sacramento

      As a sworn Crime Scene Investigator for a large agency, I’ve processed many homicide and officer-involved shooting scenes. While it might seem callous to leave a body in the street for hours, it’s necessary in order to do a proper investigation. The scene has to be photographed and videotaped (usually before and after evidence has been marked), it has to be measured and sketched, and evidence has to be identified, marked, and collected. The position of the body has to be documented and measured in place so the investigation can continue after the scene has been released. A death investigation doesn’t end when the officers release the scene and go home. There are usually hundreds (if not thousands) of man-hours put into follow-up investigation by detectives, pathologist, crime lab employees, forensic experts, and the district attorney’s office, just to list a few examples. But we only have one chance to document the scene, and it’s imperative that we take our time and process it to the best of our ability. What we do at the scene is scrutinized by everybody afterward.

      I also know that for my agency, an officer-involved shooting (which includes any incident where an officer fires his weapon, whether the suspect is even injured or not) almost always takes longer than other homicide investigations. Homicide detectives have to respond, and representatives from the union, the district attorney’s office, internal affairs, legal affairs, and a range master all have to respond before we even begin to process the scene. And if you are also dealing with an unruly crowd, despite the crime scene tape that has been set up to keep people out, the delay is even longer. I can’t turn my back on the crowd and do my job if I have to worry about people crossing the tape and coming behind me, whether they are grieving family members trying to get to theirlloved one, or they are angry bystanders.

      All of these factors, and probably more that I’m forgetting, lead to the length of time it takes to complete the investigation at the scene. Leaving the deceased on the ground is not a sign of disrespect to them or to the family, it’s what is needed to do the job right.

      On a side note, I have something to add to your flop flop argument. If I’m in a confrontation with anybody where they pose a threat to me, I’m most likely not going to be paying attention to the type of shoes they’re wearing. I’m paying attention to their hands, their body language, and their direction of travel. You don’t have time to think to yourself that because he’s wearing flip flops, he’ll probably trip while running toward you and fall. And I wouldn’t want to trust my life to that assumption anyway.

      A big thank you to you, Mr. Hernandez, for your service, and for this article. In my opinion, it was well written, one of the best I’ve read so far on the topic, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Thank you sir, I appreciate your detailed explanation of crime scene investigations. That’s the kind of reality people need to know if they want to form a truly educated opinion about this (or any other) critical incident.

        Thank you for your service as well.

      • In this case maybe they wanted to wait until they got in enough troop to intimidate.
        Ferguson and St Louis county police b4 looting

  16. http://egbertowillies.com/2014/08/29/police-assault-christopher-lollie-black-man/

    First of all after reading your article I took the time to search for any information concerning racial disparity, and/or prejudice in this country, and let me just say there are plenty of sources out there to choose from. The link above happened to be very compelling (in my view) and typical of the sort of thing going on in this country that no one whats to talk about. You have made a very compelling statement in your article (in defense of the police) and let me say I agree with you in many ways, HOWEVER, as long as things like this (see video) continue to happen in this country there will be unease, mistrust and anger among the black community towards the police AND with good reason. The death of Michael Brown is only one of MANY incidences that occur in this country every single day. Is the police officer involved racist? I don’t know. Did he behave in an inappropriate manner?, can’t say, I wasn’t there. But to disregard this incident as just another “race card” story is unjust, unconscionable, and morally reprehensible (not saying you have done that here, just that there are plenty of people who do). The people of this country need to start looking at the causes of anger amongst the black community and understand that prejudice and discrimination are a real part of being a person of color, sadly from the day they are born to the day they die, and in many cases for no other reason than the color of their skin. There IS a race issue in this country whether you choose to admit it or not, it is going on in every police force in every city in every town, and it is not going to go away by burying our heads in the sand. Are there people of color who take advantage of this issue, of course, but certainly not all. Certainly not the man in this video, or the man recently strangled by NY City police. No excus for either of these incidences and many others. By all means, stand up for the police who will be unfairly judged by this incident, but do not forget about the millions of black people in this country who are judged unfairly every day.


    • Anne,

      You raise important points, but my essay was intentionally limited in scope. There undoubtedly are legitimate concerns about police abuses in minority communities, but I don’t know that the Ferguson incident was emblematic of those abuses. First we have to determine if the officer did in fact commit a crime; if he didn’t, then it isn’t emblematic of anything. And in any criminal investigation, the actions of the individuals involved are analyzed, not the actions of everyone they allegedly represent. Wilson deserves a fair investigation ( and trial, if it comes to that) just like Brown would have had for the robbery. Injecting race, injustice and police abuses into the discussion doesn’t make a fair investigation more likely.

    • 66 Judi Dunham


    • 67 Will

      Well said. Those are my thoughts exactly. Alot of people always question why blacks “play” the race card. Most White’s don’t understand that we don’t “play” it, we live it! Same pictures today in 2014 can be seen in the 1960s. There is no difference. Police brutality on the black community has always been there and I don’t see it going anywhere. So many unarmed black men are being killed for most of the time doing nothing besides being in the wrong place at the wrong time. …standing in front of a store, walking down the street, sitting in a car listening to music, hand cuffed in a police car, getting in a car accident and needing help. I can go on and on about things that has happened in 12 months but u wanna pin point incidents that’s happened over decades! Get real! Until “white” America has seen or gone thru a fraction of what blacks go thru every day there is no way ur minds can wrap around racism because u have never been on the other side of that coin to know what is and is not racism. U guys always say “let’s see what the evidence says”! “Let’s see how it all plays out!” It plays out the same way it usually does. You back each other up until it gets swept under the rug and facts are twisted or lost. This country is VERY racist and the sad part is most of u can’t even see it unless u live it.

      • 68 Lee Duncan

        The race card is constantly played when race was not an issue. Example: my previous employer (I am retired) was black. He claimed to be “African-American”, however, he and his parents (and most likely grandparents) were born in the US. Regardless, we were at the credit union where we are both members, there was a computer glitch on his transaction and he said that the teller did it because he was “a black man in America” – however, he failed to blame race when he was elected to the highest position in our Local Union. Hmmm, sounds like race is a convenience to be used whenever convenient to whine… That is only one example – there are numerous other examples that any “European-American” (I am Scottish-German) who has dealt with any of the privileged and protected races.

  17. 69 susan

    I encounter a cop that lied in court about my traffic ticket. So, I know by experience that not all cops are innocent and truthful.
    And since more cop stop and shot to kill people of color what does that say about them.

  18. 73 Sue

    I think your article was very informative. There are good and bad in any field. Not all police officers are good but that doesn’t mean all are bad either. I also feel that a law officer cannot be called on the carpet because of a persons color. If you break the law it shouldn’t matter if you are purple. I have seen a lot of statistics over the last few weeks. In Ferguson about how many White people were arrested and how many Black people were arrested. What I would like to know is what is the ratio among the population, it is 90% African American, 10% white these are facts we are not given, which could in turn make a huge difference on these statistics. Also it has been brought to light about so few black people on the force in Ferguson, I would also be interested in knowing how many Black and White qualified applicant there were. You cannot hire among a certain race if they have not applied are do not meet the qualifications and standards. But in my opinion only I feel that if all of us would just treat each other with respect and common courtesy, life would be better for all concerned. This world has to few boundaries, it seems to me that we have forgotten about the meaning of accountability. I do not believe for anyone it should be I did it but I was hungry, or I was tired, or I am broke whatever reason so its ok. If you did something that is wrong then you should be accountable for your actions, no matter who you are, what color you are, or what your social standing is. I know it doesn’t always work that way. However, I do believe if we got back to our roots and enforced this a lot of bad behavior by all would be stopped.
    Thank you for your time and input and allowing me to speak about things that have been on my mind

  19. 75 rodgerian

    As i dont know all the facts, I cannot say who was wrong or right here.

    The one thing I cannot help but think needs to be added to the equation of I had to defend myself from the threat is, did you have to put your self in the situaution were your life was threatened? As there were two indviduals and one officer in this situation why not wait for backup. If the suspect size poses a threat to you, why not wait for backup? This is not a statement against this officer as there might be any easy answer to this, just my thought.

    • 76 RandyGC

      “why not wait for backup”

      Because when seconds count, backup is only minutes away?

      IF the shooting is found to have been justified, then the threat was (almost by definition) immediate and waiting for backup might have resulted in a dead officer.

      I suggest you Google “Tueller drill” for some perspective on how dangerous a person 30 feet away can be and how fast a situation can become deadly. (Yes I know, the drill usually posits a knife armed opponent, but I think Chris adequately addressed the point that some people can be fatally dangerous even when unarmed).

      Of course, if it turns out the shooting wasn’t justified, then backup or a lack thereof is a moot point.

    • Rodgerian,

      Good question. The best answer I can give is that we can’t always wait for backup, because if we do we may lose the suspect or he might get home (and arresting someone after they make it home almost always goes bad). It may have just been a judgment call on Wilson’s part, maybe he could have waited but chose not to.

  20. 78 Jerry

    This isn’t only a matter of race in this country, this is also a matter of authority. How many times has a cop been charged with murder while shooting and killing someone? For some reason they all seem to be justified the law is the law it should effect every human being in the same way. Some cops just seem to be power hungry and think they can just boss everyone around because they feel higher up then all ordinary citizens which is not fair. To all the good hearted cops out their god bless you their truly isn’t that many. It seems to be that every cop supports other cops when it comes to a shooting because they all think oh you don’t know what goes on in the real world blah blah blah. Actually us ordinary citizens arn’t stupid we have a good idea just because we don’t handle all the situations we see then.

    Some examples

    A cop threatens to shoot this kid


    Cops do shoot and kill this kid why not use a taser?


    A cop threatens to shoot journalist in ferguson missouri


    A cop abuses his atthority pulling someone over


    Truck driver catches cop texting and speeding and cop says its ok for him to do it


    Police pull over mother and kids and draw their guns


    Anyways these types of things go on everyday, but it doesn’t matter because the police are always right.

    • Except that the police aren’t always right, and do get convicted. Granted, it doesn’t happen often (maybe not often enough) and the officers usually aren’t sentenced to much time. That’s for a variety of reasons, but probably the primary reason is that most people understand the difference between intent to murder and making a bad decision under stress.

    • And I should add, my essay wasn’t about everything wrong with society or police culture. It was about this specific shooting, with other incidents mentioned specifically to deconstruct the most commonly cited reasons for claiming this shooting must have been unjustified.

  21. Finally a voice of reason and experience.

  22. This is impressive…Finally. Thank you Chris Hernandez! I noticed in some of the comments people asking if he thinks there are cases of over zealous cops, ones that are overly aggressive, who abuse their uniform just by wearing it. I have no doubt he’d say yes. I can’t imagine anybody saying they don’t exist. There are bad apples in every basket, regardless of profession. Are they the majority? Of course not. Thank God. I am anxiously await the Grand Juries decision. I worry about what will happen WHEN it’s decided that Wilson did fear for his own safety, and didn’t abuse his authority. Will they claim it was a bias decision. They have the FBI, The State Dept. of the US. involved. along with a Grand Jury. Do they really suspect everyone is wrong? Will it only be considered fair and unbiased ONLY if the decision is what they want. That’s the mentality of a bully. A bully is always right, because he says he is. Just ask one.

    • Thanks Joanie, I appreciate that. You’re right, I know there are bad cops. I know that from bad personal experience. If I thought they were the majority, I’d quit being a cop.

      And I agree, if the officer is cleared the crap is going to hit the fan. Mob justice will result if the mob doesn’t get the result they want.

  23. 84 wwcd

    The basic problem is officers are given too much power and almost no liability and always the benefit of doubt. The outrage in Ferguson is over years of police brutality and not one incident. Chris what do think about all police officer wearing body cameras? I don’t trust humans because they are humans and prone to abusing any power given to them

    • I agree, power will almost always be abused and those in power must be closely monitored. That’s one of the reasons I’m such a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. And I think officers should use body cameras. This incident will probably lead to widespread use of body cameras.

  24. 86 Carolyn

    From the onset, I couldn’t understand where and why the immediate protesting response came from, especially the multitude of “protesters” from all over the map. Why oh why did the Democrat governor add fuel to the fire in his statements about prosecuting the police officer before knowing the facts in the case. The answer came to me today while reading the Sunday paper. . . mid term elections. At this point in time where polls are showing that the Republicans will take over the Senate in addition to holding the House, what can be done to get out the Black vote? Enter the out of control situation that was orchestrated in Ferguson.

    • Carolyn,

      I understood the initial protest. Most people don’t know what violence really is, and they honestly believe an unarmed person can’t possibly be a threat. Plus there’s a perception that police in Ferguson and elsewhere are racist. Whether I agree with that or not, I don’t have a problem with people peacefully protesting about it. But as the protests continued, opportunists started looting, “activists” who just happen to make money by stirring racial passions show up, and then loons like the communist Travis Morales show up for no apparent reason. I guess they’re all opportunists, not just the looters.

  25. 88 scott baca

    If it was all a race thing then why didn’t he shoot both black kids? Nobody has brought up that point as far as I know. Chris I just found your site a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook. Very informative and well written. That you for your service.

  26. 90 Mike

    I really enjoyed reading your well thought and informative opinion about the events that have transpired in Ferguson, Mo. I am also waiting for all the information and evidence to be evaluated and the grand jury to rule whether or not the case will go to court. If this officer did wrong and deliberately killed this young man with malice then he deserves to be punished but if the evidence shows that he was protecting himself and had ample reason to believe this young man was going to harm him then he was within his rights to protect himself. I feel this way for any person, black or white, who would find themselves in a situation like this and am frankly sick and disgusted with yet one more situation being made about race in this nation. People getting worked up by these race baiters and then acting out by vandalizing, mugging, and shooting innocent people is ridiculous. They are so busy calling others racist that they cannot even see that THEY are the ones with the race problem.

  27. After a posting on a liberal site I was shocked to see so many respondents believe the officer does not deserve a trial, or even want to wait for the facts of an investigation. They think he needs to go to jail right now. I asked if would beheading him on a video would satisfy them. (crickets). The real travesty is due process, a Constitutional right, has been completely disregarded. Although attitude is not illegal, judging from the actions on the convenience store tape, the testimony of the witnesses of a hands up surrender seems
    unlikely. Also when there is a situation of destruction and rioting why do so called leaders like Jackson and Sharpton feel it is necessary to foment violence in this situation. They should have been arrested for inciting a riot. Good article Mr Hernandez.

    • Thanks Becky. I’ve also seen video clips of protesters saying they want Wilson to go to prison without a trial. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply to us cops, I guess.

  28. 94 rightbill
  29. One of the best articles I have read on this topic. No one knows what happen except the people who where there and involved ,we where not there. However we have some evidence to what happen, It is clear that evidence so far does not support what some have said the so called witnesses. However no evidence has shown that the police officer lied, what little we know about his statement. I believe in letting the investigation to finish before any judgement , Really bothers me that they have already started a grand jury before they have finished the investigation. During an investigation sometimes evidence can and will disprove what some believed some evidence pointed to in the beginning or witness statement paired with evidence sometimes points in one direction after time it comes out that someone lie or the evidence was not what it was, and proven false later while they check on the evidence and if it is what they thought it was. SO having a grand jury before the facts of the case can be determinate is crazy . I believe that the lies of the media and pressure from groups who have no ideal what happen is taken hold and pushing justices to where she is not blind.If people are told one thing then later told oh wait a minute that evidence has been proving wrong so you have to forget about that, There is an old saying you can not UN-ring a bell once you have rang that bell. This is why Justice has to be blind and in parcel. This has become a witch hunt , The media has help push the agendas of many who don’t want the truth they only want to push an agenda. So now so many will only be happy only if a guilty verdict on the cop, This is wrong. Truth is what we should seek , No matter how ugly truth is the only thing is what matters. Truth can not come forward where agendas are being pushed by our own elected officials, By people who have already made up there mind to to make others happy. This is where mob rules have taken over a legit investigation. No matter the outcome some one will cry foul. Agendas baters have turn this into a circus

    • Thanks Billy, I appreciate that. I also think there’s a lot of pressure to turn this into a witch hunt, but I hope the investigation still turns out to be fair. If the investigation shows Wilson committed murder, I’ll support his prosecution. If not, he shouldn’t be charged, period. But since this is a racial issue now, fairness gets harder and harder to attain.

  30. What a shame. The only way we would have known what happened is if Wilson wore a camera. He didnt, so you can think whatever you like, it doesn’t make much of a difference. What’s worse is that your opinion can mislead people – like some of the people who have commented above, to speculate on what could have been. The bottom line is it reinforces this notion that its okay to use extreme violence against black youths. I wonder how come you rarely hear of Young white ‘robbers’ killed by cops? Does it mean that there are no young white males stealing? In Britain, where I live, there are many young white males who steal and at times even attack shop owners, but the police are not really allowed to shoot on them. And, sensibly, they don’t shoot unarmed people, or at least VERY rarely do shoot on unarmed people – whether they are black or white. There have been one or two incidents in over 20 years when they have shot some youths, but one incident was connected to antiterrorism, and in the second incident the cop responsible was prosecuted, fair and square after he shot on an unarmed black man.
    To me your post sounds like justifying wrong-doing? It very much sounds like something out of FOX news, an opinion Bill O’reilly would think up…..
    What a shame.
    Whatever happened that day, it can never be right for any person (whether white, black, latino or otherwise) to be killed for something such as a ‘robbery’ or shoplifting. If brown was that violent., why didnt he stab, maim ,or tie the shop owner to a pole? If he was that dangerous why didn’t Brown kill the shop owner? I don’t think you cops think of these things when you go about indiscriminately spraying bullets about do you? Surely a dangerous criminal you seem to describe must do at least one of these things?
    Your reasoning in your article is hollow mate. You just selected links and videos to suit your perspective. Yes, anyone can back up / justify anything mate. The evidence to justify stuff is always there. Even Hitler can be justified if we looked hard enough and were selective with our ‘evidence’. That doesn’t mean what he stood for, what he did, was right, or acceptable? Ofcourse it wasn’t!!!
    You may be a cop, but from what you’ve said, I doubt you are a good cop. It so much sounds like you would have been happier as a marine, a soldier tasked to shoot at Al Qaeda or the many insurgent groups across the middle east. Never mind the thought of friendly fire, I THINK your type would be more comfortable in such an environement. American black Society would definitely be much safer without your type roaming the streets. Again, my opinion.

    So, at the bottom of all this nonsense is a simple premise. That some white people, think it is okay to use extreme violence against unarmed, often innocent non-white people. Thats what is at the bottom of this.

    If Brown had been your son, and you came home one night, and found out the news onthe TV, I so much doub’t that with all your police experience, you’d find it in you to speculate what you’ve written in your abhorrent article. I’ll leave you with a few thoughts:-

    (1) If the officer had shot him in the legs, lived his video game or war fantasies and shot the six bullets below the waist maybe the boy wouldnt have died.
    (2)If you were a Parent, and you heard that your son had just survived a gun shooting by the police, and was in hospital in a stable condition. Do you know just how much that news would mean to you?
    (3)Would you not be willing to refund the shopkeeper whatever your boy took, even over and above the cost of the cigars?
    (4) Finally, after that attack, how likely is it that your boy would do such a thing again – after the physical pain, after all the stress it causes on the family?

    • Sir, I see one thing “young black males” Chris was not writing about what you call out. It’s a mere definition of who is going home. Our police are out there to PROTECT ALL- I am very sorry that you only see in black and white. I am a wife of a police officer and color is not mentioned in my house- its crime. Who is committing the crime? Not black and white. So when you say, the author was wrong in his facts, please note just that- these are facts.

      • What facts? Speculating that the killing of a young life was justified? You call that facts. Are you for real? Mention to me one single fact material to the issue? Finding selective links on the internet and presenting it as fact is ingenious to say the least. It’s selective. Any fool can do that. I can find info to the contrary of what this article seems to be saying, and present an opposing viewpoint. That doesn’t make my ‘evidence’ fact. The man is one of them. Of course he’ll write stuff backing them up… If Brown was White, or Latino I’d still write the same comment. It can never be right for unarmed lives to be killed out of police heavy handedness. We all know American history is littered with so many stupid decisions. To me, these unarmed black men shootings are just a remnant of some of the difficulties of American history. In addition, Police in America are -over-armed’. Too armed for their own good, its a bit like Israel. And having so many weapons is inevitably going to cause some nonsensical and uncontrollable if not idiotic behaviour sooner or later.

        Ask yourself the same questions I’ve asked him:

        If Brown had been your son, and you came home one night, and found out on the news, on the TV that he’d been killed, would you find it in you to speculate what this clown has just written in his abhorrent article?

        (1) If the officer had shot him in the legs, below the waist maybe the boy wouldnt have died. Meaning was it really necessary to shoot him as he did?
        (2)If you were a Parent, and you heard that your son had just survived a gun shooting by the police, and was in hospital in a stable condition. How much would that news mean to you?
        (3)Would you not be willing to refund the shopkeeper whatever your boy took, even over and above the cost of the cigars?
        (4) Finally, after that attack, how likely is it that your boy would do such a thing again – after the physical pain, after all the stress it causes on the family?

        Americans must stop denying things that are crystal clear.

        • Wow, so many points to address.

          “Mention to me one single fact material to the issue? Finding selective links on the internet and presenting it as fact is ingenious to say the least. It’s selective. Any fool can do that. I can find info to the contrary of what this article seems to be saying, and present an opposing viewpoint.”

          No, you can’t. I claimed unarmed people can be a lethal threat. I supported that claim by listing incidents where unarmed people beat other people to death. Please try to find evidence that proves it’s impossible for an unarmed person to kill someone.

          ” I wonder how come you rarely hear of Young white ‘robbers’ killed by cops? Does it mean that there are no young white males stealing?”

          Two days after the Ferguson shooting a black police officer killed an unarmed 20-year old white male in Utah.

          “Whatever happened that day, it can never be right for any person (whether white, black, latino or otherwise) to be killed for something such as a ‘robbery’ or shoplifting.”

          He wasn’t killed for committing robbery. He didn’t shoplift. If the officer’s version of events is true, he was killed because he attacked and tried to disarm a police officer, ran away, then charged back toward the officer and the officer believed his life was in danger. We police officers don’t kill anyone because of the crime they committed. For all the broad proclamations you’re making, this one comment shows you don’t know anything about law enforcement or lethal force encounters. Do you think we police are allowed to shoot someone on sight if they committed a “really bad” crime? I’ve arrested murderers who didn’t resist at all. No force was used against them. I’ve arrested people for simple theft who chose to fight. Force was used against them because they chose to fight, not because they committed theft. Our use of force is in response to the suspect’s resistance, not in response to the violation they committed.

          “If brown was that violent., why didnt he stab, maim ,or tie the shop owner to a pole? If he was that dangerous why didn’t Brown kill the shop owner?”

          Because people aren’t computer programs. They make choices. Ted Bundy was in fact a rapist and serial murderer, but he didn’t rape and murder every single woman he encountered.

          And I could ask you, if Darren Wilson was such a racist who killed Brown for being black, why didn’t he kill Brown’s friend?

          Oh, and “tie the shop owner to a pole”? Who the hell does that?

          “I don’t think you cops think of these things when you go about indiscriminately spraying bullets about do you?”

          I’ve never shot at anyone (as a cop). Wilson didn’t indiscriminately spray bullets either. He fired at least six and possibly ten or eleven rounds, and only hit the person he was shooting at. That’s not indiscriminate.

          “Surely a dangerous criminal you seem to describe must do at least one of these things?”

          No. Someone could be a boy scout/altar boy/ultra super nice boy all his life, and if he violently assaults a police officer and prepares to do it again, he could get shot. His previous actions aren’t what determines whether deadly force gets used against him, it’s his actions against the officer.

          “Your reasoning in your article is hollow mate. You just selected links and videos to suit your perspective. Yes, anyone can back up / justify anything mate.”

          No, it’s not hollow. I claimed an unarmed person can in fact kill someone. I proved it. I claimed bullets don’t always immediately kill or disable people. I proved it. I claimed intermediate weapons are sometimes ineffective. I proved it.

          ” The evidence to justify stuff is always there.”

          Yes, and I used evidence to prove my point. If you can prove that it’s impossible for an unarmed person to kill anyone, and that bullets always immediately kill or disable, and that intermediate weapons always work, post it. It should be easy, since “the evidence to justify stuff is always there.”

          “Even Hitler can be justified if we looked hard enough and were selective with our ‘evidence’. That doesn’t mean what he stood for, what he did, was right, or acceptable? Ofcourse it wasn’t!!!”

          First, thanks for invoking Godwin’s law. I was wondering how long it would be before someone did. Second, if you can find a way to justify an industrial-scale massacre of millions of innocent civilians, please do so. I don’t think it’s possible. But I’d like to see you try, since, you know, it’s so easy.

          “You may be a cop, but from what you’ve said, I doubt you are a good cop. It so much sounds like you would have been happier as a marine, a soldier tasked to shoot at Al Qaeda or the many insurgent groups across the middle east. Never mind the thought of friendly fire, I THINK your type would be more comfortable in such an environement.”

          I was fairly happy as a peacetime Marine, and was extremely happy as a combat soldier. I was also extremely happy as a street cop. I like to think I’ve been a good cop, but I’m sure some people, like you, think I’m not. Such is life.

          “American black Society would definitely be much safer without your type roaming the streets. Again, my opinion.”

          Yes, that must be true. The young black mother who was brutally beaten, raped and stabbed would have been much safer without me working for over a year to catch her rapist and put him in prison.

          “So, at the bottom of all this nonsense is a simple premise. That some white people, think it is okay to use extreme violence against unarmed, often innocent non-white people. Thats what is at the bottom of this.”

          To some people I’m considered non-white. Whatever color I am, I don’t think of deadly force law and policy in terms of race, I think of it in terms of reality. I’m sure you didn’t bother to read the stories I linked or watch the videos, but some of those criminals who beat or nearly beat officers to death were white.

          I’m sure this still somehow proves I’m racist.

          “If Brown had been your son, and you came home one night, and found out the news onthe TV, I so much doub’t that with all your police experience, you’d find it in you to speculate what you’ve written in your abhorrent article.”

          And if Officer Wilson had been your son, I’m sure you’d immediately assume he’s racist and couldn’t possibly have been justified in using deadly force. If you were Officer Jonathan Molina’s father (he’s the officer who was beaten to death by an unarmed 17-year old, in another story I linked that you didn’t bother to read) I’m sure you’d insist deadly force could never possibly be justified against an unarmed suspect. But anyway, it’s nice how you want to talk about facts and evidence but then try to turn this into a purely emotional issue.

          Oh, and the unarmed criminal who beat Officer Molina to death was my skin color. That must make me racist.

          “(1) If the officer had shot him in the legs, lived his video game or war fantasies and shot the six bullets below the waist maybe the boy wouldnt have died.”

          You have obviously only fired a pistol in a video game or war fantasy. Hitting a moving suspect in the legs isn’t quite so simple as people with no training or experience think it is. And leg shots can still be lethal, while simultaneously not immediately disabling the suspect. Look up some reality on the leg shots everyone thinks magically work without really hurting anyone.

          “(2)If you were a Parent, and you heard that your son had just survived a gun shooting by the police, and was in hospital in a stable condition. How much would that news mean to you?”

          A parent will not have a rational reaction to their child being injured. You’re once again trying to make this an emotional debate rather than a rational one. Parents can be counted on to believe their children are sweet innocent angels no matter what the evidence shows. Ted Bundy’s mother believed he was innocent until he started confessing to dozens of murders days before his execution. Asking me to imagine my child was shot by police is a cheap and transparent attempt to remove intelligent discourse from the debate.

          “(3)Would you not be willing to refund the shopkeeper whatever your boy took, even over and above the cost of the cigars?”

          Yes, but that has nothing at all to do with whether or not my son was guilty of robbery and assaulting an officer.

          “(4) Finally, after that attack, how likely is it that your boy would do such a thing again – after the physical pain, after all the stress it causes on the family?”

          Very likely, if he was a committed criminal. You have a rosy view of human behavior. I guess I’m cynical because I’ve dealt with criminals who had been shot numerous times in different incidents, criminals who literally brought their friends into their homes to steal from their parents, and criminals who suffered terribly in prison and went right back to crime after being released. Do some people learn, and decide not to continue with that kind of life? Definitely. Do others continue with a life of crime despite all the crap they put themselves and their loved ones through. Yes.

          “Americans must stop denying things that are crystal clear.”

          I’m amused that you know nothing about lethal force encounters, weapons or the realities of violence, didn’t even bother to examine the very clear evidence I presented, yet think this issue is so “crystal clear”.

          • http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/26/video-shows-police-shot-ohio-man-on-sight-as-he-leaned-on-toy-gun-in-walmart-attorney-says/ What happened here, who can say this wasn’t the case in Ferguson? You are presenting one side of the story and stating thatyou ‘think’ thats what happened. But some of your readers will take that as hard concrete facts. That thats what must have happened. Thats what I’m disputing, and thats why I take issue with your article. They are not facts. Its just speculation, and you should have clarified this point. Otherwise, it looks liek its designed to back your police officer friends for what couldnt possibly be the correct approach. If thats what you are trained to do then, your trainers are wrong. You can read that sentence again. Because otherwise your article sounds like its designed to justify the incorrect policing approach. To me, its normal, Americans have for long tried to justify wrong things. They tried justifying slavery, policies such as manifest destiny, they justify gun ownership – even though its a cause of hundreds (probably thousands) of deaths each year. I understand the way you think.

          • Oh, and I did watch the videos by the way. This is not a personal attack. But this kind of things will not change if the approach remains the same, and its only a matter of time before someone you know, or one of my many relatives (or of someone I know), or their children, who lives in the US, finds themselves at the wrong end of a copper’s gun. There must be a different way that will preserve life. And the current approach is not it.

          • 103 De Reck

            Thank god you made this reply Chris, I was going to do the same thing. Sang N. has no idea of what happens in reality. Shoot people in the legs or below the waist; are you kidding? Wouldn’t have die? Large arteries are in the legs that he easily could have bleed out not to mention below the waist.

            Knowing my child got shot by police? If my child had never been in trouble with the law or known to hang with gang members; I most certainly would be overly concerned. Even if my child had been involved in criminal activity such as Brown I would still be concerned but in the back of my head I’d be wondering if this had something to do with a crime or his stupid gang friends.

            As for refunding the shopkeeper? Sang N., he ROBBED the shop he did not shoplift. What in your world do you think you can just refund the shopkeeper for that? Brown was a thug and used physical violence against the shop keeper and stole the cigars; that is called robbery. You don’t simply pay for the cigars to get off the hook, you are arrested, charged and then serve time.

            And then your final comment about how likely would your boy do it again; are you kidding me again? Do you think Brown cared about how his actions affected his family? Have you never heard of career criminals? Repeat offenders? If you haven’t then simply look at Brown as he is the definition of such a person.

            WE DON’T KNOW ALL THE FACTS YET. The author of this post is showing other information that may dispute some information provided by the media. Much of the information that he provided is based on fact such as just because you are unarmed does not mean you are not a lethal threat. That not all tools that the police officer has at his disposal work; even his gun. Until all the facts are known people need to stop their lynch mob mentality of the officer involved. Let the facts unfold in a court of law and let justice prevail. If the officer is guilty then he should pay for this. If the officer is found not guilty this needs to be accepted. This does not have anything to do with race. It has come to this point only due to the media and self service bigots like Sharpton and Jackson.

          • Sang,

            I’m deconstructing the most commonly-used points supporting the claim that this shooting must have been unjustified. People, like you, have seized on the fact that Wilson was unarmed, or that the officer didn’t use intermediate weapons, or that witnesses claim Brown did nothing wrong so he must have been innocent. I attacked those arguments and disproved them. In the comments several people, like you, claim Wilson should have shot Brown in the leg. I’ve shown what that’s an ineffective tactic. I did not proclaim Wilson to be innocent, because I don’t know for certain. I’m waiting for more evidence before reaching a conclusion. I was very clear about that. Apparently you missed it.

            As far as the case you linked to, I don’t know what happened there. Every case I linked to was directly related to claims made against Wilson’s use of force. How is this case related to this incident?

            Regarding your comments about America justifying evil, you’ve got to be kidding. What does manifest destiny have to do with this? And do you believe America is the only nation that aggressively expanded it’s territory? You used the word “mate” earlier, maybe you’re from the UK. I guess you never heard the phrase, “The sun never sets on the British Empire”? Have you ever heard of the many empires that rose and fell throughout history? Or is the United States the only nation that ever had an empire?

            Justifying slavery. Sure. Some Americans did justify slavery, just like some Englishmen did, and some Dutch, and some Brazilians, and some Africans (lotsa Africans), and Pacific islanders, and Arabs, and pretty much every culture that ever existed. America fought a war against itself to stop slavery, which ended right around 150 years ago. But sure, bring that up in this debate. I’m sure it’s relevant.

            And as far as justifying ownership of guns, I sure as hell do. This nation was built on the premise of free men defending themselves from tyranny. That’s why we have a 2nd Amendment.

            On your last note, about someone I know ending up on the wrong end of a copper’s gun: not likely. I’ve lived here 43 years and don’t know anyone who’s been shot by a cop. I’ve never been afraid of cops, even though I’m an oppressed minority who every cop just wants to murder for no reason. None of my minority friends have been shot by cops, none of my minority relatives have been shot by cops. I have three sons and I don’t worry about them being killed by a cop.

    • 106 SDNJ

      You pose an interesting question – why do you rarely hear of a white teen being shot by police. In fact, there are are young white suspects shot or otherwise brought down by police. It’s not that it doens’t happened, it’s that the US media doesn’t fire up the cameras and broadcast it non-stop. It’s that activist like Al Shaprton and his ilk don’t flock to the scene and cry out for justice. Look up the story of Dillion Taylor in Utah – a young white male shot by police days after Brown was shot. Taylor came out of a convenience store and failed to respond to police when told to stop. Police had been responding to a call that someone had brandished or fired a weapon.

      What I find bothersome in your reply is you seem to assume if it’s reported anywhere but on O’Reilly, it must be so. OR if it’s not reported, then it clearly didn’t happen.

    • 107 Shilah

      are you really that stupid, or do you just play it on TV? Look, honey: the issue wasn’t “Mean Mr. Wilson murdered a poor young fellow over a few cigars”. No: the issue is, “the non-cop attacked the cop violently, and the cop was in fear for his life and was forced (FORCED) to defend himself.” How good a shot are YOU with one eye socket fractured, eh ? well?

  31. Seems like a reasonable and coherent article. Thanks for sharing.

  32. 110 Jul

    One comment the author of this article made which is incorrect. He mentioned that the police officer stopped them for walking on the streets then realised they were suspect in a robbery. The officers own department confirms that he Wilson had no knowledge of any offence committed by the teenagers, so right away this account should be irrelevant. This means the only reason for stopping these two young mean was the fact that they were walking in the street.

    • There have been conflicting reports on whether the officer knew they were suspects or not, and about what the incident was reported to be. Some accounts say Wilson first ordered them out of the street, then realized they were suspects. Either way, as I wrote in my essay, Brown knew he had committed a crime, which may have affected his response to the officer.

  33. 112 WH

    Your thoughts? There was a pause in Officer Wilson’s gunfire that has been verified as accurate audio of the incident.

    • 113 WH

      Here’s a link showing the verification:

      The above link is older before that confirmation came in.

      • WH,

        The pause could be indicative of the training that almost all police officers receive. We generally are taught to fire and then assess if we need to continue firing. “Two shots and assess” used to be standard, until we realized officers were only firing two shots when they should have fired more. For example, an officer I knew was involved in a shooting when he was in field training. He and his trainer got out of their car on a traffic stop, the suspect jumped out and opened fire, the rookie officer drew, fired twice and reholstered just like he did in the academy… and then realized the suspect was still shooting at him.

        My guess is that, assuming the audio is of the shooting, that Wilson missed with the first several rounds, hit with a couple, assessed that Brown was still coming, and fired again until Brown fell. If Brown’s gunshot wound in the top of the head was at a downward angle I’d think he continued firing after Brown fell, but as far as I know that’s not the case.

        Thanks for the links, and I hope that answered your question.

  34. There is another point you didn’t hit upon. If (as Johnson says) Brown had his hand in the air, why was he hit four times in the right arm? Does anybody really think the cop was shooting at the upraised arms?

    • Huey,

      If I’m not mistaken, those four injuries to the arm were from one round that penetrated and exited twice, then hit Brown in the chest. I don’t think there’s any way even the most anti-cop critic could claim Wilson shot Brown’s upraised arm 4 times.

  35. 117 Maureen

    Thank you for a well thought out article. I have been a police officer for 25 years in Canada and I appreciate a logical response to a police shooting whose so purpose was to fan the flames of community reeling from this event. I realize there are a lot of differences between a large Canadian city and a suburb in Missouri, but I feel the media has contributed to the problem by doing such a lousy job of conveying information. I also believe the shooting has just brought certain issues to the fore front and it’s just the jumping off point.

    You did a great job of addressing the points that have been brought up, butbi wanted to mention that it has been proven, time and time again, that eye witness accounts are the weakest evidence. People believe they have seen things that simply did not happen. The mind can play tricks on you.

    I wish there was some way for the general public to understand that we aren’t a bunch of gun happy, racist yahoos with itchy trigger fingers. But when cops stick together, it’s further proof of another ‘conspiracy’.

    I know that officers in my city are highly scrutinized for any misconduct and it’s thoroughly investigated, yet the public doesn’t believe this is the case.

    And a serving member is currently facing murder charges for a shooting last summer. Modern life can be rather complicated with complex problems that do not have quick and easy solutions.

    I apologize if this point has been raised, I must admit I didnt read every comment. I look forward to reading other posts and your books. And stay safe.

  36. A Dose of Reality was very well written, thank you for all the facts and the reality statements. Most people don’t understand half of what you said, but those that do appreciate it. Young people these days believe in 1 thing what they want to do is okay, whoever gets hurt in the process right or wrong well that is part of the so called game.

    I have seen grown men beaten down and bloody by much younger people, yes even girls get involved and can inflict just as much damage as a guy. Where did the days go that you could go out and not be afraid of getting the crap beat out of you for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I agree solely with your statement that an unarmed man can be more dangerous than and armed man, at 6’4″ and 292 pounds Michael Brown was a lethal weapon, knowing that he had committed a serious crime and was motivated to get away, just my thought here I believe he would have done whatever necessary to get away, including killing a cop (any race) it just happened that this one was white. Why else would you try to take his gun, but to use it against him.

    The truth may never be truly know, but in this case everyone wants to believe he was a kind gentle young man, never doing any wrong and was really on his way to Sunday School.

    Thank You, for your educated information!!!

  37. 119 Bonita Ross

    Thank you for a dose of reality and common sense. Hopefully there are enough of us in the wide, wide world to stand up and defeat the downfall of humanity that so many seem to be pushing us toward.

  38. 120 msw

    When you sum all of this up, regardless of whatever happened there is one salient point that no commenter I can see has pointed out. It is a question or an observation but in any event, it is summed up as this: Somehow someway, the training (if any?) that Mr. Brown should have or did have when he was growing up failed or did not exist. We may never know that fact regardless of whatever happened.

    That training is what all fathers and mothers are parenting for, 1 important element to train their kids exactly what to do when they grow up if they encounter a police officer. C’mon man! And that is to respect police officers. Don’t they??? Not to run from them. Not to run at them. Not to fight with them. Not to argue with them. And definitely not to resist them. Stated another way….if you disagree with a police officer, you do not resist them. You take that matter up later. I am trying to be very polite given the grief the parents are coping with but something failed (or lacked) in Mr. Browns demeanor when you boil this down to it’s essence. Sorry but I can’t get past the first domino. and that is his hands in the air, no run, no walk, but stop and don’t resist. You don’t run either way. You stop! So IF he did not stop, but instead ran toward the officer, hands in the air or not, he risked a deadly outcome. If he had stopped in his tracks and not moved, I am of the opinion he would still be alive to this day.

    • 121 sajast

      ^^This. I’ve worked with the judicial system and there are so so many terrible people out there. Life’s not roses and sunshine in the real world. We ask police officers to help protect us but we don’t seem to realize that we’re asking them to be attacked by our fellow citizens, from a 30 year old crack addict to a stupid 150lb 13 year old who thinks it’s a good thing to charge an officer while wielding a knife. ‘Cause you know, /police/. Officers are people too and they have a right to protect themselves. I think it’s sad that the situation happened, that Michael Brown is dead and Officer Wilson is undoubtedly having to go through some therapy (people also seem to assume officers are really psychologically ok with shooting people, even perps who were either attempting to or in the process of assaulting them).

      I was always told as a preteen that what may be an inconvenience for you (i.e. a traffic stop) is potentially life or death for them and since officers don’t know a thing about you you better be polite, keep quiet unless spoken to, and if necessary ask to call home. And above EVERYTHING else, to always tell the officer if and why you need to get something whether it’s in your pocket or under the seat of your car. I know someone who did get a gun pulled on him when he reached for his driver’s license under his seat – which he immediately realized was A) His fault for not telling the officer B) Probably not the smartest place to keep his wallet.

      Maybe Brown’s mother did try and teach him the right way to handle law enforcement and Brown had a moment of really bad judgement because he knew he had already broken the law. Maybe Brown just had bad judgement period (I’m personally going with this one since he did just rob a store). For this alone I find it hard to summon too much sympathy for Brown himself. Regardless of whether it has anything to do with this case though, general common sense when interacting with law enforcement seems to be something that is lacking in today’s society.

      • 122 msw

        yep, I don’t have much sympathy for him either without even weighing in on the fact that the video portrays him robbing the store minutes before. To risk getting shot over a box of cigars? Your right about the “common sense” lacking.

        It’s even sadder that Ferguson taxpayers might end up having to watch part of their property taxes go to defend and/or pay for a settlement when the civil suit ripens to conclusion years out. Sad.

      • This statement is pure genius. Why does no one get this?

  39. It was pretty obvious to me,when the first reports started coming out! That some things just didn’t add up! I have never been a police officer and I have no animus toward Black people in general! I have however watched news reports out of the bigger cities like LA or Seattle and I have observed that. when ever a Black man is shot by a White Police Officer the outrage from the Black community, in general, is very ominous! It is almost without question, purveyed that the shooting was unnecessary! Not only by the Black community, but by some other people as well!! In the reverse situation,you seldom here anything on the media! Especially the National Media! There is a definite Racial bias and a Race Baiting that goes on! A rush to judgement is almost always the case!!

  40. Where are the photos of Wilson’s blown orbital???

    • 126 De Reck

      Why would you think there would be pictures of this? We haven’t heard a thing from Officer Wilson as of yet and won’t until there is a hearing. If such a thing does exist it will come up then; and if it doesn’t then it will be known. You are questioning this like you are discounting it actually may exist in a hope to discount an altercation even happened between Brown and Wilson prior to the shooting. There is still more to come; a lot more.

    • 127 Shilah

      Rand C: I hope they are in the most appropriate place: in the care of his defense attorney. The appropriate time for the general public to see those photos is AFTER the trial. Good gravy —- why on earth do we even HAVE a jury system at all? if all we “need” is the media deciding who deserves to live & who deserves to die — (pardon while I roll my eyes) — well, then, I guess we were doing it wrong for a couple hundred years, weren’t we?.

  41. 128 police run state

    This mans theory of acceptable use of excessive force is why ex marines, army, special forces, military police, combat veterans, ect shouldn’t come home to be police. They still think they’re in afganistan or somewhere else. Mean while they’re delusional and suffering from PTSS. Like where he goes on about shooting the suspects in the head and they keep coming and firing off even more rounds like he enjoys the adrenaline.


      I was a cop long before I went to war. And I’ve never shot anyone as a cop. I’ve never even tried to.

      By the way, was Wilson a veteran? If not, then what does your ridiculous comment prove?

    • 130 msw

      police run state: Your moniker alone poisoned the credibility of your comment which when read by a reasonable person is akin to a plane with no wings…it was never meant to fly in the first place.

  42. And Chris, what is your opinion of the video evidence of the shooting of Kajieme Powell 10 days later? Does the way the police handled that situation give any credence to people who say the police are using inappropriate force?

    • BT,

      I’m not familiar with that video, but even if the officer blatantly committed murder it doesn’t reflect on the Ferguson situation. I understand that people are critically examining law enforcement actions as a whole, but for the legal situation we’re looking only at two people’s actions: Wilson’s and Brown’s.

      There is no question that some officers have wrongly killed people. That doesn’t prove Wilson wrongly killed Brown. Many officers have justifiably killed suspects. That doesn’t prove Wilson rightly killed Brown. The question is, “What did Brown and Wilson do, and why did they do it?”, not “Did other officers do something wrong?”

      • 133 Shilah

        beautifully stated. THANK YOU for being a voice of reason in a shrieking media circus. Be safe, sir.

  43. I would like to give my opinion of this story. This story lacks depth of understanding a movement versus a killing. I am saying that while your perception tells you this movement is based upon Michael Brown being killed. That is where this story lacks the depth of understanding that the movement was started by a group of people who had faced police brutality and what they did after police brutality to them. The movement took birth now it all happened over Mikes blood. But if you lack the depth of why there is a movement you can only lack the depth to explain it.

    Ferguson and St Louis county police b4 looting

    • Are you aware that he acknowledges that this piece isn’t supposed to tackle the larger societal issues surrounding this incident? The whole point of this article was to educate people on Police conduct in regards to shootings of unarmed civilians. Shedding light that just because one is unarmed doesn’t equate to them being non-lethal, and the just because that unarmed person was subject to multiple shots doesn’t mean it was excessive force depending on the circumstances.

  44. 136 Thea Strassberg

    First, thank you. Second, I grew up in and still have family in
    Ferguson, MO, third, I am white, fourth, I have closely studied the horrendous and horrifying history of the treatment of black people in this nation.

    Black citizens BUILT this nation, on their backs, with their blood, sweat, tears, courage and incredible stamina. The monstrous treatment of black people over the last 500 years in the USA is a national stain and shame.

    Additionally, rather than alienate and marginalize our young black men, as a nation, we should be embracing them. Supporting and nurturing black youth, valuing them as an invaluable asset to the melting pot of America.

    I also have a 6’8, 300 pound, tattoo artist of a son. I have ALWAYS told him his size will be considered a weapon (he could kill a man, but he is actually a big hun bun). I have always told him to never antagonize a police officer, because they will shoot him. He is just too massive.

    Always cooperate, I tell him. He lives in Ferguson, MO. And used to be routinely pulled over (never got a ticket), because he drove old cars and is tattooed to the hilt.

    Having said that, WHY is no one talking about the alleged shot fired in the police car? I have a 9mm Glock, I have shot it many times. The sound of those bullets at close range is deafening, terrifying.

    Witnesses consistently note there was a struggle at an IN the police car. Why the HELL would a cop try and drag a youth that big INTO his police car, in close proximity to a gun, with no room to escape? I tried this with my boy, He easily removed my hand from his throat by just standing up.

    It isn’t logical. What is more logical is that young man reached into the police car, there was a struggle, a gun went off IN the police car. Can anyone imagine the terror that must have ensued?

    IF, that is what happened, in my mind, that party was over. Brown, a dumb assed teenager (most of them are, regardless of race) was feeling full of himself. He had just grabbed a man half his size by the neck and pushed him into the candy stand. Then, when he protested, Brown menaces him.

    Let’s say after the gun discharged IN THE POLICE CAR, Brown goes to walk off. The officer orders him to stop (it is called attempted murder), Brown turns around with some stupid dumbassed teenage remark and heads back at the officer.

    We must and should embrace our young black men. But here? That officer, if it had been my massive son, would have shot my child too. My son could kill a man with a well aimed punch.

    I am not really sure it is even about race. If however the evidence shows a shot was fired in that police car, the officer would be terrified, pumped up, hoping to go home that evening.

    Check out this video; http://youtu.be/ojvHyQCHhVc, size can indeed be a weapon. This female officer had her face pulverized because the man who attacked her “didn’t want to go back to jail”. It is a horrendous attack.

    Could this have been avoided if Brown had just got his ass out of the street? Onto a sidewalk? I think so, but again I am waiting for evidence.

    However, if there was a shot fired inside of that police car, it seems highly unlikely the officer involved fired it on purpose. It is impossible for that cop to have tried to drag the youth INTO his vehicle by the neck, he was more likely trying to push him away from his gun.

    My first husband and my son live in Ferguson, MO. We have had a family home there for over 50 years. The media nonsense the St. Louis is on fire is ridiculous. Besides looting Beauty Town and some other small local businesses, some rock throwing, no one has been injured here. We have 700,000 black people in Missouri. Less than 100 did that silly shit.

    Racial profiling I believe is alive and well in Missouri, as is racism, but it is a minority. I love my hometown. I do believe we HAVE to discuss racial disparity. I just wish we had a better example of it. At this moment, I do not believe Michael Brown was a Treyvon Martin, a truly innocent child murdered by a wanna-be cop. Evidence may change that, but that is what I believe right now. Thans for the excellent writing.

    • Trayvon Martin was not a child, nor was he entirely innocent. And Zimmerman isn’t a wannabe cop.

      As for this article: Great work, very insightful, well reasoned. Perhaps one of the most reasonable articles on this subject I’ve seen.

    • Lol, on you calling Trayvon a child, and saying he was innocent.

    • 139 John Hemeyer

      I just retired after 40 years As a Missouri L.E. Officer (Sheriff for 18 years). I appreciate your post because it is from a citizen of Ferguson based upon facts and personal experience, not media misinformation. In those 40 years, I am a certified medico legal death investigator and taught police firearms for decades to several hundred officers. I am not an outsider to death and mayhem.

      The only “local” news we get are St. Louis TV stations, which I find very, very disturbing given the huge number of killings in St. Louis and more specifically the northern St. Louis area. I cannot recall two consecutive days in which local news did not report at least one (many multiple) shootings/stabbings/armed robberies/car jackings/ in your area (St. Louis and East St. Louis). The vast majority appear to be black people attacking black people). My question is – why do the citizens not organize to fight the criminals in their own communities? North St. Louis is becoming or has become a lawless, dangerous place to live.

      The Officer Wilson/Mike Brown incident will ultimately be resolved. It is in the legal process, which takes time. I have no opinion because the facts are confused and conjoined with misinformation and emotion.

      Also – folks need to know that EVERY traffic stop by a Missouri Law Enforcement officer is reported as to race, gender, reason, time of day, outcome, etc. on a written report. The results of each Missouri Agency are submitted to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and reviewed. Those reviews are public records. When obvious racial profiling is detected, actions against the agency and ultimately the individual officer occur.

      Every Missouri Law Enforcement Officer complete Racial Profiling training on a continual basis or lose their peace officer certification. Missouri takes the issue of Racial Profiling seriously and has for many years.

      Media distorts figures. “”The majority of traffic stops were made involving ….white/black/Asian/Hispanic/Native American ..” is not a complete report. Even the racial makeup of the community is but a portion of the facts because at different times of day, the racial makeup of drivers varies. You really have to dig to get complete information. In depth reporting is quite rare these days. News agencies strive to be “First with the story” even if the story is only a partial truth.

      Thanks for your post! I’d like to meet you one day over a cup of coffee!

  1. 1 A Dose of Reality for Ferguson, Missouri | craven desires
  2. 2 Post-Ferguson | The Liberty Herald
  3. 3 Round Up the Usual Suspects | POLITICS & PROSPERITY
  4. 4 In The Rabbit Hole – Episode 115: Ferguson, Police Militarization, and Liberty
  5. 5 Episode 115: Ferguson, Police Militarization, and Liberty | Living For Longer
  6. 6 1000 Books In 10 Years: Vol. 379: The Diary, by William Ard Literary Ramblings Literary Ramblings

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