Ferguson, Idiot Cops, and Experts Who Know Nothing at All

12Dec14

This was published December 9th on Breach Bang Clear.

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Remember a couple years back, when that plane crashed in that city and killed all those people? And all the news networks talked about it for months? And every guest interviewed on the news said, “I don’t know anything about flying, but let me tell you what that pilot should have done”?

Reason.com photo

Reason.com photo

Or maybe you remember that incident not long ago, where doctors tried and failed to save a patient with a rare and deadly disease. After the patient died, “experts” with no medical training, knowledge or experience talked nonstop about what the doctors did wrong. “Those doctors must have no idea what they’re doing. All they had to do was make the patient not die. How hard is that?”

What? You don’t remember those incidents? That’s odd. Maybe you’ll remember this one.

There was this cop once, in some small town somewhere. He stopped a guy for something minor and let him go, then realized the guy was a suspect in a bigger crime and stopped him again. The guy attacked the cop. They fought, and eventually the cop shot and killed the guy.

And for months, people with literally zero training, knowledge or experience with lethal force encounters blathered on about what that cop should have done. They spoke on national media outlets. They wrote articles for newspapers and blogs. They spoke at public events. And they constantly said ridiculous, stupid things like “The officer should have shot Brown in the leg.”

Or “All the officer had to do was use a Taser, baton or pepper spray.”

Or “There’s never a reason to shoot an unarmed person.”

Or “That officer fired six times and there’s no way that can ever be justified.”

Or “That poor young man was executed for stealing cigars.”

Or “The officer must have been lying. An unarmed person would never attack an armed cop.”

Or “The cop should have been put on trial for murder so everyone could see whether he was guilty or not.”

Sound familiar? Could be you’ve heard a little something about this case. I have, and I’m sick of the constant storm of ignorant bullshit being spewed about it.

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Brought to you by JTF Awesome.

I don’t mean that I’ve simply heard reasonable criticism of police practices, or honest questions about use of force. The public has every right to question how we police them. But I’ve heard comments so moronic I wonder if the person making them remembers how to breathe without instructions. Since Officer Darren Wilson was no-billed by a Grand Jury, the nonsense has only gotten worse. I don’t want people to stop asking questions, and I’m happy to give answers. But for god’s sake, at least try to find out what the hell you’re talking about before you broadcast your opinion to the entire world.

What’s most frustrating is that dumb comments often come from otherwise intelligent, reasonable people who don’t second-guess pilots, doctors or professionals in other fields. These commenters generally stay in their lane and don’t hold forth about things they know nothing about. But when it comes to law enforcement, they feel completely justified prattling for hours on a subject about which they’re completely blind.

Why the difference? As far as I can tell, it’s because the public respects pilots, doctors and almost all other professionals. But cops? We’re different. Any idiot can be a cop. No intelligence required.

Maybe that belief is due to a lifetime-plus of cultural conditioning. Since before I was born, cops have been portrayed in popular culture as fools. Yes, we’ve also had positive cops on TV and in the movies; even so, not many people know Crockett and Tubbs or Barney Miller, while almost everyone knows Officer Barbrady and Barney Fife. The apparent result of this cultural conditioning is a widespread belief that police work is simple. Much of the public doesn’t know our job is complex, dynamic, challenging and sometimes dangerous; rather, they think it’s dull, plain, and frankly beneath anyone with even average intelligence.

Who knows, maybe police work really is that simple and easy. My experience may be a total fluke. Police work has put me in some of the most mentally and physically demanding situations of my life. I’ve had to fight for survival. I’ve had to talk people out of suicide. I’ve had to anticipate the next moves of desperate fleeing criminals. I’ve had to decipher the terrified, stuttering words of crime victims in a race against the clock to get descriptions out before suspects could get too far from the scene. I’ve had to ignore the horrible suffering of innocent people in order to focus on my task of ensuring the guilty didn’t escape justice. I’ve exercised every ounce of discipline I had and held my fire when a drunk pointed a pistol at me, because I wasn’t sure who was behind him.

None of that was easy. Many of those situations were incredibly complicated. I had to make multiple snap judgments based on training, hard-earned experience, and highly nuanced understanding of human nature and my own biases and weaknesses. I’ve worked with a lot of smart men and women who faced situations just as difficult, and sometimes far more difficult, than those I faced.

I want the public to understand the difficulties, challenges and realities of police work. So I’m going to briefly address some of the ridiculous, moronic misunderstandings that I’ve seen and read. None of what I’m about to write even hints that cops are always right, or that private citizens should never question them; we cops are beholden to the public we serve, and we should answer honest questions from good people (I myself have a LOT of questions and concerns about the Eric Garner case in NYC). I hope my answers help those who truly want to understand why Officer Wilson opened fire that day. But I also hope it encourages rabble-rousing, clueless idiots frantically running their mouths about how police “should” handle lethal force encounters to shut up and swim back to the shallow end of the pool.

“The officer could have just shot Michael Brown in the leg or arm.”

No, he probably couldn’t have. A leg or arm is a small, easy to miss target. Darren Wilson was firing center mass at a large target, and still completely missed with several shots. Even if he had hit Brown’s arm or leg, that wouldn’t have guaranteed Brown would stop, or live. Limb shots rarely immediately disable people. Plus, they can damage an artery and cause death within minutes.

Watch this video of a femoral artery bleedout:

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Read the rest at http://www.breachbangclear.com/ferguson-idiot-cops-and-experts-who-know-nothing-at-all/#comment-31654

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
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).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7

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22 Responses to “Ferguson, Idiot Cops, and Experts Who Know Nothing at All”

  1. In one respect, you’re flat wrong. And in another respect, you’re being incredibly solipsistic, which is unfortunate considering that you say you want to explain things to people outside your own peer group.

    First, regarding doctors; Ordinary persons (that is, people who are not doctors) question doctors all the time. And this has only increased as more information becomes available to the public about questionable medical decisions, money-hungry drug companies, etc. People are right to question doctors. Why? Because poor practice by physicians commonly does cause injury, illness, and death. And poor practice is unfortunately becoming increasingly common in an age when money drives medicine. Likewise we also question lawyers all the time – but I won’t get into that here for reasons of space & time.

    Second, you seem to utterly fail to understand why ordinary persons would question cops. It’s for the same reason they question doctors: Because bad policing can and does cause social injury, physical injury, and death.

    I like the fact you attempt to present facts, and I like subscribing to your blog because you represent a POV I don’t hear otherwise in my own daily life. But your consistent failure to move outside just your own personal history & the resulting narrow POV at times is disappointing. If you are going to ask people to work to see your own POV, you owe it to them to work just as hard to see theirs – even when they are making errors of fact. So far I don’t see you doing that work; there’s no attempt at understanding anyone except your own tribe. Nonetheless, please keep writing & I’ll keep reading.

  2. One more comment that I hope is pertinent, & that extends my concern that cops need to understand more about the psychology of ordinary persons:

    It’s been shown in recent decades by cognitive science that the human mind evolved to highlight and remember bad events more prominently than good events. Neuroscientists & evolutionary psychologists theorize that this is because we survived as a species only by constantly monitoring our environment for threats.

    Here’s an example from a book I’m currently reading called “Compassionate Mind,” by psychologist Paul Gilbert: Imagine you go and visit 10 shops to buy Christmas presents. In the first 9 shops, the clerks are incredibly helpful, but in the last shop, the clerk is not only rude but tries to sell you something of inferior quality. Writes Gilbert: “When you go home with your presents, who do you talk to your partner about? Will you say, ‘I love Christmas because it reminds me that 90 percent of the people I run into are so helpful, kind, and imbued with the festive spirit’? Unlikely – your threat system will make you focus on the one person who was unhelpful, and you may end up speaking to your partner throughout dinner about how rude salespeople are these days!”

    I think the same sort of thing happens with ordinary people (me included) in recalling our encounters with police. There have been several times cops have been very helpful to me; but none of these incidents are what come to mind when I weigh my relationship with the police as a whole. Instead, what I remember is the time that a female cop intimated me at Penn Station for no apparent reason other than that she seemed to be having a bad day. You could say that she was the 1 bad store clerk out of 10 – but even so I remember her vividly.

    Another reason I remember her so vividly is because she truly was a threat to me. She had a gun, and a billy club, and her attitude made it plain that she would willingly use not just verbal but physical force to make me do her bidding. There was no one else in sight, which I think played a part in it; had there been a crowd I don’t think she would have acted out as she did. I had been sitting on the floor waiting for a bus, quietly reading. In no way did I look like someone who was going to cause trouble. Nonetheless she ordered me to get up as if I were a criminal. She didn’t ask; she ordered in a harsh tone; and I forget the gesture she made, but I think it was tapping her stick or some such. You can give me all the explanations you want about how this was an incredibly minor incident, she never would have done anything, I was over-reacting, etc. etc. But trust me. She wanted to scare me. Her actions were deliberate.

    It was just one incident. No other cop has ever treated me that way, even in traffic stops. But there’s another reason I remember it so vividly these days: it’s because of the headlines about Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere. It’s because the Internet, the explosion of cameras everywhere, and social media have made it possible for all the bad events to be gathered and presented as if we had witnessed them ourselves. Our threat-detecting systems respond to these virtual events nearly as strongly as if we had in fact been there & seen it ourselves.

    I will also that that one other thing annoys me about your defense of cops in this or that incident, including Ferguson: you keep trying to divorce such incidents from the social context in which it occurs. I don’t think that is fair for anyone involved, including the police officers. Context always matters. It can never be disregarded. I would go so far as to say that if a police officer doesn’t understand that he or she is working inside a social context in which persons at times will fear them, rightly or wrongly, then they should find a different line of work.

    Unfortunately, with too many police officers the job has taken over the person, just like so many jobs do – from corporate cubicles to the street. Once again, doctors make a good parallel example. I know a number of doctors personally who started out idealistic & who practiced excellent medicine. But excellent medicine takes time – time that is not allowed but under the pressure of a health care system where bea-counters make the rules. And so these doctors burn out. And when they burn out, they start delivering bad care. I don’t know the ins and outs of police work sufficiently well to say why a cop would burn out, but I assume it happens. Surely when the head of the police union in Staten Island makes such a complete ass of himself as Lynch did in asserting that it was the victim’s fault for dying in the chokehold incident, the pressure of his position has gotten to him. He is no longer capable of seeing clearly.

    • Wholesight,

      I think your criticism is partly misplaced. I emphatically do not believe non-cops should never question cops. What I’m saying is, people with no understanding of real-life violence shouldn’t make proclamations about how we cops should handle that violence. If a doctor does makes a decision during a heart surgery and the patient dies, there’s nothing wrong with me saying, “I don’t know anything about heart surgery, so please tell me why you did what you did.” But there is something wrong with me saying, “You did the wrong thing and it’s your fault the patient died.” I have literally zero training, knowledge or experience with heart surgery. Therefore, my proclamations about how heart surgery should be handled are at best worthless, at worst inflammatory.

      Nothing I wrote suggested nobody should ask questions. All I ask is that people learn something before they make a proclamation.

      Regarding your observations of people only remembering the bad, I absolutely agree. One common complaint among cops is that we rarely receive any attention for good things we do, yet all get blamed for anything bad any of us do. 9/11 was an exception to that.

      You’re also correct on burnout. I’ve been dangerously close to it myself.

      Thanks for continuing to read despite the issues you have with my writing. I appreciate that, and I always want to hear honest criticism.

  3. 6 Shaun Evertson

    Quick anecdote regarding witness recollection. I was a navy swimmer/paramedic and also trained and experienced in aviation mishap investigation. I had 8 years or so of experience and had worked probably 20 class a mishaps when I witnessed a plane crash at a navy airshow. The aircraft (F/A-18A) did a low pass into a loop. As he finished the loop he hit the ground in a nose-up attitude with a pretty high sink rate. I knew for certain (and after all I could be certain given my background and experience) that the jet was on fire before it hit the ground. Probably a catastrophic engine failure. When we watched the video it was clear that there was no pre-impact fire. I can still see it in my minds eye 30+ years later, but it never happened.

  4. There was a court case several years back. The police department in New London, CT didn’t hire a candidate. The failed candidate smelled a rat and he sued, claiming discrimination.

    Turned out he was right, sort of. He wasn’t hired because his IQ was too high. That resonated throughout the area and hasn’t yet been forgotten.

    • Meaning….?

      I’ve worked recruiting for a large department. In that department there is no upper IQ limit. There wasn’t one in the other departments I worked for either. New London’s hiring practices aren’t the national standard.

  5. 12 Frankenstein Government

    Thanks for posting this Chris. 25 year veteran here. I too am in awe that everyone on the planet seems to be an expert on policing. I disagree with your first commenter- people don’t simply question- these folks think they know how to police and they have no problem telling us how we should have done our jobs.

    I wrote a piece on the Ron Paul website supporting cops and the vitriol was intense. I’m talking a whole site full of cop haters. It makes me wonder why I ever policed in the first place and damn glad I’m not laying it on the line for those sick ingrates.

  6. 13 Mike H.

    Great article Chris, it’s well written and thought out. I’m a 17 year cop on a large Department. And worked patrol for 14 years of that time with 3.years working gangs. I check your website daily to see if you’ve posted anything and look forward to reading what you’ve written. Keep up the good work.

  7. 14 Phil B

    Hi Chris,

    A well reasoned and explained take down of the chattering classes criticisms.

    The only minor criticism is your belief that people do irrational things. I’d say that their actions may be irrational to an observer but internally they have rationalised the situation in their own minds and are acting rationally IN THEIR OWN ESTIMATION (emphasis to stress that it is their estimation which results in them taking the action they did.

    However, trying to understand WHY they behave like that can be a puzzle.

    In Browns case this link might put it in context:

    http://www.isegoria.net/2014/12/the-monster-factory/

    I’d recommend reading the original linked source in that article – it covers a lot more ground. In short. Brown was TRAINED to believe that aggression and violence will make authority back down but didn’t live long enough to realise that the hothouse protected environment of school doesn’t necessarily apply to the real world.

    Phil B

  8. 15 empathybeforejudgement

    Great read once again. Incredible how quickly a femoral bleed will kill you. Is there anyway I can send you a short vid on a combat/LE tourniquet? Your experience in combat and LE would be valuable in determining it’s viability in both.

  9. Good article Chris.

    And as someone on twitter posted,

    “If you think cops do such a bad job, next time you’re in trouble, call a crackhead.”

  10. 19 Lampie

    Chris, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, Mostly because you write well, and give the “cop point of view” with a healthy dose of reality, which is usually lacking.

    I’m not a cop. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not black. I don’t own a gun. The last time I got into a fight was 20 years ago. My information comes from what I see hear and read. I guess that makes me the typical public that everyone is trying to get to see their side of this.

    I’ve seen what seemed to be holes in the “cop narrative”. Many of them you have filled in here, but a few remain. Maybe you can fill them in as well? Maybe not.

    I’ve read the comments above, and you have pointed to other instances when a shooter was not charged with a crime. In any of those, did the shooter refuse to make a statement for a week after the shooting?
    I’m told that officer Wilson waited a week before making a statement of the facts. I’m also told that any good cop will try to get a statement as soon as possible from the shooter, and from any witnesses. The reasons for that seem obvious, and it appears to the public that he was given an advantage that most shooters don’t get.

    Video shows that when back-up arrived, a crowd had started forming, and they were yelling “he had his hands up! Why did you shoot him?”

    So my first question is, why would Wilson be allowed to wait a week, review witness statements and other evidence including forensics, before making a statement? Is that something anyone who shoots another is allowed to do? In that situation, I’m inclined to not believe a word he said. At the very least, his statement should be considered tainted in my opinion. Yours?

    My second question goes to your statement that this case was not handled differently because Wilson was a cop.
    There is a shooting. Cops roll up, there’s a guy dead, and a guy who shot him. There is a crowd of people shouting that the deceased was shot with his hands up, while unarmed and trying to surrender. The shooter refuses to give a statement.

    Are you telling me you would not arrest him and let the court sort it out? Are you saying that a civilian would be allowed to keep his gun to protect himself from the crowd?

    I’m told that any decent DA can get a ham sandwich indicted. In fact, that ham sandwich line is apparently a cliche among those who work around courthouses.
    My third question, can it be inferred that either the DA didn’t know what he was doing, or that he didn’t want an indictment? Given that he apparently changed his whole way of approaching the GJ for this case, it doesn’t look like justice was blind here.

    I don’t know what took place when Wilson rolled up on Brown that day. I don’t know how the situation escalated. Not many do. I do know that the way it was handled from a PR standpoint, with no police report filed, refusing to say who the officer was, letting Wilson wait a week before making a statement, leaving Brown on the street for hours, Rolling out the riot gear as a first response to the crowd, releasing the store video with the officer’s name, the false pics of “Wilson’s eye socket”, etc.etc.etc. , showed very little understanding of their own community, public perception, or how a 24 hour news cycle works. To this day, they have not got in front of the story. They just feed it. Even if Wilson told the golden truth, he and they, made him look guilty but protected by the system, to the public.

    Now I’m reading rumors that “witness 40” who apparently told Wilson’s version to the GJ, is an outspoken racist and was not at the scene. I read it once and thought… internet. I read it on a second site and thought… Really? Nawwww. That would be too sloppy/stupid for even these guys. Then I saw that “witness 40” has allowed herself to be identified, and they have a pic of her. Now I’m paying attention. That’s how it works with us typical public types.

    • Lampie,

      I responded to this comment on BBC’s page, but here’s my answer again:

      Lampie,

      I’ll address each individual point.

      1) “So my first question is, why would Wilson be allowed to wait a week, review witness statements and other evidence including forensics, before making a statement? Is that something anyone who shoots another is allowed to do? In that situation, I’m inclined to not believe a word he said. At the very least, his statement should be considered tainted in my opinion. Yours?”

      My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that Wilson did what most cops do after a shooting: he gave a brief statement to investigators summing up the reason he fired, then gave a full statement after conferring with his attorney. The way I’ve seen it done, the officer says “I fired because he was pointing a gun at me, now I’ll wait for the union lawyer before I make a full statement.” That’s what police union attorneys suggest we do, and that’s what a lot of lawyers who take self-defense cases advise private citizens to do after a shooting. I don’t think Wilson had access to all the statements from witnesses, alleged witnesses and forensic evidence; after only a week, the evidence wouldn’t have been analyzed and witnesses were still coming forward. On its face, the claim “he waited a week to make a statement” sounds bad, but in reality it’s what all people involved in self-defense shootings are told to do: give only the bare facts, then wait until you confer with your lawyer.

      2) “My second question goes to your statement that this case was not handled differently because Wilson was a cop.
      There is a shooting. Cops roll up, there’s a guy dead, and a guy who shot him. There is a crowd of people shouting that the deceased was shot with his hands up, while unarmed and trying to surrender. The shooter refuses to give a statement.

      Are you telling me you would not arrest him and let the court sort it out? Are you saying that a civilian would be allowed to keep his gun to protect himself from the crowd?”

      There are a couple of important facets to that question. First, you’re right that police shootings are handled differently, because police are a “known quantity”. When the officers arrived on the Wilson shooting scene they knew Wilson’s level of training and experience, knew he was responding to a reported crime, and knew he had identified two suspects and called for backup. So going into it, they wouldn’t have reason to suspect it was a random execution.

      Second, an accusation screamed by a crowd is NOT considered credible by itself. Mobs get whipped into a frenzy pretty easily, and people start repeating what they’ve heard others say. I’ll give you two examples, one from my own experience and one from an officer I worked with.

      My friend arrived on a rollover accident. A local young man had been ejected and killed. Officers blocked the road and started working the scene. Word spread, and the man’s friends and family started arriving. After the officers had been on the scene several minutes, someone in the crowd started yelling, “He didn’t die in a wreck! The cops killed him!”

      The accusation started being repeated through the crowd. Officers had to hold a perimeter to keep people from trying to get the body before it was loaded into a hearse (this was a small town where bodies went straight to a funeral home). When the hearse was loaded and started driving away, people in the crowd ran to their cars and drove after it. Several police cars had to escort the hearse to the funeral home and then block the doors to keep people from forcing their way inside. The spontaneous outburst started with one person screaming a false accusation, which then spread. The fact that numerous people were repeating it did not make it credible.

      My experience: I was at a murder scene at a huge club. When we arrived there were over a thousand people in the parking lot, and it was a near-riot. A man had been killed in the parking lot and was still there. We cleared the area around him, called for EMS and checked him for vital signs. He was DOA. A large and aggressive crowd surrounded us and tried to break through to the body. People started yelling “Why haven’t you called an ambulance?” and “They aren’t calling an ambulance because he’s black!” In the meantime, an ambulance had arrived but couldn’t get through the crowd. This was one of the most frustrating, ridiculous experiences of my career: being screamed at by enraged people for refusing to call an ambulance, and no matter how loud I screamed back, “Turn around, the ambulance is behind you!”, I couldn’t even get them to turn and look. As far as they were concerned we didn’t care enough about a dead black man to even call an ambulance, and weren’t interested in hearing or even seeing anything to the contrary. Their loud and repeated accusations weren’t credible.

      I’ve had other experiences with mob mentality and all I can tell you is, in my experience, shouted accusation from a crowd usually aren’t true and police certainly aren’t going to make an arrest solely based on them. So yes, I am saying I’m not going to arrest a private citizen based solely on what a crowd is shouting, and I understand if a private citizen says he’s waiting for his attorney to make a full statement. If I don’t have credible witnesses backing physical evidence that shows the private citizen committed a crime, I don’t arrest him. And I’m not going to disarm him before ensuring he’s not in danger from the crowd.

      3) “I’m told that any decent DA can get a ham sandwich indicted. In fact, that ham sandwich line is apparently a cliche among those who work around courthouses. So, can it be inferred that either the DA didn’t know what he was doing, or that he didn’t want an indictment? Given that he apparently changed his whole way of approaching the GJ for this case, it doesn’t look like justice was blind here.”

      The assumption made here is that there should have been an indictment, but the DA either interfered to ensure there wasn’t one or failed to secure one. Not every self-defense shooting results in an indictment. Numerous self-defense shootings, both by police and private citizens, go before a GJ without resulting in an indictment. If the investigation shows the shooting was justifiable, why would a DA pursue an indictment on someone who followed the law? In this case the DA presented ALL the witnesses to the GJ, even witnesses he believed weren’t credible, so the jurors could make the determination themselves. The jurors decided there was no evidence justifying an indictment against the officer. The DA didn’t “fail”, he presented all the evidence and witness testimony and the end result was no indictment.

      4) “I don’t know what took place when Wilson rolled up on Brown that day. I don’t know how the situation escalated. Not many do. I do know that the way it was handled from a PR standpoint, with no police report filed, refusing to say who the officer was, letting Wilson wait a week before making a statement, leaving Brown on the street for hours, Rolling out the riot gear as a first response, releasing the store video with the officer’s name, the false pics of “Wilson’s eye socket, etc.etc.etc. , showed very little understanding of their own community, public perception, or how a 24 hour news cycle works. To this day, they have not got in front of the story. They just feed it. Even if Wilson told the golden truth, he and they, made him look guilty but protected to the public.”

      I agree on that. Ferguson PD badly handled the aftermath of that shooting, and it made the situation much worse.

      5) “Now I’m reading rumors that ‘witness 40’ who apparently told Wilson’s version to the GJ, was not at the scene. I read it once and thought… internet. I read it on a second site and thought… Really? Nawwww. That would be too sloppy/stupid for even these guys. Then I saw that ‘witness 40’ has allowed herself to be identified, and they have a pic of her. Now I’m paying attention. That’s how it works with us typical public types.”

      That’s the first I’ve heard of it, and just looked it up. If that’s true, no question, her credibility should have been torn to shreds by the GJ. And if the GJ based their decision solely on her testimony, then the GJ needs to reconvene. However, there were multiple witnesses (including six black witnesses) who corroborated Wilson’s account of the incident, and whose testimony matched the physical evidence. Basically, in this case there were numerous non-credible pro-Brown witnesses and thus far one possible non-credible pro-Wilson witness. One lying witness, on either side, doesn’t decide this case one way or another.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope my explanations helped.

      • 21 JCC

        @ Lampie
        I just discovered this site, and so, late to the discussion. I have some personal experience investigating homicides and police-involved shootings, prosecution of murder and the like.
        1. and 2.
        Yes, on any shooting, police related or civilian, investigators want a statement as quickly as possible, the thought being a contemporaneous statement will be most reflective of state of mind if likewise somewhat confused due to excitement, adrenalin, etc. But if the shooter requests a attorney and time to reflect before giving a statement, do you really think we just automatically arrest and “let the courts settle it”? Really? Police and prosecutors do not arrest for murder – absent some pressing circumstance like fear of flight or continued risk to the community – unless sufficient evidence exists that not only meets probable cause but actually reaches that needed for conviction, i.e. proof beyond a reasonable doubt, or likely to reach that level quickly. We don’t just arbitrarily toss people in jail for murder in the hope a judge and jury will illuminate a confused fact set.
        3. Ham sandwich, all that. Grand juries indict, and the normal threshold is probable cause, that is, more likely than not. These presume, however, that there is an existing investigation with additional proof not presented to the jurors, for time interests mainly, and that there is a greater weight of proof available. Most grand jury indictments take place because of statutory requirements, so the prosecutors hit the minimum requirements and move one. In the Ferguson case, the prosecutor went to a grand jury to avoid the appearance that a single man made a politically motivated decision on his own, but rather went to a group of citizens representative of the community. However, both the ABA and the US District Attorney’s Association urge prosecutors not to indict – as a matter of ethics – unless they possess sufficient evidence to meet the higher threshold of “beyond a reasonable doubt” needed to convict. So, even if for the sake of argument the Ferguson DA possessed PC – highly doubtful – he clearly and obviously lacked a sufficiency to convict. He would have lost at trial in a beatdown. Why then would he bother to indict, knowing he could never win, knowing that this was a futile exercise, and putting aside the ethics of it all? Why put an innocent man through a trial that was a loser, raise expectations when the verdict was predetermined, etc? So I ask, why would he?
        As for the relative veracity of the witnesses, and the obvious conflict among their statements, the grand jurors weighed the testimony, and made a decision based on personal appearance, physical evidence, and who knows what else. Don’t we all do that every day in our interactions with others, make conclusions about who is truthful and who is not? At some point, we have to trust those jurors to have responsibly fulfilled their duties, since none of us were in the grand jury rooms and none of us heard all of the testimony and evidence.
        And, at the end of the day, never mind all the details, why would anyone choose to believe that the officer came to work one day, and decided to execute a gentle giant who was trying to surrender, rather than believe that a 300 pound man who just committed a robbery attacked the officer and was shot while doing so, especially after viewing the video from the store? Which version strains credulity? I guess at that point, we all revert to preconceived POV.

  11. 22 Not-by-sight

    Yep, television and the “news” is entertainment, bread and circuses. Everything is run by what? 3 companies? They want mindless input from “experts” to keep the base interested and stay hypnotized, I mean, tuned in. Why I killed my TV years ago and rarely, if ever, read the news from any major news company (cnn, fox, msnbc etc). You may want to consider doing the same.


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