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    Michael Brown Tag

    The Black Lives Matter movement was born of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. While the BLM founders started their organizing after the prior Trayvon Martin case, it was Brown and Ferguson which launched the BLM movement into the public spotlight through the protests and riots in Ferguson. Nothing was more associated with the BLM movement than the chant "hands up, don't shoot," based on the narrative that Brown had his hands raised and said 'don't shoot' when shot. That same chant drives protesters and rioters ripping up cities after the George Floyd killing.

    Five years ago, on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, by police officer Darren Wilson. The death, and the claim that Brown was shot with his hands up asking not to shoot, sparked riots and launched the Black Lives Matter Movement to national prominence. But the narrative was based on a lie. Brown was shot because he attacked and attempted to take Wilson's pistol. His hands weren't up, and he didn't ask not to shoot, as an Obama-Holder Justice Department investigation later proved.

    On August 9, 2014, Ferguson, MO, Police Officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown. Our first post about it was on August 11, 2014, as rioting broke out. We kept the coverage non-evaluative. We learned from prior cases, such as Trayvon Martin, not to accept at face value racial and other narratives being spun. We also learned from events such as the Boston Marathon and Newtown shootings that initial facts reported by the media often are wrong. We embedded this news reports of the looting: Within days, various supposed eyewitnesses would claim Brown was a passive victim -- an account we now know to be untrue -- as summarized in this MSNBC report we posted on August 13, 2014:

    Facts don't matter in the Black Lives Matter movement. Trayvon Martin's shooting planted the seeds for the movement. Contrary to popular myth, Trayvon was not unlawfully shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The trial evidence was overwhelming that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman with a punch to the nose and when shot was on top of Zimmerman beating him Mixed Martial Arts style, having smashed his head into concrete. Moreover, the racial narrative was false, a perception caused by a deceptive NBC audio edit and false interpretation of audio in which Zimmerman supposedly uttered a racial slur, and amplified by activists and family lawyers. Michael Brown's death directly launched the movement and took it national. Brown, however, wasn't shot "hands up, don't shoot" but because he sucker punched a cop sitting in his vehicle and tried to steal the cop's gun. [Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries caused when Michael Brown sucker punched him while trying to grab gun] [Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries caused when Michael Brown sucker punched him while trying to grab gun] These seminal events of the Black Lives Matter narrative were lies.

    Here's an excellent article on the plight of the unarmed perpetrator, by John Hinderaker. Here's an excerpt:
    This is the point I really want to make: the constant emphasis on police shootings of *unarmed* men that we see in the press is, for the most part, crazy. If you are a perp, or a suspect, or an inoffensive person walking down the street, you may be unarmed, but the police officer is not. Nor, in most cases, will he have any immediate way to know whether you are armed or not. If you attack him, what do you expect him to do? Challenge you to an arm-wrestling match? He is entitled to use deadly force to defend himself. Attacking a police officer rarely ends well. Likewise with fleeing a police officer who is ordering you to stop. If there is a problem here, it does not demand a thorough revamping of American police practices. Rather, it suggests that those who have influence with a small demographic group–6% of the population, according to the Post–impress upon them that they should not attack police officers under any circumstances, and if told to stop, they should stop. If they put their hands up, they are not going to get shot.
    This makes the point that should be obvious to all but has somehow gotten obscured by all the post-Brown propagandist verbiage, which is that a police officer can't tell whether a belligerent aggressive suspect is armed or not unless he/she is brandishing the weapon in full sight.

    Last weekend a cop shot of a fleeing unarmed black man in Charleston, SC.   Not all the facts are in, but the video (apparently captured by a cell phone) is damning; it shows the cop firing at the fleeing black man several times, finally bringing him to the ground.  There seems little indication that the fleeing man represented an imminent threat to anyone, much less the police officer. It also appears that the cop planted his Taser beside the man's body.
    ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos The NY Times reports:
    A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away. The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.
    Here's the full video:

    The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice has released an extensive report (embedded below) clearing former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting death of Mike Brown in August 2014. Wilson's shooting of Brown led to weeks of often violent protests, including repeated nights of looting and arson. These protests, largely organized by Al Sharpton and similar racial activists, left portions of Ferguson in ruins. In November 2014 Darren Wilson received a no true bill from the grand jury empaneled to hear criminal charges against him, sparking additional riots. He shortly thereafter resigned from the Ferguson police department, and has stayed out of the news since. We covered the grand jury's findings extensively here at Legal Insurrection, including here: Analysis: #Ferguson Grand Jury: NO Indictment In Michael Brown Shooting In considering civil rights charges against Wilson the Department of Justice ultimately determined that the credible witnesses and forensic evidence overwhelmingly favored Wilson's narrative of lawful self-defense. The witnesses whose testimony favored a narrative of racist misconduct were found to be lies, inconsistent with the forensic evidence, or simply not credible relative to the witnesses favorable to Wilson's narrative. A Department of Justice investigation continues into the Ferguson police department generally, on the basis that the department has engaged in racist activity. The specific examples noted by the New York Times, however, seem only to illustrate mockery of President Obama and his wife, rather than black people generally.
    A report from that investigation found a wide pattern of discrimination by the city’s police force, and said that city officials had sent racist emails on their government accounts. One depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee. Another included a photo of topless African women with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.”
    One can't help but recall the thousands of Progressive depictions of President George W. Bush as a chimpanzee during his administration.  Not racism, I guess.

    Yes, I agree that #BlackLivesMatter. So do all other lives, including the lives of police (of all races) who keep us from the abyss. Remember Officer David Smith never lived to tell about enraged perp who stole his service gun. Someone started a hashtag, #PoliceLivesMatter. Seems worth retweeting some of these tweets, don't ya think?

    Bill O'Reilly focused on the ongoing Ferguson Grand Jury kerfuffle in his opening segment last night, revealing in stark detail the contrast between the reasoned perspective of those accepting the facts and evidence presented to the Grand Jury as well as their decision and the inanity of the reason-free "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" crowd. First up was a audio recording of former NBA player Charles Barkley speaking on a radio program (2:05):
    We have to be really careful with the cops, man, because if it wasn't for the cops, we'd be living in the wild-wild west in our neighborhoods.  I think we can't pick out certain incidents that don't go our way and act like the cops are all bad.  I hate when we do that. Think about it, you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn't for the cops?
    Then was then contrasted with the ramblings of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the National of Islam (2:35):
    As long as they kill us and go to Wendy's and have a burger, and go to sleep, they gonna keep killing us.  But when we die and they die [applause] they soon we are going to sit at a table, and talk about it. We're tired. We want some of this earth, or we'll tear the God-damned country up.

    One of the most recent of the seemingly never-ending succession of Progressive complaints about the Ferguson Grand Jury is that the Grand Jury's decision not to indict is inherently flawed because they were permitted to consider self-defense. Those professing this argument rely for support on one of their favorite variations of the classic "straw man argument":  they quote an authoritative Conservative figure in purported support of their position. In this case, they are calling upon none other than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as in the Think Progress post: Justice Scalia Explains What Was Wrong With The Ferguson Grand Jury. In particular, the Think Progress post states the following:
    Justice Antonin Scalia, in the 1992 Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, explained what the role of a grand jury has been for hundreds of years.

    It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

    This passage was first highlighted by attorney Ian Samuel, a former clerk to Justice Scalia.

    As a follow-up to our post yesterday, de-bunking Lawrence O'Donnell's claim that a purported error on the part of prosecutors led the Ferguson Grand Jury into error, I thought it might be informative to progress that de-bunking to an even more comprehensive level. As noted yesterday in No, Prosecution did not Mislead #Ferguson Grand Jury into Erroneous Decision, Officer Wilson had several potential legal justifications for his use of deadly force against Michael Brown.  Among these were the justification to use deadly force in making an arrest under MO statute §563.046. Law enforcement officer’s use of force in making an arrest and, alternatively, the justification to use deadly force in self defense under MO statute §563.031. Use of force in defense of persons, the state’s self-defense statute.  Both of these statutes were presented to the Grand Jury. Either one of these statutes alone is more than sufficient to justify Wilson's use of deadly force against Brown.  He did not, however, attempt to avail himself of both statutes. Wilson himself testified for more than four hours to the Grand Jury, in person and without legal counsel present.  during the entirety of that testimony he never--not once--argued that his use of deadly force against Brown was based on an effort to arrest Brown in general, nor based on his arrest powers under §563.046 in particular. To the contrary, Wilson relied explicitly and entirely on his right to use deadly force in self-defense, as allowed for by §563.031.

    There have been many false factual narratives of the Michael Brown killing, such as "hands up, don't shoot." Now there's a new false legal narrative spreading, that a prosecutorial mistake misled the Grand Jury into erroneously failing to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson. The source of the claim appears to be MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell. O'Donnell, who was magnificently misleading in the Trayvon Martin case, expounds on this claim in the Ferguson case with absolute moral and intellectual certainty, as he always does. The heart of O'Donnell's claim is that a legal error in presenting the law on use of force in making an arrest early in the Grand Jury proceedings somehow led the Grand Jury astray.  O'Donnell maintains that this error could have led the Grand Jury to think it was okay to shoot Michael Brown in the back as he was running away, even though the corrected law was given to the Grand Jury prior to deliberations. There are at least two major flaws in O'Donnell's argument. First, and most important, even if O'Donnell is correct that prosecutors misstated one justification for Wilson's use of deadly force (arrest powers), these same prosecutors correctly stated an alternative and independent justification for that same use of force (self-defense). Thus, even if Wilson's arrest powers were insufficient justification for his use of deadly force, his right of self-defense was more than sufficient justification for that use of deadly force. And even O'Donnell claims no error in that instruction to the Grand Jury. Second, the justification that O'Donnell claims was read to the jury in error is entirely irrelevant, as it applies only if the suspect is shot while fleeing arrest. Here, Michael Brown suffered not a single gunshot wound to the back, nor did Wilson ever claim to have shot Brown while he was fleeing in order to affect an arrest.  Instead, Wilson claims consistently that he shot Brown in self-defense, and numerous witnesses testified and the forensic evidence supports that Wilson fired only when Brown was actively advancing towards, and not while Brown was fleeing from, Wilson. As a result the legal justification that O'Donnell claims to be in error, that of arrest powers, simply has no application to this case. Now to the video: O’Donnell’s diatribe is an almost perfect example of what is commonly referred to as a “straw man” argument.

    The official transcript of the Ferguson Grand Jury continues to be fascinating as I chug my way past the 20% reading mark. A portion of the current eye witness testimony before me, that of Interview #4 taken on September 17 , was particularly engaging however. The reason? It shows in visceral detail some of the explicit and coordinated efforts to physically intimidate eye witnesses from speaking with law enforcement, and how genuinely frightened these efforts made those witnesses. I've reproduced the relevant section of Interview #4 below, and the entire length of that interview is embedded at the bottom of this post. (This interview did not take place before the Grand Jury itself, but rather the audio recording of the interview conducted at an earlier date was played for the Grand Jury.) There are three interviewers, whom I have labelled (as best I was able to discern from the transcript) as "Unknown," "Mr.," and "Ms.," at least one of whom is an FBI Special Agent and another of which is an attorney with the prosecutor's office.  (It is possible the "unknown" category should be assigned to some combination of "Mr." and "Ms.")  The witness is labelled as "I4."  All identities and identifying information has been redacted in the official transcript. The interview has been going on for some time when one of the persons leading the questioning interrupts the substantive discussion:

    Darren Wilson, the Ferguson Police Officer whom a Grand Jury declined to indict over the shooting death of Micheal Brown, gave a lengthy in-person interview to George Stephanopoulos on ABC News last night. That interview is embedded at the bottom of this post. But this post is not really about Darren Wilson, at least not directly. It's about Johnson City, NY (near Binghamton), Police Officer David Smith, who was involved in a similar incident on March 31, 2014. A reader from this area (Johnson City is about 45 minutes from Ithaca) forwarded me the link, writing: "I had forgotten about this event very close to home but it seems to me that it is relevant to current events." http://www.localsyr.com/story/d/story/officer-shot-and-killed-near-binghamton-area-hospi/21718/364J-3q63EqZs8BkWb6lSw In that incident, a seemingly crazed and aggressive perpetrator managed to take Officer Smith's weapon from him, and then use it to murder Officer Smith:
    Police say a suspect shot and killed a Johnson City police officer with the officer’s own weapon on Monday morning. Officer David Smith was an 18-year veteran of the force, police said at an afternoon news conference. The suspect, 43-year-old James Clark of Greene, pulled away Smith’s weapon and shot the officer three times, according to police. Clark fired at another officer, who then shot the suspect several times. Clark was taken to a hospital and later died.
    As recounted in this video, the circumstances were remarkably similar to the initial assault on Darren Wilson by Michael Brown: Sucker punches to an officer seated in his patrol car, with the perpetrator then leaning in to try to steal the weapon:
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