Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson

Okay, so it happened. Just as we knew it would - we kept hoping it wouldn't, but we knew it would. Which is why even though the taste is so bitter, the disappointment so sharp, there is no sense of surprise. Just the aching hurt of seeing it happen yet again.

Another black man shot to death by another white cop. Another white cop walks.

It has long since become depressingly, disgustingly, predictable.

"No probable cause." Not even for involuntary manslaughter. "No probable cause."

Darren Wilson did nothing wrong when he shot down Michael Brown, we're told. Nothing at all. According to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, he was just defending himself. He "feared for his life," so shooting Brown down and then leaving his body lying in the street for four hours, never even bothering to call paramedics, that was just, well, it was ... okay. Reasonable. Appropriate. He was just defending himself.

Defending himself against what? When after the initial scuffle at Wilson's patrol car, after Brown broke away and ran away, Wilson chased after him, shooting - shooting, that is, at the back of a man Wilson had good cause to think was unarmed. Trying, bluntly to "apply deadly force" against an unarmed man who was running away from him.

Did Darren Wilson "fear for his life" at that moment?

When Michael Brown turned to face him, did it ever cross Wilson's mind that Brown was the one who had good cause to "fear for his life?" He was, after all, the one someone else was trying to shoot in the back.

Unimportant. Irrelevant. Because Darren Wilson is a cop. And Michael Brown, well, he was ... unimportant. Irrelevant. Just another black guy who got aggressive - or, often enough, just mouthy - with a white cop. And we all know - or are supposed to know and to accept - that in that case white cops can't be held responsible for what happens after that. Because the cop "followed procedure" or "acted within guidelines," procedures and guidelines that should result in cops' badge numbers starting with double-0, at least when dealing with young black men. Because there wasn't, there almost never is, "probable cause."

The legal purpose of grand juries is supposed to be a check on arbitrary prosecutions, a way of making prosecutors show they have enough evidence to proceed to trial. For that reason, they usually only hear the prosecution case: If that's not good enough for trial, a defense case is unnecessary. But in this case, the prosecutor by his own account introduced "everything" - which means he also included any exculpatory evidence or testimony they may have had, material that would normally be presented by the defense at trial, not by the prosecution.

As much as grand juries are in legal fantasy independent panels, they are in reality creatures of the prosecution. A prosecutor who really wants an indictment can get one. And a prosecutor who really does not want an indictment and who has gone to a grand jury only because of political pressure or social protest, can insure there isn't one.

I say here for the record that I will go to my grave convinced that prosecutor Robert McCulloch wanted Darren Wilson to get off scot-free. And justice can go fuck itself.

3 comments:

Instapundit Dotcom said...

I'm not quite sure what happened. I've been reading that all the initial claims we heard were by friends and family, and contradicted by the physical evidence, and that the officer didn't start shooting until the man who had tried to steal his gun had actually turned around and started charging the officer.

Or at least that there wasn't enough evidence to disprove this.

Larry E said...

The initial claims were not all by friends and family; in fact except for the guy who was with Brown (whose name I can't recall just now), none of them were.

Earlier reports said that Wilson started shooting before Brown turned around, which physical evidence could not "contradict" if none of those shots struck Brown.

I'm not going to argue a lot of details here except to note that "tried to steal his gun" and "charging" are based solely on the testimony of the person who had the most to gain by lying: Darren Wilson, whose hyperbolic description does not reassure me that he is a trustworthy witness. ("I felt like a 5-year-old against Hulk Hogan," he said, along with claiming Brown hit him twice and he was afraid a third punch would be "fatal" before describing Brown as looking like "a demon.)

That lack of trust is amplified by the fact that Wilson clearly changed his story: Early on, Ferguson police, based on Wilson's own report, said in so many words that Wilson did not know that Brown matched the description of a suspect in a convenience story theft. But before the Grand Jury, Wilson said he did learn that after his initial encounter with Brown, which is why he went back to challenge him.

But leave all that aside for this: There are now numerous statements from attorneys and former prosecutors agreeing with my contention that this Grand Jury was not conducted as they usually are and they are conducted such as this one was for one reason and one reason only: The prosecution does not want there to be an indictment.

That contention is given added weight by the fact that after the Grand Jury failed to indict, the supposed prosecutor (I say "supposed" because by his own account he didn't do any prosecuting but just did an evidence dump on the lap of the panel) didn't say anything you would normally expect like "Well, we presented the case but the Grand Jury did not agree; we're disappointed but that's the way the system works" but instead presented what amounted to a brief for the defense. Which is what we keep hearing now.

I say again: I will go to my grave convinced that Ferguson officials wanted Darren Wilson to walk scot-free and manipulated the Grand Jury system to make that happen. And justice be damned.

Instapundit Dotcom said...

Ive heard the latter claim, we agree that the prosecutor didnt really want an indictment.

I guess i wont say more about this, here or elsewhere, until i find better sources for who made the initial claims.

 
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