Patterico's Pontifications

1/3/2015

Matt Pearce of L.A. Times Distorts Evidence of Michael Brown Shooting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:19 am

Matt Pearce has a year-in-review in the Los Angeles Times on police shootings, which ends in this way:

The opposing accounts of what happened the day Michael Brown died seem to capture the divide that will no doubt continue as debate continues on tactics, body cameras and shooting investigations.

Some witnesses said Brown had his hands up when he was shot. Wilson told investigators Brown was charging at him to attack.

It was a basic disagreement of fact that would foreshadow the much larger debate looming for the nation — on what it means to be black in America, or to be a police officer in America, in which voices from both sides would claim to be betrayed and, most of all, deeply misunderstood.

So there you have it: according to the L.A. Times, there was a “basic disagreement of fact” between “witnesses” (who said Brown’s hands were up), and a single cop, Darren Wilson (who said Brown was charging). You would never know from this piece that there were several witnesses besides Wilson who corroborated Wilson’s claim that Brown had charged him. As this Washington Post article states:

According to transcripts of the grand jury investigation into the deadly encounter in Ferguson, three of the witnesses to the shooting described Brown’s movements as a “charge.”

This Washington Post article collects testimony from various witnesses, who admittedly gave many different versions — but several said Brown had been charging:

  • Witness walking to his vehicle parked nearby: “Mike Brown continuously came forward in the charging motion and at some point, at one point he started to slow down and he came to a stop. And when he stopped, that’s when the officer ceased fire and when he ceased fired, Mike Brown started to charge once more at him. When he charged once more, the officer returned fire with, I would say, give an estimate of three to four shots. And that’s when Mike Brown finally collapsed right about even with this driveway.”
  • Witness sitting in van with her family: “Then Michael turned around and started charging towards the officer and the officer still yelling stop. He did have his firearm drawn, but he was yelling stop, stop, stop. He didn’t so he started shooting him.”
  • Witness driving through the complex in a van with her family: “I thought he was trying to charge him at first because the only thing I kept saying was is he crazy? Why don’t he just stop instead of running because if somebody is pulling a gun on you, first thing I would think is to drop down on the ground and not try to look like I’m going to attack ’em, but that was my opinion.”

While other witnesses said different things, these witnesses were the most consistent with the physical evidence, which showed that all Brown’s wounds were to the front of his body, not the back.* Also, as the first WaPo link above states: “A blood spatter at the scene suggests that Brown moved about 21 feet back toward Wilson after turning around. The pattern of shell casings on the street suggest Wilson was moving backward as he fired at Brown.”

You don’t get any of that from Matt Pearce.

Does he not know that several witnesses corroborated Wilson? Or does he know, but just not want to say?

Either way, this is the sort of irresponsible distortion that helps contribute to an atmosphere of public misunderstanding of the facts — which in turn contributes to the misperception of crazy people who want to take revenge.

The stakes are high, Matt Pearce. Do better.

P.P.S. The piece also fails to mention Michael Brown’s stepfather exhorting a mob to “burn this bitch down” — or Obama dispatching representatives to Michael Brown’s funeral, suggesting that he was on the Brown family’s side, despite all the evidence that Brown caused his own death.

Is anyone surprised?

Thanks to G.H.

75 Responses to “Matt Pearce of L.A. Times Distorts Evidence of Michael Brown Shooting”

  1. I do want to note that at least one witness (Witness 40) who claimed Brown was charging is not credible, and was deemed not credible by the prosecutors (who called her anyway, and discredited her in front of the grand jury). It is not immediately apparent to me whether this witness was one of the three quoted in the post, and I want to make that clear from the outset. (I knew this when I published the post and planned this footnote at the time of publication.) Even throwing out that witness’s testimony, as the grand jury almost certainly did, there are other witnesses and physical evidence that support the result.

    Patterico (39da75)

  2. the key prosecution witness, Dorian Johnson lied, and he set the template,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  3. that was really sleazy how obama sent people to the thuggy dead guy’s funeral

    i’d forgotten about that

    happyfeet (831175)

  4. i’ts much like Cpl Ogilvy in 1984, glorious hero of the Malabar front, except it turned out not to be so, so he became an unperson,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  5. If the news media isn’t distorting news to advance their agenda they are serving as the propaganda arm of the democrat party. That’s why I cancelled all my media subscriptions several years ago. I didn’t leave them, they left me.

    Jim (84e66d)

  6. Somebody (or more correctly “some movement”) really, really, **REALLY** wants that black-vs-white dynamic, and so our bought-and-paid-for MFMSM is pushing everything it’s got into creating and maintaining that racial division.

    When the precipitating “whatever” finally happens, the “somebodies” engineering the culture-war are going to be giddy with delight. The whole freaking Big-Media Establishment will be morally (but not legally) culpable, and We-The-People will have NO WAY to call them to account for their treason.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (fb043d)

  7. I wonder what he’s written about Ezell Ford?

    askeptic (efcf22)

  8. MFM; come to pre-conceived conclusion first, then assemble narrative. It’s what the customers want and the customer is always right.

    Gazzer (c44509)

  9. Hey Patterico…does Matt Pearce have a history of reporting in a particular fashion about racial issues?

    Reporting is no longer reporting. And editorials have become propaganda sessions.

    Simon Jester (c15343)

  10. R.I.P. Donna Douglas, who played Elly May on “The Beverly Hillbillies”

    Icy (797871)

  11. L.A. Times Distorts Evidence

    unexpectedly!

    redc1c4 (2b3c9e)

  12. Every witness who said Brown had his hands up OR was shot in the back recanted. Every one of them. Some did not until confronted with the forensic evidence, but in the end, they all did.

    Brown’s partner, Dorian Johnson, who started the whole lie and is directly responsible for the initial hysteria, remains out on bail and even got a job funded by the government (for probationers and others being ‘rehabilitated’).

    Estragon (ada867)

  13. I hope PJ Media and the folks who give the Duranty award see this.

    We enjoyed the Beverly Hillbilly’s, esp. Granny
    though I guess we could have been insulted by it, as my dad and his family grew up poor in KY, and my aunt always said she identified with Elly May.

    MD in Philly, originally born in Ohio (f9371b)

  14. recanting is what you do when people find out you’re a big liar

    propaganda whore Matt Pearce has some recanting to do

    happyfeet (831175)

  15. No justice no peace! The black community is now arming themselves so they can shoot back at racism

    shooter (f6a306)

  16. May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.

    Quote accompanying Matt Pearce’s Twitter bio.

    If the “forces of evil” are getting directions from him, they most certainly are.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  17. there can be no small amount of peace without justice really

    how else would you know you live in a fascist whorestate

    happyfeet (831175)

  18. Dear Elly May. Love that woman. Backyard full of critters inspired by her.

    Max Baer Jr. last surviving Beverly Hillbilly.

    Come a listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  19. Forensics also show Brown was headed at the officer.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  20. @15- That explains how/why so many in the black community who are shot are shot by other black people; a great many of those are shot in conjunction with conflicts between young entrapaneurs over who controls the corner.

    Police officers, of any hue, are not who is shooting these guys. When the residents and their children stop shooting each other they will have peace and little need for justice (the system, that is).

    Gramps, the original (9e1415)

  21. No justice no peace! The black community is now arming themselves so they can shoot back at racism

    there’s a game plan with a very short life cycle…

    #BringItOn

    redc1c4 (269d8e)

  22. hell yeah we should have a cheer off

    happyfeet (831175)

  23. yup: we’ll shoot cheer head clean off…

    #ComeAtMeBro

    😎

    redc1c4 (269d8e)

  24. READY?

    !OK!

    happyfeet (831175)

  25. although you have to giggle at the stupidity of someone who can use the terms “black community” & “racism” in the same sentence without noticing the irony inherent in doing so.

    redc1c4 (269d8e)

  26. Perry never fails to spit out his hate.

    JD (516907)

  27. Come a listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.

    … always had a hankerin’ ta see Elly Mae in teh nude
    but in retraspec I was a vulgar li’l dude

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. Obama dispatching representatives to Michael Brown’s funeral, suggesting that he was on the Brown family’s side, despite all the evidence that Brown caused his own death.

    The most contemptible aspect of “limousine liberals” like Obama is they have the economic and social means to, in many instances — and at their leisurely choosing — stay far, far away from the Michael Browns or Trayvon Martins throughout American society. For example, Barack and Michelle sure as hell didn’t send their 2 daughters to schools where most of the other students looked like Obama’s son if he had a son.

    Mark (c160ec)

  29. …wood that is… young chub… I’s jus’ 11

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. Colonel, one of my classmates like “Jethrine” – he was a strange fellow, my classmate, that is..

    felipe (56556d)

  31. sounds like Jed the mountaineer needs him some food stamps

    well thank puritan work ethic god he’s in the right place

    get this man some forms and a clipboard

    (now that’s good eatin)

    happyfeet (831175)

  32. Was it the guy who said, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” who also said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed, but if you read the newspaper you are misinformed?”

    felipe (56556d)

  33. Will Rogers for the first
    Mark Twain for the second

    nk (dbc370)

  34. You can count on the MFM to push Teh Narrative. Every damn time.

    JD (86a5eb)

  35. Some witnesses said Pearce had his head up his ass when he wrote this article. Others told investigators that he was only sniffing his underwear to see if he had pooped his pants.

    It was a basic disagreement of fact

    nk (dbc370)

  36. stand on a dog stomp your feet start clappin got a real good feelin sumpin bad about to happen

    happyfeet (831175)

  37. red,

    I had lived my entire life up until now with no clue what that band looked like
    now I know what they look like
    but I think I still don’t have a clue…

    how’s your dad?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  38. Is Darren Wilson a public figure, whether he tried to be or not, and hence little chance of winning a libel suit?

    Even if not, I doubt he has a case,
    but, if he had money, he could bring a suit anyway and make the guy’s life difficult
    some people are known to do that, including Michael Mann
    and others who will remain nameless

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  39. Years ago, I had a patient of mine who was shot by the LAPD in a clear case of error. I pulled him through surgery and cared for him for years after that. When I moved to Orange County, he would still come down to see me and I gave him gas money to do so. I testified at his lawsuit against the LAPD and he got nothing. That was about ten years before Rodney King got millions for relatively minor injuries. My patient was a single father raising a boy about 10 and had never had any arrests. His boss kept his job for him for a year until it was apparent that his recovery from his spinal cord injury was not going to get any better.

    I get enraged at these thugs who get sympathy while a good man was crippled for life by a mistaken shooting.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  40. Probability that I can put my hands up AND charge? In either an angry or a non-angry state? I’m not saying that this is a wise thing to do. In any case, we mostly see what we expect to see; eye witnesses are, in general, not very accurate.

    htom (4ca1fa)

  41. los angeles has a date with karma Mr. Dr. K

    this is why i live in chicago

    happyfeet (831175)

  42. nk (dbc370) — 1/3/2015 @ 3:23 pm

    And I believe Jefferson said that if he had to choose between a Government without the press, or a Press without a government, he would choose the latter.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  43. Darren Wilson is a public official. He would have to prove that the truth was staring the LAT in the face and they recklessly (whatever that means) chose not to see it. He would only be entitled to actual damages (whatever that means too) and no punitive damages (which would be the appropriate remedy). The public figure thingie was an offshoot of the original public official exception, but it’s the same rule. And, as you implied, you can be an “involuntary public figure” because paparazzi know better than to photograph judges’ grandchildren picking their noses — they only do it to celebrities’ children.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. nk (dbc370) — 1/3/2015 @ 3:23 pm

    Thanks, nk. I am so forgetful lately.

    felipe (56556d)

  45. Government without the press, or a Press without a government
    If Mr. Jefferson saw the state of the two we have now, he might be looking for a third option.

    Thanks, nk. I sort of thought so.
    I think somebody who is independently wealthy should get a law degree and take up lawfare as a hobby against those who deserve it.
    I bet they could make a reality show out of it.

    It should be some ex-NFL player like Judge Alan Page, or an MMA fighter.
    Chuck Norris should have done it when he was younger,
    yeah, that would have been it.
    Who would you rather be questioned by:
    Harry Callahan
    Jack Bauer
    Chuck Norris
    Actually, I would take Norris because I think he would be predictable, but still…

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  46. And again, Obama did not send ANYONE to Thatcher’s funeral.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  47. Here is my question about distortion for the general knowledge base of the PP brain trust:
    When the usual thick (i.e., viscous) liquid honey is distorted by crystallizing, how can one reconstitute it to it’s original state?
    Usually I add a little hot water, swirl it around, let it sit, swirl it some more, etc.
    Usually (as in every time I can remember) all I get is watered down honey with crystals in the bottom.
    I have not tried to heat it in a pressure cooker, nor stick it hundreds of meters under the sea where CO2 can exist as puddles of liquid (was that here or over at PL?) to play with the pressure component of a phase diagram.
    I suggested it as a topic for my daughter’s science fair project, but she said she already had one…

    Sort of like the medicine Carafate. I forget which way it is, but if you drop the pill in water or pour water on the pill, you actually observe different phenomena; in one case the tablet disperses into a suspension, and in the other, it doesn’t do much.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  48. how can one reconstitute it to it’s original state

    set it in the sun

    the south texas sun, if you got options

    but the sun – that’s how you make honey be honey again

    happyfeet (831175)

  49. I have no clue, myself, but if happyfeet is right and you cannot find hot Texas sun in Philadelphia in January, don’t use direct heat. Use the double pot method. A saucepan with hot water into which you place a second (metal?) container with the honey.

    nk (dbc370)

  50. cheatcodes.elissa.com

    happyfeet (831175)

  51. Good job, elissa.

    I do have a 1300 watt microwave as a matter of fact. Another fact is, the first time I saw a cookbook that said “Microwave Recipes” I thought it meant from a place in the South Pacific around Tahiti.

    nk (dbc370)

  52. honey

    it’s the only song by that trampy low-rent tommy mottola-fellating nick cannon-divorcing long island chick from long island what i think is even remotely meritorious with respect to being worth remembering

    happyfeet (831175)

  53. Well, it does list it as a surprising use…
    But our honey comes in plastic bottles…so I might have to put it into another container…
    which I wouldn’t have to do with nk’s suggestion…

    Thanks all.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  54. I was told another way to fix crystallized honey is to put the jar of honey (tightly closed) in the dishwasher for a complete cycle, including letting it sit during the air dry. I don’t know if it works since I’ve thrown out too many jars of crystallized honey. Now I only buy honey when I need it and I use it quickly, so I don’t have to worry about crystals or pouring.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  55. Heloise says the dishwasher method works.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  56. Thanks. I think the dishwasher method is most similar to nk’s putting it in a container of water in a container of water on the stove.
    they all basically are saying to heat it up.
    Our “dishwasher” works as a storage cabinet,
    but our dishwasher can do one of the other methods.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  57. “..the purpose of… propaganda is not to persuade or convince…, but to humiliate.” This LAT piece works fine for that.

    The larger quote from the always thoughtful Theodore Dalrymple was at Ace of Spades HQ January 1:

    “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

    — Theodore Dalrymple

    Bill Lever (f63e39)

  58. just use it…

    honey is honey, crystals or not.

    redc1c4 (6d1848)

  59. I’ve done this more than a few times, but remember, don’t put the honey in the microwave for more than 10-15 seconds at a time… and undo the lid.. or it will explode honey all over the inside of your microwave.
    Back when I was drinking, I had a mishap with the little honey bear blowing its pointy little hat off. So then I started stabbing holes with a boning knife into the little plastic bear’s left eye for ventilation and my wife threatened to move out, which was shocking since I had no idea she was still there.

    The double pot boiling method works good, and you can also just boil water and take it off the fire and put the honey jar into the water for a minute or two

    steveg (794291)

  60. chemtrails…

    redc1c4 (dab236)

  61. I read some of the eyewitness testimony… some people who originally testified to “hands up, don’t shoot” with Brown being executed with a gunshot to the back of the head were found upon their follow up interview to be people who did not know that “eyewitness” was different than “I heard from people around here that..”
    another was gently told that the forensic evidence did not seem to be supporting a close up coup d’ grace to the back of the head and did they want to shake their memory a little bit more and the “witness” asked if it was ok to leave.

    steveg (794291)

  62. PBS had done a very limited, inaccurate “chart” re: testimony in the Mike Brown case. On Conservative Treehouse and other sites, I saw a “corrected” version. A Twitter user DumbScribblyUnctious (@ScriblyUnctious) apparently created the “correction” and has now updated it with recent releases. It can be viewed at http://t.co/xyatCl2UwA . It’s a handy reference.

    Sue (214911)

  63. 59. Perspicuity. The antinomies that ‘the police exist to protect the citizenry’ over and against ‘the lives of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice had value that was lost thru police carelessness’ are, in fact, lies intended io confuse, distract and occupy the uninitiate.

    The police act as a deterrent to agents of disorder, they represent the interests of the government pursuing its enemies. Garner for one had no value to the state and represented only costs.

    The false narrative that the police need retraining is simply a naked power play coordinated by the Bolsheviks, pursued by the Mensheviks using the feral entitlement proletariat.

    The irony is the latter two are thoroughly expendable.

    DNF (6498ab)

  64. 65. A veritable treasure.

    DNF (6498ab)

  65. she always drives it out of the park:

    http://therightscoop.com/mr-mayor-this-is-the-worst-of-times-judge-jeanine-dismantles-deblasio-on-threats-to-police/

    the so called blue flu is challenged here.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  66. R.I.P. Stuart Scott, anchorman extraordinaire for ESPN

    Icy (691cff)

  67. 8. Gazzer (c44509) — 1/3/2015 @ 12:15 pm

    MFM; come to pre-conceived conclusion first, then assemble narrative.

    The preconceived conclusion is: There’s merit on both sides of the argument.

    That is, some say the death of Michael Brown was a wanton killing, some say it was not. With the evidence being tilted so it looks more likely that it was.

    (But not definitively, because then the newspaper should editorialize against St Louis law enforcement, and also maybe President Baack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. So there has got to be some kind of a case for the defense.)

    Sammy Finkelman (6ee5be)

  68. A Government without the press = Syria, circa 1960-2011.

    A Press without a government = Lebanon 1974-1991.

    Sammy Finkelman (6ee5be)

  69. 40. Somebody said the other day that (I think his uncle) was beaten by a policeman in Suffolk County in 1972, who was anti-semitic or indicated he was or something like that. There was some kind of a lawsuit, but Judge Jacob Mishler sided with the policeman saying to their lawyers that they were trying to use the fact he was of the same religion, and he wasn’t going to let that happen.

    The uncle(?) also died a couple of months later. I assume he would have been in his 50s.

    I don’t any know more about this.

    Nobody can be given an all clear in advance.

    Sammy Finkelman (6ee5be)

  70. narciso (ee1f88) — 1/4/2015 @ 6:21 am

    Always follow links from narciso.
    I don’t know whether to be encouraged that somebody was paying attention to rip that nonsense apart,
    or to be irate that the nonsense was there to be ripped.
    I guess I can be both.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  71. Latest Walter Duranty wannabe, Mike Pearce and Tinseltown Pravda, all the disinformation fit to fan the flames of insurrection, spread racial hatred, subvert the rule of law, divide the nation, and in the unbroken tradition of greedy self-serving yellow journalism – fleece those stupid enough to pay for the privilege of being deceived and manipulated by low-down belly crawling liars and bigots. Caveat emptor!

    ropelight (d138e4)

  72. Patterico: Is anyone surprised?

    This misdescription of the balance of the evidence on the Michael Brown case happens every place.

    Op-ed column in the New York Times today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/opinion/charles-blow-privilege-of-arrest-without-incident.html

    Michael Brown was unarmed. (Some witnesses in Ferguson, Mo., say he had his hands up. Others say he charged an officer.)

    He adds that Eric Garner was unarmed.

    He also wasn’t shot.

    He mentions Tamir Rice didn’t shoot anyone. Correct. The policeman acted (and maybe arrived) too quickly without really undersdtanding the situation.

    He mentions John Crawford, who had picked up a air rifle from a store shelf in a Walmart in Ohio, and got killed after some fool phoned the police.

    He even includes the person who aimed a gun at a policeman but didn’t fire it.

    He contrasts this with a case of a shooter in Chattanooga, Tennessee, weraring body armor, but who got arrested peacefully. This, he says,, was because she was a woman, aged 45 and white.

    But the police actually would probably have been within their rights in killing her. Se he had pointed the gun at people, and fired shots into vehicles.

    It might be that, at the first sign of police, she gave up.

    What he’s pverlloking is that it’s actually pretty universal police policy to give people, no matter what they did until then, some possibility of surrender. They only don’t do this for members of al Qaeda, and even there they pretend to. (now people who don’t feel they did something wrong, or don’t feel they are threatening anybody, are not so apt to surrender quickly.)

    Or it might be yes, because she was a woman over 40, and not black, they anticipated less violence from her, and went a little bit beyond the call of duty.

    So what does he want, they should shoot more white people, too??

    Sammy Finkelman (6ee5be)


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