Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2020

Prosecuting Attorney Will Not Bring Charges Against Former Ferguson Cop

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:29 pm



[guest post by Dana]

After a five month review of the case, it was announced by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell that no charges will be filed against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson:

The prosecutor for St. Louis County on Thursday said his office will not bring charges against Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in an incident that helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement, citing a lack of concrete evidence to charge Wilson criminally in Brown’s 2014 death.

“Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis’s history, the question to this office is a simple one: Could we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law? After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did,” Wesley Bell said in a Thursday news conference, adding that his heart “breaks” for Brown’s parents, who he said had asked him to revisit the case.

“I also want to be clear that our investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson. The question of whether we can prove a case at trial is different than clearing him of any and all wrongdoing,” said Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, who won his 2018 election largely based on voters’ rejection of his predecessor’s handling of the Brown shooting.

Wesley Bell was elected, in great part, because of how his predecessor had handled the Brown case. He campaigned on criminal justice reforms, and fulfilled his campaign promise to reopen the investigation into Brown’s death. In spite of Bell’s decision, he nonetheless believes that Wilson could have avoided killing Brown altogether:

Still, despite his and the DOJ’s findings of no clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Bell said that Wilson could have handled the situation differently and avoided killing Brown.

“There are so many points at which Darren Wilson could have handled the situation differently. And if he had, Michael Brown might still be alive. But that is not the question before us. The only question is whether we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred. The answer to that question is no,” Bell said.

Upon hearing the announcement, activist groups in Ferguson went after Bell while offering support to Brown’s parents:

…activist Tory Russell, 36, wearing a T-shirt that said “Wesley Bell doesn’t care about Black people” berated Bell for the decision, calling his office corrupt for hiring “dirty cops” and telling him he wouldn’t get reelected.

“We got Bob McCulloch out only to replace him with the Black Bob McCulloch,” Russell, who is Black, said in an interview after the announcement. “He just dresses nicer. He’s Black. That’s it. That’s what we got. That’s all it is, is injustice. All it is is injustice dressed up in Blackface.”

In a joint statement late Thursday, more than a dozen area social justice and civil rights groups — including Forward Through Ferguson, ArchCity Defenders and Metropolitan Congregations United — said Bell’s decision “unearthed painful memories and reopened still-unhealed wounds.”

”Today, our hearts go out to the family of Michael Brown Jr.,” the statement reads. “We stand in solidarity with Lezley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., who are just days away from six years without their beloved child. We hope that they will be enveloped by a community of love and support to face yet another moment of heartbreak and disappointment.“

Although privately informed by Bell of his decision, Brown’s parents have not made a public statement.

–Dana

17 Responses to “Prosecuting Attorney Will Not Bring Charges Against Former Ferguson Cop”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (292df6)

  2. I initially thought this was from an article from six years ago because the DOJ settled the matter way back in March 2015, which I wrote about here: http://www.theforvm *dot* org/ferguson-and-us-justice-department
    To put it undiplomatically, Michael Brown was a dumbass thug who made multiple dumbass decisions, and the result proved fatal for him.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  3. Bell, who is black, campaigned heavily on not being McCullough (his white predecessor), and promising to institute justice reforms, as well as reopen the investigation. I wonder if he didn’t also tacitly imply that there would be a different outcome under his watch? I don’t know that he did, but I wonder about it.

    Dana (292df6)

  4. “I also want to be clear that our investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson.“

    This weasel would’ve fit right in on Mueller’s team.

    beer ‘n pretzels (005b09)

  5. The DOJ report on all the systemic racism in Ferguson was scathing, but it also clearly exonerated Officer Wilson. Bell should have just focused on the systemic racism part instead of reopening the Wilson can o’ worms and potentially overturning Holder, but I guess he was trying to get elected. Wilson can feel relieved that he was cleared three times over, but facing indictment (again) for something that happened six years ago must have been stressful. And Kamala still owes Wilson an apology for saying he murdered Brown.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  6. Yes, well I’m sure they would have indicted Wilson for any crime, if there’s was even the SLIGHTEST chance of being able to win or even be credible. As for his ludicrous comment about how Wilson didn’t have to kill Mr. Brown, well, we can be 100% right after the fact, and be immensely courageous and clear thinking, when we’re NOT ACTUALLY THERE.

    We ask people to put their lives on the line and risk bodily injury as Police Officer. As a result, we don’t require them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there no other way to stop Brown without shooting him. We only require that there’s a reasonable use of force.

    Personally, if I was a police officer in that Missouri county, I would do my duty and that’s it. I certainly would not risk my job, let alone my life to stop a dangerous felon, since I might have to use deadly force and then…

    Hey, if more innocents get harmed, well they asked for it. They’d rather have the Mr. Brown’s out stealing and doing whatever.

    rcocean (fcc23e)

  7. Its like Seattle and Portland. the votes in those two cities seem to like violence, protests, Chaz zones, etc. since they keep electing Leftists who permit and encourage it. If they don’t like, they’d be banging down the doors of the Mayor’s demanding action. Instead, they all seem to be pretty cool with it. Its like the Calf lockdown. Not a peep from anyone. I suspect Newsome will be re-elected in a landslide.

    rcocean (fcc23e)

  8. What they said:

    Elizabeth Warren:

    5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.

    Kamala Harris:

    Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.

    The DOJ report in 2015:

    As detailed throughout this report, the evidence does not establish that the shots fired by Wilson were objectively unreasonable under federal law. The physical evidence establishes that Wilson shot Brown once in the hand, at close range, while Wilson sat in his police SUV, struggling with Brown for control of Wilson’s gun. Wilson then shot Brown several more times from a distance of at least two feet after Brown ran away from Wilson and then turned and faced him. There are no witness accounts that federal prosecutors, and likewise a jury, would credit to support the conclusion that Wilson fired at Brown from behind. With the exception of the two wounds to Brown’s right arm, which indicate neither bullet trajectory nor the direction in which Brown was moving when he was struck, the medical examiners’ reports are in agreement that the entry wounds from the latter gunshots were to the front of Brown’s body, establishing that Brown was facing Wilson when these shots were fired. This includes the fatal shot to the top of Brown’s head. The physical evidence also establishes that Brown moved forward toward Wilson after he turned around to face him. The physical evidence is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses.

    Multiple credible witnesses corroborate virtually every material aspect of Wilson’s account and are consistent with the physical evidence. Even if the evidence established that Wilson’s actions were unreasonable, the government would also have to prove that Wilson acted willfully, i.e. that he acted with a specific intent to violate the law. As discussed above, Wilson’s stated intent for shooting Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under Section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never punched and grabbed Wilson at the SUV, never struggled with Wilson over the gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Not only do eyewitnesses and physical evidence corroborate Wilson’s account, but there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s perception that Brown posed a threat to Wilson as Brown advanced toward him.

    Dana (292df6)

  9. Final comment: I did a double take when i saw the headline/post. I thought, did I get my dates mixed up? Wasn’t this over in 2016? That the legal system would STILL be reviewing this after 5 years is simply amazing. But it just shows you how the LEFT NEVER GIVES UP. EVER. Meanwhile, the right-center can’t even remember how someone screwed them over yesterday. They’re so eager to forgive and forget, you wonder why they get upset in the first place.

    rcocean (fcc23e)

  10. @9 Mostly is shows that Bell is an honest actor. This will cost him politically among his own base, but he still made the decision he thought was right.

    Nic (896fdf)

  11. I didn’t now this was still a investigation. But Obama’s Justice Department already said it was a hoax, so why was this still going on?

    https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/doj_report_on_shooting_of_michael_brown_1.pdf

    Although no eyewitnesses directly corroborate Wilson’s account of Brown’s attempt to gain control of the gun, there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s account of what occurred inside the SUV. Some witnesses claim that Brown’s arms were never inside the SUV.

    However, as discussed later in this report, those witness accounts could not be relied upon in a
    prosecution because credible witness accounts and physical and forensic evidence, i.e. Brown’s
    DNA inside the SUV and on Wilson’s shirt collar and the bullet trajectory and close-range
    gunshot wound to Brown’s hand, establish that Brown’s arms and/or torso were inside the SUV….

    ….Brown ran at least 180 feet away from the SUV, as verified by the location of bloodstains
    on the roadway, which DNA analysis confirms was Brown’s blood. Brown then turned around
    and came back toward Wilson, falling to his death approximately 21.6 feet west of the blood in
    the roadway. Those witness accounts stating that Brown never moved back toward Wilson could
    not be relied upon in a prosecution because their accounts cannot be reconciled with the DNA
    bloodstain evidence and other credible witness accounts…

    ….Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in
    an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not
    support a prosecution of Wilson. As detailed throughout this report, some of those accounts are
    inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those
    accounts are materially inconsistent with that witness’s own prior statements with no
    explanation, credible for otherwise, as to why those accounts changed over time. Certain other
    witnesses who originally stated Brown had his hands up in surrender recanted their original
    accounts, admitting that they did not witness the shooting or parts of it, despite what they
    initially reported either to federal or local law enforcement or to the media. Prosecutors did not
    rely on those accounts when making a prosecutive decision.

    And John Lewis did not mention it in his prepared text for his funeral, so I think he knew that was very problematic.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/john-lewis-civil-rights-america.html

    While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me….

    Sammy Finkelman (fe6a9b)

  12. Nic (896fdf) — 7/31/2020 @ 1:32 pm

    . This will cost him politically among his own base, but he still made the decision he thought was right.

    Obama was more politic the way he did it. First he had another report issued about a different problem in Ferguson, Missouri.

    He let them down so gently, nobody even noticed.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe6a9b)

  13. “Bell should have just focused on the systemic racism part instead of reopening the Wilson can o’ worms”

    “Systemic racism” isn’t real, Paul. It’s an imaginary friend adults invent to make themselves feel good about the consequences of uncomfortable demographic realities, like Obama’s and McCain’s old pal “Moderate Islam.”

    Also it was very clearly invented around 2019 to sell riot gear:

    https://twitter.com/ZachG932/status/1288265290330058752

    Informed Sanikah (6fbc63)

  14. So officer Wilson might have done things differently and Michael Brown might still be alive. Now list all the things that Michael Brown could have done differently to preserve his own life. That list will dwarf that of the police officer.

    Gary Hoffman (2a3a16)

  15. There is no such thing as systemic racism. It’s a made up tool to bludgeon those who do not submit to the left.

    Officer Wilson was well within his rights to defend himself. He has a right to go home to his family at the end of the day, even in a horrific situation where he has to shoot someone in the line of duty.

    Michael Brown was a bad man who committed many bad acts that led to his death. He is responsible for his own death.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  16. @14 Good point.

    norcal (a5428a)

  17. Thank you for the nice article. I hope to see more updates from you.

    celebrity birthdays (81eade)

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