For a while, it seems as if the killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, had legs. It remains on our radar with images of residents and media corralled like vermin in their own country, a sight that seemed to finally resonate with people who were disinclined to sprain a synapse thinking unhappy thoughts.
But the legs finally gave out. So what if the revelation of the purported theft of Swisher Sweets because of so many FOIA requests was a lie? So what if the cop’s story came via unnamed (except for “Joise”), unknown witnesses, whose story was served up a call-in to a talk show, as opposed to named, scrutinized witnesses? It was sufficient to blunt our vision and concern. And really, that was all that was needed to take our focus off Michael Brown, the armed troops of police bringing order back to Ferguson and the causes of misery in the suburbs of St. Louis.
Plus, there was a new iPhone coming out.
Two more witnesses have come forward. Did you know about that? Now that you do, do you care?
Two men, shocked at what they saw, describe an unarmed teenager with his hands up in the air as he’s gunned down by a police officer.
They were contractors doing construction work in Ferguson, Missouri, on the day Michael Brown was killed.
And the men, who asked not to be identified after CNN contacted them, said they were about 50 feet away from Officer Darren Wilson when he opened fire.
An exclusive video captures their reactions during the moments just after the shooting.
The point of the video immediately after Michael Brown’s killing is to show their reaction while they were still under the influence of the shock. It’s akin to an “excited utterance,” an exception to the evidentiary rule that precludes hearsay from being admitted at trial. The reason it’s an exception is that it was made so soon after a startling event that the person uttering the words wouldn’t have the time to consider an improper reason to construct a false narrative. In other words, the law deems it sufficiently reliable that it could be used as evidence.
“He had his f**n hands up,” one of the men says in the video.
The man told CNN he heard one gunshot, then another shot about 30 seconds later.
“The cop didn’t say get on the ground. He just kept shooting,” the man said.
That same witness described the gruesome scene, saying he saw Brown’s “brains come out of his head,” again stating, “his hands were up.”
CNN has the video, and you can watch Anderson Cooper’s report about it. But most of you won’t, because there is little reason to spend your valuable time watching old news. The killing of Michael Brown, the seizure of Ferguson, is old news.
I was asked a question on tweeter the other day about how long it would take for the local prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, to present the case against Police Officer Darren Wilson, and how long a grand jury term lasts before they all go home. It’s a question that can’t be easily answered, but is also unlikely to matter.
The prosecutor’s office is asking for patience as forensics and autopsy evidence are presented to the grand jury, which is meeting four to eight hours each Wednesday. Witness testimony is still being gathered, Magee said.
Two attorneys at the prosecutor’s office, Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley, are presenting the evidence to the grand jury, Magee said. Alizadeh, with 26 years on the job, including 22 murder cases, is leading the presentation.
“People just need to wait,” Magee said. “People are still coming forward and we are still waiting for the investigation to be completed.”
Charges are brought directly when there is a “clear-cut probable cause,” Magee said. adding that there is no such clarity in the Brown shooting.
This sounds about right, but it’s nonsense. If this was true for all, it should be true for Wilson. But it’s not true for all. If it had been you, or me, we would have been arrested immediately and the grand jury presentation would have been over in an hour or two. The rest would be fleshed out later. Still, it makes for a great story to soothe concerns, as if the prosecution is just trying to be thorough and fair. Who can argue with thorough or fair?
The locals in Ferguson still protest. They demand a special prosecutor because nobody around there trusts McCulloch, perhaps because he loves his cops, or perhaps because he’s handled this case differently from the others.
In the 33 cases prosecuted by McCulloch’s office, police officers were charged with a range of crimes that included allegations of rape, assault and murder. In most of those cases, McCulloch’s office leveled charges directly and did not take the cases to a grand jury.
Those 33 cases, spanning 23 years, have never included an officer killing a suspect. Certainly, they have never included a case as volatile as this, or as subject to national scrutiny. But then, national scrutiny is a fragile thing.
Protests have been persistent but less violent in recent weeks – until Wednesday, when about three dozen protesters were arrested after demonstrators tried to block a U.S. highway through St. Louis and clashed with police.
A month ago, this would have been big news. Now, it’s old news. It’s very hard to sustain interest, to maintain focus, as time goes by. So what did you think of that new iWatch?