About Ferguson, the Post Says: Oops, Never Mind

Yesterday the Washington Post reported on leaks from the grand jury investigating the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as recently-released autopsy results. The bottom line is that the evidence, including both eyewitness testimony and physical evidence, supports the conclusion that officer Darren Wilson acted in self-defense:

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body. …

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which cast Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life….

Experts told the newspaper that Brown was first shot at close range and may have been reaching for Wilson’s weapon while the officer was still in his vehicle and Brown was standing at the driver’s side window. The autopsy found material “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm” in a wound on Brown’s thumb, the autopsy says.

Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco who reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch, said it “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”

Melinek, who is not involved in the investigation, said the autopsy did not support those who claim Brown was attempting to flee or surrender when Wilson shot him in the street.

None of this should be surprising. It was always highly unlikely that the police officer gunned down Brown for no apparent reason. I was, however, a little taken aback by this:

Jurors have also been provided with the St. Louis County autopsy report, including toxicology test results for Brown that show he had levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. The Post’s sources said the levels in Brown’s body may have been high enough to trigger hallucinations.

Reefer madness? Perhaps so: marijuana is reportedly much more potent today than it was decades ago, when it gained the reputation of being relatively harmless. Hallucinations aside, Brown appeared belligerent on video as he was robbing a convenience store a few minutes before his encounter with Officer Wilson, and it appears that his belligerence may have carried over to that fatal incident.

This is unfortunate, to say the least, but not surprising:

Seven or eight African American eyewitnesses have provided testimony consistent with Wilson’s account, but none of them have spoken publicly out of fear for their safety, The Washington Post’s sources said.

A lot of money and power are at stake in false liberal narratives like the Michael Brown story, and truth can’t be allowed to stand in the way.

Why is this information finally coming out now? Because the grand jury that has been hearing evidence will soon conclude, in all likelihood, that Officer Wilson should not be criminally charged. The current publicity is intended to prepare the public for that result:

Tim Fitch, a former St. Louis County police chief, said there are benefits to leaking crucial information to the public ahead of a grand jury announcement.

“I think it’s good to get some accurate information out there. That way on game day, it’s not a surprise to people,” said Fitch, who retired last year from the county police department, which is conducting the investigation into Wilson.

Still, I fault the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of the Brown affair. While Darren Wilson can’t be blamed for not wanting to make public statements while he was subject to a criminal investigation, I think the police department could have released more information so as to make it clear that Wilson believed he acted reasonably in self-defense, and why the department shared that belief. Michael Brown mythology has been circulating for so long that at this point, it won’t be possible to eradicate it.

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