Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Not True Per Witness

Michael Brown shooting protesters

Multiple sites radiating from St. Louis and beyond are reporting that a witness to the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson is directly contradicting the popular narrative of what happened that afternoon.  Legal Insurrection has the most complete list of details:

  • Officer Wilson did not fire while Brown was moving away from him, but only when Brown turned back towards him.

  • Brown motioned with his arms out to his sides, but never raised them high.

  • Brown continued to advance on Wilson despite repeated orders to stop.

  • When Wilson fired his last rounds Brown was only ~20 feet away (those of you familiar with the Tueller drill understand the tactical implications of that distance, although this witness almost certainly did not).

  • Brown’s friend and criminal cohort Dorian Johnson took off running when the first round was fired inside Wilson’s police vehicle (thus casting further doubt on his testimony of later events, as if further doubt was needed).

  • He saw a struggle inside the patrol car, and saw Wilson’s hat fly off.

  • A shot was heard, at which point Brown ran, followed by Wilson (thus measurements of Brown’s body from Wilson’s vehicle are not likely representative of the distance between the men when Wilson fired).

  • Wilson, gun drawn, shouted repeatedly at Brown to stop his flight.

  • Brown stopped, mumbled something inaudible, and began advancing on Wilson, despite Wilson having his gun in hand.

  • Wilson again ordered Brown to stop, and fired three shots.

  • Brown staggered, apparently from being struck by one or more rounds, then continued to advance on Wilson.

  • Wilson fired four more rounds, the last of which discharged as Brown was falling.

This account echoes what other witnesses have said as well as the evidence that has been presented thus far.  First hand accounts can differ, and as a person who has acted as a witness in a police involved incident I can say this, because memory is a tricky thing.  Sometimes the brain says you’ve seen one thing, when something else actually occurred.

Why this is news in a case that really should be cut and dried under Missouri state law (not only was it self-defense, but in Missouri we have a law in place that makes it very difficult to convict police officers who are involved in such incidents while in the line of duty) is plain and simply because of the publicity.  Publicity that has done no one any good.  The Ferguson Market is now closed because the owners would not allow their customers to be harassed.  Police in all municipalities are having a harder time doing their jobs because those who seek to challenge them think it is now their right to do so.  The world thinks St. Louis is a war zone, when it really isn’t.  And when the grand jury hands down no indictment for the officer, if the threats become reality, another back from the grave victory story for a town, will instead have an epitaph.

All because some Americans are more than willing to believe that a police officer would kill a man in cold blood while on duty.

There are more details on the legal questions at Legal Insurrection.  Local reporting is most thoroughly covered at StLToday.com.




About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.