Ferguson, Missouri

Come here to talk about topics that are not related to development, or even Kansas City.
User avatar
warwickland
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4823
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:29 pm
Location: University City, MO

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by warwickland » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:41 pm

chrizow wrote:we'll be kicking it in wildwood for thanksgiving. shit's going to get live. there is a bar near my brother's house that is just called BAR.
i just giggled and smacked my forehead with my palm. #westcountylyfe

this area of the metro east is probably like what wildwood was like in 1965.

User avatar
chrizow
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17064
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2003 8:43 am

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by chrizow » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:47 pm

Image

User avatar
warwickland
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4823
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:29 pm
Location: University City, MO

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by warwickland » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:53 pm

that is excellent.

fyi if anyone is eastbound in a car on I-70, there's a completely unreasonable backup stretching between warrenton all the way to wentzville, for whatever reason.

edit: there are numerous backups on 70 in the WESTPLEX AND BEYOND.

PLEASE TUNE YOUR RADIO TO:

Image
http://viperrocks.com

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:19 pm

I'm very interested to read the witness statements to see what they actually said, because the only two specific examples of conflict that he cited were that some witnesses apparently claimed Wilson came up on Brown already on the ground and fired a bunch of rounds into him (?????, never heard this one before), and your favorite bit that some witnesses thought he'd been hit in the back and then "changed their stories" when the autopsy came out (which we've been over again and again, so not gonna rehash it once more). Do they conflict with each other or with the physical evidence on any substantive matters? I'm also interested to see to what extent, if any, any of the prominent witnesses changed their stories, including admitting that they didn't actually see the events unfold. I specify "prominent," meaning the big ones we already knew about, because McCulloch clearly cast a wide net if he has witnesses saying Wilson walked up on Brown's body and pumped bullets into him on the ground, and because the ones we already knew about all claim to have had pretty good views of the shooting. I started to look into this last night, but unfortunately the transcript is nearly 5,000 pages long so it takes time. I skimmed through the first 550 or so, which left me in the middle of Dorian Johnson's testimony (which, for what it's worth, seemed unchanged from what I recall him saying before, but much more detailed here).
I am not sure of the leanings of the Washington Post but here is "a" summary of witness testimony.
Inconsistency is the only constant in Ferguson case

The witnesses were seizing a midsummer Saturday. They were waking up from naps after leisurely breakfasts. They were fixing gutters and heading to their afternoon jobs. They were listening to gospel music in their cars. And then came the screech of tires that snapped their attention to the street.

One image is consistent in their recollections: a young black man in yellow socks in a confrontation with a white police officer driving a police SUV.

But no clear picture of what truly transpired emerges from thousands of pages of grand jury testimony released this week by St. Louis County prosecutors. The witness accounts provide new and often conflicting details about what happened leading up to the moment when police officer Darren Wilson shot dead 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

After a three-month investigation involving 60 witnesses and 70 hours of testimony, the grand jury found Monday that there was insufficient evidence to charge Wilson with a crime.

Overall, the witnesses provided a consistent account of many of the events surrounding the Aug. 9 encounter, which began through the window of the SUV and ended with Brown dead in the street.

But the testimony fails to definitively clarify some of the most crucial details of the interaction between Wilson and Brown that day. Witnesses differed on critical aspects of the physical struggle, as well as what Brown was doing with his hands — whether he had them up in surrender as his supporters have insisted — when the fatal bullets struck.

The inconsistencies in a few cases stemmed from efforts by witnesses to mislead. But in other instances, it was more likely natural confusion, the result of people going about their day when suddenly a startling narrative unfolded.
...
For the grand jurors, the conflicting statements may have provided a boost to Wilson’s credibility or made it difficult to conclude there was probable cause, which is required for sending a case to trial.
...
“Initially, um, I thought wow, um, did he have to use force on him?” one male witness told detectives in a recorded interview that was played to jurors. “And after thinking about it and reviewing everything and putting myself in the police officer’s shoes, I feel like he handled the situation correct force-wise.”

But others, in equally stark terms, offered entirely different versions. “The officer unloaded on him,” another witness told the grand jury. “I mean, he fired four or five shots in rapid succession. He gunned him down.”

Said another, “And the police just stand over him and shot him like he playing darts at a board.”
...
The grand jury transcripts show prosecutors, who led the inquiry, grilling eyewitnesses, testing their memories and asking for minute details. Often the specifics clearly recalled by one were entirely at odds with the clear memories of another.

For example, some described a physical struggle inside the SUV, while at least one witness said the whole conflict took place entirely outside. Some said Brown, after spinning around to face Wilson, staggered toward him, while others described it as a “charge.” While some recounted that Brown had his hands up in surrender when he was killed, others described his hands as clutching his torso or hovering at shoulder-level.
...
Some, however, told entirely contradictory or made-up stories and were called out by prosecutors, who went to great lengths to discredit some witnesses.

One woman told an elaborate story about driving around looking for a friend’s apartment when she pulled into a parking lot to ask for directions. She said she was there in time to see Brown “lunging” into the car to his waist, she said. Later, she said, Wilson had his gun drawn and pointed at Brown. That’s when “Brown started to charge . . . kind of like a football player, like this, with his hands out,” she said, clenching her fists.

But federal prosecutors later discredited the woman, demanding to know the spelling of the friend’s name and asking to look at her e-mail records to prove that she had written a message to the friend. The prosecutors then returned from a break to say they viewed her computer search history, finding suspicious searches, and that there was no report of a car matching hers near the scene of the crime.

One witness described Brown facing the officer on his knees and had previously said he heard Brown pleading for his life. “What you are saying you saw isn’t forensically possible based on the evidence,” a prosecutor said. The witness later asked to leave.

A woman who lives in the Canfield Green apartment complex gave two statements to police but later told the grand jury she didn’t see the shooting.

“The statement that I made, it was with what my boyfriend . . . saw,” she admitted. “I just felt like I want to be part of something.”

One witness who had spent the morning having breakfast with his family and taking a nap testified that he watched most of the events from his second-floor apartment. The prosecutors asked in painstaking detail how the police car was oriented and where Brown’s body fell. But after the witness laid out his story, they presented him with photos and diagrams that apparently conflicted with his recollection.

“I was there,” the witness said.

“I know you were there,” the prosecutor said. “But people remember things differently or they see things from a different perspective. Distances are hard to judge.”
Yep, they would have made great witnesses at a trial. Great for which side I am not sure.

One thing a prosecutor has to be aware of does a witness help or hurt a case during a trial. And I would imagine many of these witnesses would not have helped a prosecutor's case. And a prosecutor has to present some physical evidence at a trial so does it make sense to call a witness that contradicts your evidence?

I guess people would want a show trial but how many of these witnesses would actually be called to testify? And if they weren't called to testify I can just see all of the conspiracy theorists talking about all the evidence that wasn't presented or ignored by the prosecution.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:39 pm

I am skeptical that the evidence could have supported a conviction. But letting a prosecutor with a questionable appearance of impartiality conduct a farce of a grand jury did nothing to further the course of justice. He should have recused himself in favor of a special prosecutor or put forth his best case in a public trial. There may still have been riots but the judicial process would have come away with a lot less stink than the stinking dump Robert mcCulloch took on this case.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:48 pm

I don't disagree but we have what we have. Will be interesting what happens at the federal level with regards to charges for Wilson. Also, up-in-the-air is a civil lawsuit but even that may not turn out well given the witnesses so far.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:51 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote:I don't disagree but we have what we have. Will be interesting what happens at the federal level with regards to charges for Wilson. Also, up-in-the-air is a civil lawsuit but even that may not turn out well given the witnesses so far.
Zero chance on fed charges. No way they can prove the mens rea.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:01 pm

If the grand jury was conducted by a special prosecutor would the outcome be any different? Still would have had conflicting witness testimony between the witnesses and the physical evidence. That is the major problem with this case - the witnesses.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:11 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote:If the grand jury was conducted by a special prosecutor would the outcome be any different? Still would have had conflicting witness testimony between the witnesses and the physical evidence. That is the major problem with this case - the witnesses.
No other prosecutor would have laid out all that damaging evidence to a grand jury. He could have had an indictment in under an hour, warts and all. Or if he had a nutsack, he could have just filed charges. The only plausible explanation for that absurd clown show was maximum ass covering for the local cop shop. They get the superficial appearance of a judicial process but with the case entirely presented by a friendly hand, all behind closed doors.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:08 pm

So there is an indictment, given the evidence and witness statements it probably wouldn't have gone to trial. From what I can tell the problem with the witness statements isn't that they disagreed with Wilson's statement they disagreed with themselves and with the physical evidence. And a prosecutor wouldn't have brought those witnesses to the stand.

The prosecutor has to share evidence with the defense, warts and all, before the trial and the defense would have had a field day with those witnesses.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:40 pm

That's exactly what this case needed. The public needed to see that the witnesses sucked, not just have Robert McCulloch stand at a podium and lecture them that the witnesses sucked. As I said, the result is probably an acquittal, but this was too important a case not to have a public trial. The prosecutor's shenanigans are the reason.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:28 pm

The problem is you probably wouldn't have had a trial. By the time they went through the pre-trial motions the judge would have either dismissed the case or the prosecution drop it.

For those who thought justice would only come with a conviction the above would not have satisfied them. The criminal system was not the best way to handle this case, too high of a burden of proof especially when the prosecution has to prove its case and being so those witnesses would not have been called to testify if there was a trial. The best course for justice for the Brown family is in the civil courts. There Wilson has to justify his actions and the questionable witnesses are not a factor.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:41 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote:The problem is you probably wouldn't have had a trial. By the time they went through the pre-trial motions the judge would have either dismissed the case or the prosecution drop it.
What exactly are you basing that on? There is still a dead, unarmed kid with a lot of bullet holes under very sketchy circumstances. The bar for proceeding to trial isn't as high as you or McCulloch make it out to be.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:10 pm

But as they go through the physical evidence before the trial and compare that to statements the case becomes weaker and weaker, and then nothing left - something the defense would find out before the trial.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:31 pm

You must have really been impressed with McCulloch's show if you came away with the idea that there was absolutely nothing to the prosecution's case. There are still a lot of components to the forensic reports that are damaging to Wilson. The incident at the quick shop may well have been inadmissable. And don't forget that the defense's argument would have likely required the defendent himself testifying, since his word is pretty key to the refutation, always a dangeroous proposition. A skilled prosecutor may even have gotten him to slip into statements displaying some of the animus he let show in his interview.

McCulloch presented the defense's case; we haven't really seen what sort of picture an actual prosecutor could have made.

mean
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 10874
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2003 9:00 am
Location: Historic Northeast

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by mean » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:07 pm

I agree that McCulloch should have recused himself--as has probably been mentioned previously, the guy's dad was apparently a cop who got killed by a black guy, and much of his family are cops or work/worked for a PD in some capacity. It's not a good look for him to take this case, and it seems pretty clear that the grand jury proceedings he orchestrated were a shit show wherein the prosecuting attorney's office acted more like it was defending Wilson than legitimately attempting to decide whether to bring charges.

That said, I looked up the MO statutes that describe when lethal force by LEOs is legal, and there is absolutely nothing in there that I could find to justify attempting to prosecute Wilson. The most relevant bit of chapter 536 which restricts when lethal force may be used is:
3. A law enforcement officer in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody is justified in using deadly force only

(1) When such is authorized under other sections of this chapter; or

(2) When he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested

(a) Has committed or attempted to commit a felony
So the only hurdles Wilson has to clear to kill Mike Brown with impunity are that he must "reasonably believe" that the use of deadly force is necessary to effect the arrest, and he must "reasonably believe" that Mike Brown committed or attempted to commit a felony. That's it. That is not exactly a tall order, since Wilson could be said to "reasonably believe" any number of things which may or may not be true. What is "reasonable" to believe anyway? It is entirely subjective, and whether an act is or is not a crime should probably not be subjective.

User avatar
grovester
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3955
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:30 pm
Location: KC Metro

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by grovester » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:45 pm

Let's hope that statue gets looked at , but not likely.

My comment to my bro-in-law police officer:

He probably had to shoot the guy, but no way he had to shoot the guy to death.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:08 am

Let's hope that statue gets looked at , but not likely.
It's not just state law but various US Supreme Court decisions. One such article:

http://www.thenation.com/article/190937 ... indict-cop -
Chapter 563 of the Missouri Revised Statutes grants a lot of discretion to officers of the law to wield deadly force, to the horror of many observers swooping in to the Ferguson story. The statute authorizes deadly force “in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody” if the officer “reasonably believes” it is necessary in order to “to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested has committed or attempted to commit a felony…or may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”

But this law is not an outlier, and is fully in sync with Supreme Court jurisprudence. The legal standard authorizing deadly force is something called “objective reasonableness.”

This standard originates in the 1985 case of Tennessee v. Garner, which appeared at first to tighten restrictions on the police use of deadly force. The case involved a Memphis cop, Elton Hymon, who shot dead one Edward Garner: 15 years old, black and unarmed. Garner had just burgled a house, grabbing a ring and ten bucks. The US Supreme Court ruled that a police officer, henceforth, could use deadly force only if he “has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” The ruling required that the use of force be “objectively reasonable.” How this reasonableness should be determined was established in a 1989 case, Graham v. Connor: severity of the crime, whether the suspect is resisting or trying to escape and above all, whether the suspect posed an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others. All this appeared to restrict police violence—even if, in the end, Officer Hymon was never criminally charged for fatally shooting Edward Garner.

“Objectively reasonable”—what could be wrong with that? But in actual courtroom practice, “objective reasonableness” has become nearly impossible to tell apart from the subjective snap judgments of panic-fueled police officers. American courts universally defer to the law enforcement officer’s own personal assessment of the threat at the time.

The Graham analysis essentially prohibits any second-guessing of the officer’s decision to use deadly force: no hindsight is permitted, and wide latitude is granted to the officer’s account of the situation, even if scientific evidence proves it to be mistaken. Such was the case of Berkeley, Missouri, police officers Robert Piekutowski and Keith Kierzkowski, who in 2000 fatally shot Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley out of fear that the victims’ car was rolling towards them. Forensic investigations established that the car had not in fact lurched towards the officers at the time of the shooting—but this was still not enough for the St. Louis County grand jury to indict the two cops of anything.

User avatar
warwickland
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4823
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:29 pm
Location: University City, MO

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by warwickland » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:56 pm

i'll admit, i was a little proud of the stl area protestors when they breached the inner sanctum -plaza frontenac. the mall where old money doesn't have to contend with the gauche upper-middles with their soccer moms and public schooling.

phxcat
Hotel President
Hotel President
Posts: 3454
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2002 5:11 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: Ferguson, Missouri

Post by phxcat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:01 pm

LenexatoKCMO wrote:That's exactly what this case needed. The public needed to see that the witnesses sucked, not just have Robert McCulloch stand at a podium and lecture them that the witnesses sucked. As I said, the result is probably an acquittal, but this was too important a case not to have a public trial. The prosecutor's shenanigans are the reason.
That was my thinking, that had we had a trial, as happened with George Zimmerman, and had it been shown publicly, not that Wilson was right, but that the evidence was not there to convict. Had that happened, there would at least be a pretense of justice. In a volatile situation, the authorities in Ferguson and St. Louis County seemed to make the wrong choice at every turn. The African American community is reacting to a history of systemic abuse to which MB was the final straw, and the reaction of the authorities has been to pile on and this non indictment just confirmed the feelings that many had about the system. When the system is working against you, what can you do? Had there been a trial, he would more than likely been found not guilty for lack of evidence (I think that the evidence points toward guilt, but not at the level required) but people would have accepted it. With Zimmerman, he was probably guilty- and we know enough about his character now to at least recognize that he was very capable of doing what he was accused of doing- but watching the trial, you knew that, whether from mismanagement of the case by the police or just the fact that it basically came down to a he said/ she said where one party was dead, that a conviction was not going to happen, and while there was protest afterwards, it was rather subdued and dies out fairly quickly.

Post Reply