NO JOURNALISM, NO JUSTICE: The Washington Post’s (rather bad) front page!

MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2014

Part 1—Today, we get one basic fact: In a case where we don’t have a whole lot of facts, we finally got one basic fact in this morning’s New York Times.

Here it is:

According to the New York Times, 18-year-old Michael Brown wasn’t shot in the back.

If Brown had been shot in the back, it would have been hard to imagine a scenario in which the shooting was legal. As it turns out, Brown was shot at least six times—but he wasn’t shot in the back.

This brings us to the front page of yesterday’s hard-copy Washington Post. On a journalistic basis, we thought that front page was strikingly bad.

Even before we learned today’s fact, that front page seemed pretty awful to us. This is the way the featured news report started in our hard-copy Post:
BROWN, LOWERY AND MARKON (8/17/14): Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emergency in this roiling St. Louis suburb and imposed an overnight curfew, telling a group of shouting residents that order must be restored after days of protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

The governor's extraordinary action came as the attorney for a key witness described the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown as an execution-style slaying. Lawyer Freeman Bosley Jr. said Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown's, has told the FBI that Officer Darren Wilson confronted the two because they were walking in the middle of the street.

Wilson cursed at the pair and ordered them onto the sidewalk, Bosley told The Washington Post. When they refused to comply, he said, the officer grabbed Brown's throat through the window of his cruiser, pulled out a pistol and shot him. Wilson then chased Brown, shot him in the back and shot him five to six more times as Brown's hands were raised, Bosley said.

The account, combined with Nixon's declaration, made for another day of chaos and confusion in this small community...
On a journalistic basis, we have no idea why the Post would have published that report at all, let alone in the featured spot on its Sunday front page.

In the Post’s report, Bosley inaccurately said, for the ten millionth time, that Brown had been shot in the back. This made it “an execution-style slaying,” the Post rather colorfully added.

Had Michael Brown been shot in the back? There was nothing new about this claim, which had already been repeated about ten million times by that point.

But so what? For unknown reasons, the Post seemed to treat its interview with Bosley as a piece of breaking news. On a journalistic basis, we have no idea what the Post would have decided to do that.

On the brighter side, we strongly doubt that Bosley’s account “made for another day of chaos and confusion” in Ferguson. Surely, everyone in Ferguson had heard the claim that Brown was shot in the back ten million times before Bosley spoke with the Post.

(Although it too may be somewhat inaccurate, Bosley’s account of the number of times Brown was shot was perhaps somewhat new. The Post didn’t seem to know that.)

On a journalistic basis, it was strange to treat the Bosley interview as front-page, breaking news. In the process, the Post advanced an inflammatory though apparently inaccurate claim for the ten millionth time.

To us, that seemed like strange journalistic behavior, even before we learned that the claim in question was inaccurate. And uh-oh! Right next to that news report, Manuel Roig-Franzia’s 2300-word “human interest” profile seemed almost as odd.

As a journalist, Roig-Franzia sometimes strikes us a very good novelist. In yesterday’s profile, it seemed to us that his picking-and-choosing of facts came early and often.

Here’s the way Roig-Franzia started. Warning! Be prepared for classic human interest, of the “two lives intersected” type:
ROIG-FRANZIA, BROWN AND LOWERY (8/17/14): It took just three minutes.

A speck of time on a snoozy side street, a stretch of asphalt winding through a modest working-class neighborhood of three-story garden apartment buildings that's easier to find a way into than out of.

There, two lives intersected when a white police officer named Darren Wilson and a black teenager named Michael Brown—one in a patrol car, the other on foot—found themselves together on Canfield Drive in the middle of a summer Saturday.

When they met at 12:01 p.m. on Aug. 9, the two were coming from different places, different mind-sets—Brown filling free hours with a friend, Wilson coming off an emergency call about a 2-month-old baby struggling to breathe.

Brown, barely 18, stood 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds and wore a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. Wilson, a lanky 28-year-old with short-cropped blond hair who had six months earlier won a commendation for "extraordinary effort in the line of duty," steered a police cruiser behind him.

At 12:04, Brown was dead, shot multiple times by Wilson. "Big Mike," as his friends called him, did not have a gun.

The conflicting accounts of those three minutes—the tortured exercise of assigning blame—have provoked intense protests and turned this inner-ring St. Louis suburb into a parable of race, class and justice. There has been no resolution, no definitive account of what happened in that flash of a hot afternoon or of the two men at the center of it.

Police records, public documents and more than a dozen interviews on the streets here and in other St. Louis suburbs are beginning to reveal details of the killing and clarify points on a timeline that began with a theft of less than $50 worth of cigars from a convenience store and culminated with Brown's death.

A key witness—Brown's friend Dorian Johnson—has told the FBI that he thought the robbery was a "prank," said Johnson's attorney.
It’s true! As Roig-Frania writes, “There has been no definitive account of what happened” in the interaction which resulted in Brown’s death. On a journalistic basis, we’d have to say this:

As we read Roig-Franzia’s account of that day’s events, it struck us as rather selective. A few paragraphs later, he even offered this:
ROIG-FRANIZA: Both men are now forever entwined with Ferguson, but neither had particularly deep roots here.

Brown was only spending the summer with his grandmother while making plans to attend a vocational school. Wilson was in his fourth year on the police force after working for two years on a force nearby. He lives miles away in a house with a swimming pool in the suburb of Crestwood.
Is that swimming pool part of this case? Or is it part of a novel?

The shooting death of Michael Brown is a very important event. The speed with which events have unfolded—including events in the middle of the night—have made Brown’s death and its aftermath a very tough challenge for journalists.

All in all, we’d say the journalism has been rather poor, in a few ways which are quite familiar and in one or two ways which seem new. This helps create a major societal problem.

The shooting death of Michael Brown is a very important event. According to our civics textbooks, citizens need accurate facts about what is known when such events occur.

Citizens also need to be reminded about what isn’t yet known.

According to our civic textbooks, that helps define the journalist’s role in our most important events. As we watched some major news orgs last week, we thought we noticed a major lack of journalistic behavior.

No journalism, no justice! That’s pretty much what our civics texts have always pretty much said.

Tomorrow: Murder, she said

77 comments:

  1. OMB (Picking and Choosing for the Jillioneth Time with OTB)

    Part 1---Today, we get one basic fact: In a case BOB has ignored for over a week, we finally got one basic fact in this morning’s Howler.

    Here it is:

    According to the Howler, The News York Times is the source of news that 18-year-old Michael Brown wasn’t shot in the back. Of course BOB deletes the fact that the New York Times is quoting the findings of an autopsy conducted for the victim's family. And while he does mention the fact that the autposy also found six shots struck Brown, he avoids causing us the unnecessary pain of learning two bullets went to the head.

    Based on the authority of the New York Times, whose accuracy in crime matters BOB has never criticized, the judgement of the Times in this case is enough to raise hope this killing was justifiable.

    "If Brown had been shot in the back, it would have been hard to imagine a scenario in which the shooting was legal. As it turns out, Brown was shot at least six times—but he wasn’t shot in the back."

    Of course BOB does not tell readers what questions can quickly arise by merely following his link to the Times article, in which a diagram of the medical examiner's finding in the second autopsy are shown in detail.

    Two witnesses describe Brown fleeing the officer, who exits his vehicle and fires multiple shots at him from behind. Both witnesses describe
    Brown as jerking as if hit, then turning around and raising his hands with the officer still firing. For reasons known only to BOB, he merely reports that "the inflammatory" story about Brown being "shot in the back" has been repeated about 10 million times, and fails to mention the witness accounts.

    The sketches of the medical examiner show two bullets struck Brown in interior parts of his right arm. All four could have entered that part of his arm while they were raised if he was facing the officer. Two or three of them could have entered his arm while he was running away. That is the part of the arm exposed along with your back while you are in motion running. Of course, being hit in the arm and not the back, wouldn't make you jerk, dear reader, would it?

    So is BOB saying, if the officer shot at Brown from behind and missed hitting him in his back itself, that leaves open the possibility this is justifiable?

    There is much more ground to cover in this excellent post. Looks like there will be many, many parts to this story from BOB so we'll take our time.

    There are ten million tellings of this story according to the OTB. More than there are stories in the Naked City and cars coming from Ft. Lee.

    No criticism, no curmudgeons. That's pretty much what new kids have
    fairly well sometimes muttered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pardon our bad editing.

      "The sketches of the medical examiner show four", not two "bullets struck Brown in interior parts of his right arm."

      Delete
    2. You desperately hope the killing is proven unjustified, while the "other" tribe in all its evil secretly hopes it was a justified act by an officer of the law operating in a civilized society. How dastardly of the other tribe to hope for such a thing. They do not even consider the possibility that Brown runs away with his arms extended straight down.

      Delete
    3. How interesting that you can see only two tribes.

      There is at least one more -- those who think, regardless of whether the cop or the unarmed dead teenager was "right", that it is horrifying to see a militarized police force in full battle dress point military-grade weapons at U.S. citizens.

      Delete
    4. "the New York Times, whose accuracy in crime matters BOB has never criticized"

      You're a douchebag troll, yes, but surely you aren't this stupid are you?

      Some of the rest of us certainly aren't.

      Delete
    5. Seems that Bobfans critical thinking synapses have stopped firing so long ago that they can no longer recognize irony and sarcasm.

      Delete
    6. The new KZ Isn't as smart as the old one.

      Delete
    7. At least Bobfans have the same limited vocabulary and ability to miss a zinger as subtle as a douchebag employed
      ten million times too often. Some things can be counted on.

      Delete
    8. @2:55

      Ok, but let's have a higher standard than that, please!

      Delete
  2. I'm afraid there is no convincing the cop-haters on this one, facts be damned.


    "We are out here protesting because we want answers!"

    - Brown tried to strong-arm the cop just like he strong-armed a store clerk minutes before, a felony caught on video. This could have also been Brown's motive.

    "We didn't want that answer! Hands up means don't shoot!"

    - The family's commissioned autopsy shows Brown was shot while moving towards the officer with an outstretched arm.

    "Bottom line is he was an unarmed teen and you didn't need to put six bullets in him!"

    - The first four shots probably didn't slow him down but the fifth one definitely would have incapacitated him. Yes, the sixth shot was probably unnecessary, but all were taken in rapid succession.

    "Kill the police! Loot the stores! Burn the city! Bring your kids!"

    CNN: You sure can't fault these protesters for hating cops, they are entirely correct. BTW here's a map to Darren Wilson's house!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby got his wish. The Zimmerman Defense Team has arrived and his badly lagging hit counts may now increase all the way up to a couple hundred a day.

      Delete
    2. @ 12:45. They skipped BOB's long "Gals and Nixon Dolls" soap opera. They certainly didn't come for Houses of Journalist County. Say, do you think Bob mentioned any swimming pools in that postponed series?

      Delete
    3. No doubt they also grew disinterested in Bob's latest analysis of fourth grade NAEP math scores from 1997, as well as his review of a six year old book on Nixon.

      Bob had to act fast to bring 'em back.

      Delete
  3. Typical Somerby. Ignore "He lives miles away . . ." and focus on "with a swimming pool."

    Try googling up a map of Metro St. Louis. Look at where Ferguson is. Then look at where Crestwood is, Then have a person who knows St. Louis explain the difference between North County and South County.

    Now recall that Ferguson, 67 percent black, has a 53-member police force in which 50 members are white. How does that happen? By not recruiting officers from your own city, and by hiring them from South County.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens when your 73% white suburb (in 1990) is reduced to 28% white by white flight accelerated by the introduction of section 8 vouchers. Please forgive the city planners for allowing the population demographic to change more quickly than they would be able to turn over the city service demographic through only just-cause terminations and democratic elections featuring 12% turnout.

      Delete
    2. Crestwood, from Wikipedia:

      The racial makeup of the city was 93.8% White, 1.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

      Delete
    3. Hey, Mensa @ 1:31 p.m.

      Ferguson was also 25 percent black in 1990. Was the Ferguson PD ever 25 percent black?

      Oh yeah. That's right. This change happened in the mere batting of an eyelash. 24 years. And in 24 years, they could only find three black cops to hire.

      See anything wrong with that? Of course you don't. So let's blame Section 8.

      Delete
    4. Sure cure for white flight.

      If you are white and a black family moves into the neighborhood, don't move out.

      Delete
    5. Yes, instead of juicing his post in the way you want him to, Bob merely points out that that job is being done fairly well by The New York Times.

      Delete
    6. Greg, I'm still having trouble figuring out how a cop shooting an unarmed teenager six times for the crime of walking down the middle of a street was "legal".

      I'm sure Bob's fertile imagination will come up with a way. Perhaps the dispatcher didn't make it crystal clear to the cop that he shouldn't get out of his vehicle.

      Delete
    7. Anon @ 1:59 -- Your limited imagination hasn't allowed you to considered what might happen when you attempt to overpower an armed officer, yet you have found yourself reading the dailyhowler blog. What are you, a post-doc?

      Delete
    8. Do you know for a fact that Brown attempted to "overpower" an armed officer?

      Or is that merely what your fertile imagination can come up with so it must be true?

      Delete
  4. So far so good, a good job of calling Bullshit on the Times for ginning the story in one direction. I hope he does not take this to ridiculous extremes, as he did with Zimmerman/Martin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are two stories going on in Ferguson, Greg. One is the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

      The other is the uber-reaction by the cops that has poured gasoline on a tinderbox, including the arrest and detention of reporters on the scene.

      Delete
    2. Exactly how does the Times article "gin" the story, Greg?
      Bob is the one asking his readers to suspend past disbelief he has engendered in the Times by accepting that they say the young man was not shot in the back.

      Delete
    3. Read the story carefully. They do say there were no entry wounds in the back, but there are entrance wounds to the inside of the arm, which are "consistent" with both being shot while fleeing, or being shot with your hands in the air.


      Delete
    4. "less than fifty dollars" "swimming pool", come on, get real.

      Delete
    5. Wrong newspaper Greg.

      Delete
  5. Coverage of events in Ferguson is potentially a major disaster for progressives. The initial "gentle giant" narrative fell apart, but a lot of the lefty and mainstream media have kept running off the cliff a la Wile E Coyote.

    Somerby's going to be right on this one.

    The vast majority of Americans expect consequences to robbing a store. They expect immediate consequences to robbing a store and then walking down the middle of a street. They expect very serious consequences to robbing a store, walking down the middle of the street and then getting into a physical altercation with a cop.

    Most voters will not identify with a culture that teaches that those actions are acceptable and not serious and not very dangerous. Talk about arresting the policeman is going to be a gigantic loser come November.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gee, Bob warns about introducing pseudo-facts before there is evidence to support them.

      His sheep don't listen so good.

      Delete
    2. "The vast majority of Americans expect consequences to robbing a store." Your life for a box of cheap cigars? The vast majority of Americans expect that? Really?

      Delete
    3. Name one unsupported pseudo-fact from the above comment.

      Delete
    4. Anon @2:30 -- That is what you were supposed to say last Thursday, before the facts came out about whether the cop knew about the robbery. Now you are supposed to shift your anti-cop narrative in another direction to maintain credibility. Try to keep up.

      Delete
    5. Actually, it was the Ferguson chief who quickly had to walk back the robbery excuse when he was reminded that his new lie didn't fit the earlier lie he told.

      Delete
    6. "Name one unsupported pseudo-fact from the above comment."

      Just one? Try this:

      ". . . getting into a physical altercation with a cop."

      Do you know for a fact that there was a "physical altercation with a cop"? Especially one that would rise to the level of the cop being justified in using deadly force?

      How easy is it for white people to "imagine" that that a white guy, even a trained cop, must be in fear for his life because, after all, we are talking about a dead black kid here.

      Delete
    7. Exactly how is "coverage of events" a disaster for anybody, much less progressives?

      Delete
    8. Anon 309,
      I don't think there is any dispute among witnesses that there was some sort of "struggle" or "tussle" prior to the shots fired.

      By the way, if you're going down the "racist whites" or "racist cops" road, you had better better steer clear of calling an 18 year old man a "kid"--it's pretty close to "boy."

      Delete
    9. "struggle" or "tussle"?

      The scant evidence that we have is indisputable that the first shot was fired from inside the vehicle, since a spent casing was found there.

      And the evidence is also clear that this entire incident lasted no more than three minutes from the time the cop saw Brown walking down the middle of the street to the time he lay dead,

      Delete
    10. That's absurd - "boy" is a long-standing slur for black men - "kid" is simply being young, which 18 is generally accepted as the cusp between child and manhood (except drinking, etc.). We talk about sending kids of 17 & 18 off to war all the time. Try this - you're being "pretty close to" intelligent. Close but no cigar.

      Delete
    11. Trollmes has got to reach for something. So he'll try the "R" word.

      Delete
    12. Anon 354,
      Look up "cusp." It is the opposite of a gray area. When you turn 18 you're past it. If you are 17 you are a boy or "kid" or child; if you are 18 you are a man. It's not that complicated.

      Sure, you could call him a "young man" or "young adult," but, as I said, if your narrative requires that you misleadingly label him a "kid," you should realize that it's a losing proposition.

      Delete
    13. Trollmes was noted for this same critique during Bob's recent "new kids" series.

      Delete
  6. Anon @2:30 -- That is what you were supposed to say last Thursday, before the facts came out about whether the cop knew about the robbery. Now you are supposed to shift your anti-cop narrative in another direction to maintain credibility. Try to keep up.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "If Brown had been shot in the back, it would have been hard to imagine a scenario in which the shooting was legal."

    To quote the President "horseshit". Scotus ruled in 1985 in Tennessee vs. Garner that police have the right to use deadly force against a fleeing violent felon. The cop's story of Brown assaulting him and trying to take his weapon, if not disproved and accepted by the prosecutor, provides prima facie evidence he was a violent felon posing an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others. The previous felony at the convenience store provides corroborating evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if the story about Brown isn't corroborated by the many eye witnesses? Guess they may all be lying.

      Good grief, guy. The cop didn't know that the kid had just stolen some cigarillos. All he saw was two kids walking down the middle of the street, and three minutes later, one of them is dead, having been shot numerous times including twice in the head.



      Delete
    2. "The cop's story of Brown assaulting him . . ."

      Really? What story would that be? Because I haven't heard it. Even at this very late date, the cops have been very reluctant to release any hard evidence at all.

      Now we were told that the cop received some treatment for a "swollen face" after this incident. But it's kinda odd. We were never told exactly how the cop got that swollen face, were we?

      But then again, why let such petty details get in the way of what we alreadly KNOW happened without a doubt. After all, we gotta connect the dots. The cops of Ferguson are counting on it.

      Delete
    3. Hey Dipso Shitso:

      Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985) was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may use deadly force to prevent escape only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

      Delete
    4. Anon 302,

      Many eyewitnesses? Certainly the most high-profile was his partner in crime. A partner whose versions of events have shown little reliability to date. Any eyewitness who claimed that Brown was shot "running away" or "in the back' cannot be believed after the autopsy. (In large part this may be due to the general unreliability of human memory in fast-unfolding, stressful events.)

      There are certainly eyewitnesses to Brown struggling with the policeman who was still in his car. Does that sound like "kids walking down the street?" Shouldn't 18-year olds have some idea that struggling with a cop through the window of his car will have very serious consequences?

      If your narrative is that an 18 year old, 6'4" 280 man is a "kid," you've got a problem.

      Delete
    5. How about the eyewitnesses who said that Brown had his hands up? Yep, they are all lying.

      But by all means, you go ahead and believe that the world is a safer place when cops unload their fire arms at noon Saturday down a city street first, then find out later that the kid boosted some cigarillos.

      Delete
    6. "Shouldn't 18-year olds have some idea that struggling with a cop through the window of his car will have very serious consequences?"

      Shouldn't a trained cop be able to handle that situation without shooting his weapon at least six times?

      Oh wait. I forgot. The officers headrest was made of concrete and the Brown had him straddled, mercilessly pounding his head into the cconcrete until he was about to lose consciousness.

      Delete
    7. Anon @ 3:02 PM
      They very well may be lying or the autopsy results will show them to be wrong as many eyewitnesses are. He didn't just steal cigars, he violently assaulted someone in the store. Besides I didn't say the cop knew that, what I said was that would be corroborating evidence. Also the cop's story may very well be corroborated by the presence of Brown's fingerprints on the cop's weapon, but you folks can't wait for the evidence before you lynch the cop, can you.

      Anon @ 3:12 PM You ought to get on the internet tubes an read more. The investigating officer reported it.

      Anon @ 3:22 PM You need to learn to read. I said the assault on the officer gave the officer probable cause to believe that the suspect posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

      Keep on belivin'. I know that thrill feels good up and down your leg.

      Delete
    8. Corroborating evidence of what? Since the cop didn't know Brown had stolen the cigarillos and pushed the store clerk, that means the cop stopped Brown for the capital offense of jaywalking and three minutes later shot him dead.

      Why is the cop's weapon even out of its holster on a jaywalking beef?

      I would also urge you to follow your own advice and read up on this. But then again, you already know everything that went down that afternoon, don't you?

      You might begin by learning what "probable cause" means. You dont have the slighest clue, counselor.

      Delete
    9. Anon @ 3:54 PM Dude. I just don't know about you. I know the cop didn't know about the robbery. Just forget the robbery for now. As reported by the investigating officer (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/10/justice/missouri-police-involved-shooting/index.html): "St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said that the shooting occurred after Brown pushed Wilson back into his squad car, "where he physically assaulted the officer" and then struggled over Wilson's weapon." That very act is an aggravated violent felony and is probable cause for the officer to believe that the suspect posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others and freed the cop to use deadly force to prevent the suspect from fleeing per Tenn. vs. Garner. IF THE DA ACCEPTS THE COP'S VERSION then he can use the violent robbery as corroborating evidence at trial. Now that wasn't hard, was it. Keep working on your critical thinking skills.

      Delete
    10. Interesting. If the St. Louis County Chief Belmar (in whose juristdiction Officer Wilson is not) says that's what happened, then it must be true.

      Which leads us to wonder what Wilson was doing outside his car over a jaywalking beef.

      Also, another poster tried to straighten you out on the Garner decision. You will, however, remain willfully ignorant.

      And no, counselor, since the cop didn't know about the robbery, it becomes irrelevant and inadmissible in court.

      Good lordy, is there anybody dumber than an Internet lawyer?

      Delete
    11. Anon @ 5:21 PM Your words speak for themselves. Do yourself a favor and go back to school and learn so you don't wind up dead in the street.

      Delete
    12. DipsoFacto,

      A brief look at the Missouri Revised Statutes finds that Missouri doesn't have aggravated crimes. It's use of "aggravated" is restricted to circumstances surrounding murder. Missouri defines degrees of crime, and has three of them for assault of a LEO:

      1st degree: attempt to kill or knowingly cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury.

      2nd degree: attempt to cause or knowingly cause physical injury with a deadly weapon or recklessly cause serious injury.

      3rd degree: attempt to cause or recklessly cause physical injury; place in fear of immediate physical injury; knowingly cause or cause physical contact.

      (3rd degree allows the cops to charge you for coming into contact with their fists, boots, or nightsticks.)

      3rd degree isn't even a felony. 2nd degree would be hard to prove, since Brown can't testify. Was he struggling to disarm Wilson or struggling to arm himself? The only corroborating evidence we have is that Brown ended up shot six times.

      Had Brown survived to be tried for assaulting Wilson, Brown's prior bad acts (including the robbery) could not have been introduced against him.

      Delete
    13. deadrat,

      Your opinion is that the state would have had to show that Brown committed some assault, but would not be allowed to introduce any motive...not even one from 10 minutes prior? Brown was leaving the scene of a felony crime and you think that wouldn't come up in the trial of a policeman who tried to stop him? Sounds pretty unrealistic.
      Realistically, if Brown survived, he would have had to plead to whatever deal he could get--which probably wouldn't have been too good with the assault of an officer on top of the robbery. There would have been no celebrity lawyer, no celebrity coroner, no intervention from the US Atty Gen...No money means no real legal defense in the USA. It's not fair, but that's what would likely have happened.

      Delete
    14. Trollmes,

      Motive is not an element of any crime, and it's particularly irrelevant when there's no dispute about the parties involved. And Brown wasn't leaving the scene of a felony. He's presumed as innocent of the robbery as he would be of the assault.

      If Brown had lived to be tried for assault, the state would have had to show intent appropriate to the degree of assault, and prior bad acts are generally not admissible to prove intent. I suppose you could gin up a scenario in which Brown yelled "I'm not going down for the convenience store robbery so you'll never take me alive" as he lunged for Wilson's gun while Wilson thought "What convenience store robbery?" But if this was really about walking in the middle of the street, that wouldn't fly.

      If Wilson is tried for shooting Brown, the convenience store incident still doesn't come into it because Wilson didn't witness that. If Wilson knew that someone fitting Brown's description was a suspect, that would be relevant.

      I make no comments on what happens "realistically."

      Delete
  8. I look forward to subsequent stories about the times the three black police officers in Ferguson enjoyed backyard barbecues and a swim at the Crestwood home of their sensitive quiet colleague.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's hope it was an afternoon barbecue. Three black guys know better than to be in Crestwood after dark.

      Delete
    2. Ferguson PD let them take the Armored Personnel Carrier for this one event.

      Delete
  9. Bob Somerby would rather jumpr off an Amtrak train platform than cover the high crime scores among black teenagers.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sez the Deadly Howler:

    "If Brown had been shot in the back, it would have been hard to imagine a scenario in which the shooting was legal. As it turns out, Brown was shot at least six times—but he wasn’t shot in the back."

    So, if eyewitness accounts are correct the only thing that makes this legal is the officer missed with his first shots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it interesting that the Ferguson cops won't even tell us how many shots were fired?

      Delete
    2. They'll tell you when the investigation is complete. I admit it's a difficult concept to grasp, but try to skull it out.

      Delete
    3. Dipso, don't even pretend to tell this board that you are waiting for the investigation to be finished before you make up your mind.

      You've already told us that you know for a fact that Brown violently attacked Wilson, and Wilson had no choice but to practically empty his service revolver on him. After all, Wilson learned later that the kid boosted some Swisher Sweets.

      So drop the act. You aren't the damned least bit interested in learning what really happened. You got all the information you need: To wit, the kid was black, the cop was white.

      Delete
  11. This news/historical coverage has been liberal S.O.P. since "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Bob should quit worrying about Perlstein and give Harriet Beecher Stowe her long over do comeuppance for starting the Civil War.

    ReplyDelete
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