Part 2—Harvard professor “explains:” It’s hard to fathom the sheer inanity of our journalistic elites.
Sometimes they call in the Harvard professors; often, this makes matters worse. Consider Dr. Laura McNeal’s performance on today’s Morning Joe.
The gang had already discussed the finding of the grand jury in Ferguson, with Willie Geist Jr. showing, again, that he knows the right things to say but hasn’t done basic homework.
Eventually, Mika summoned the expert. To watch this segment, click here:
BRZEZINSKI (11/26/14): Joining us now from Atlanta, law policy analyst at Harvard Law School and assistant law professor at the University of Louisville, Dr. Laura McNeal.Mika referred to Wilson's interview with George Stephanopoulos. Needless to say, Professor McNeal found the interview “quite disturbing.”
You’ve worked closely with police departments on how to work with youth in urban communities. First of all, what do you make of the interview with Officer Wilson, and do you feel that he answered to some of the really screaming questions out there in terms of race and how he treated Michael Brown right before his death?
Below, she starts explaining why. Do you notice anything about the way she recounts the basic events which ended in Michael Brown's death?
PROFESSOR MCNEAL (continuing directly): I found Officer Wilson’s interview to be quite disturbing, to be honest. He stated that he could not have done anything differently. But if you consider you have an unarmed teen walking, jay-walking, in the street, with a handful of cigarillos that ends up on the floor in the middle of the street in a pool of blood dead, clearly he could have done something differently.The professor engaged in a familiar form of story-telling. In her account of what happened that day, an unarmed teen was jay-walking with cigarillos. He then ended up dead in the street.
And so I also found it disturbing that he seems to have such little remorse. I mean, there is a loss of a child’s life and he just seemed very almost stoic with respect to his response.
That account eliminates such parts of the story as may reflect poorly on Brown. As we’ve seen in the past, this is a story-telling technique of the propagandist.
That said, the professor said that Officer Wilson “clearly could have done something differently” that day. In the most obvious sense, that’s plainly true, of course.
But what should Wilson have done that day? For the first of several times, Scarborough chose to take the plunge.
His question led straight to the M-word:
SCARBOROUGH (continuing directly): What could he have done differently that day?Warning! As this segment proceeded, Brown proceeded from a “teen” to a “youth” to a “child.” We’ve also discussed that practice in the past.
MCNEAL: Well, part of the problem is what the tragic death of Michael Brown represents is the practice of using adult policing practices on youth. Currently here in the United States, very few police departments actually include training on things such as youth developmental competence, meaning how do you de-escalate a situation from jay-walking to keep it from escalating to the point of murder?
At any rate, ninety seconds into the segment, the professor had dropped the M-bomb. Because Wilson hadn’t been trained, he had committed a murder!
No one questioned the professor’s use of that word. That said, Scarborough tried, two more times, to get her to specify what Wilson should have done differently. At the end of the six-minute segment, Geist Jr. also gave it a try.
In our view, those questions for Professor McNeal produced one of the most fatuous segments we’ve seen in some time. Here’s why we say that:
None of these people actually know what happened that day. Did Wilson speak rudely to Brown, or did he speak politely? Did Brown attack Wilson in the way Wilson described, or did something different occur?
The professor has no real idea, but she seemed to have no idea that she has no real idea. She just kept churning her true belief concerning what Wilson should have done.
We suggest you watch that horrible segment and weep for the fate of your nation. One word of warning:
If you watch the segment, you’ll see the professor say that Wilson evinced some “implicit bias,” some “unconscious biases,” during his interview with Stephanopoulos. You’ll see Katty Kay jump in to say that the professor is “absolutely right.”
Is it possible that Kay’s reactions to these events are driven by some sort of “unconscious biases?” Such thoughts rarely trouble the spotless minds of upper-class players like Kay.
All around the world, the upper classes have always behaved in these ways. They can always spot the unconscious biases of those in the lower classes.
This panel’s silly, scripted discussions were hard to watch this day. We strongly suggest that you review the professor’s words of advice.
Professor McNeal is African American. If you want to talk about biases, why avoid mentioning that fact. It brings into play the bias that dictates that all African Americans must regard this shooting as murder, the white cop as biased (e.g. racist), and the verdict as unjust no matter what the circumstances? Somerby tiptoes around that one but it is the same bias that produced the huge divide in the OJ trial -- anyone white thought he was -plainly guilty, anyone black thought he was being framed by a corrupt police force. Because jury nullification prevailed in that case, African Americans (and their supporters) are demanding that it be permitted in Ferguson -- that is what is meant when they complain that Wilson should have been tried by a jury regardless of the evidence against him. McNeal is being an African American first and a lawyer/expert second. If she says anything different, she will lose her guild card.ReplyDelete
As liberals, if we call foul on this brand of "justice" we will be called racists too and will lose membership in our tribe. The heroes in this story are the African American witnesses who told the grand jury what they saw, without changing their story to conform to the demands of their friends and relatives or our culture (exemplified by social media and shows like this one). Because it was difficult for them, and because their testimony was consistent with the physical evidence, I believe they told the truth. It is heartening that some African Americans value truth over racial progress. If the justice system is abused it cannot protect anyone, black or white. I find it disturbing that someone trained in law and sworn as a member of the court would bend the law to prosecute someone for being white.
By Darian Johnson's account, the two were not "jaywalking." Jaywalking involves crossing a street in the middle of the block, outside a crosswalk or not at an intersection. By Johnson's account, they were walking down the middle of the street and refused to move out of the street because they were nearly at Brown's grandmother's house. Since his testimony has been consistently self-serving, I assume this statement puts the best gloss on what they were doing. That isn't jaywalking.
It is sad to drive through the cluttered landscape of America and seem the wasted hopeless faces of liberals who wander aimlessly after having been cut loose from their tribe.Delete
Thank god for blacks who know that truth means they cannot progress but must accept it rather than demand
prosecution of someone for doing what comes natural to whites..
jury nullification prevailed in that [OJ's] case,....Delete
Jury nullification doesn't happen when you disagree with a verdict. Jury nullification is when the jury acknowledges that the evidence is sufficient to convict, but they acquit anyway. The OJ jury didn't trust the evidence provided by the police, and as they are the triers of fact, it is up to them to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and assign weight to evidence.
It is heartening that some African Americans value truth over racial progress.
Have I told you recently to go fuck yourself?
@ 1:38 your analysis was so thoughtful and detached about the two dominant cultures in modern America that you are obviously Asian. It was nice of you not to mention it.Delete
"The OJ jury didn't trust the evidence provided by the police"Delete
The OJ jury didn't know what the evidence was. They weren't listening. The prosecution could have shown them a video of OJ cutting his wife's head off and they would have reached the same verdict.
African Americans are not acknowledging the truth of what happened in this case, any more than they did with Trayvon Martin or various other cases. They are making generalizations about white people that are every bit as racist as anything said about black people. It isn't going to help the racial situation in our country. It does make everyone angrier. I cannot see how that helps anything much.Delete
You seem to think this is funny. I don't.Delete
mm, the OJ jury didn't return the verdict you wanted. Even after all these years, it must still suck to be you, but even so, they knew all the evidence and they heard all the witnesses face to face. You didn't.Delete
Learn to live with it.
Anonymous @10:02, consider that your namesake at 8:23P may be directing a sardonic comment at your namesake at 7:35. Assuming that you're not the same clueless person as 7:35P.Delete
deadrat, the trial was televised. We all heard the evidence. The jury came back in 4 hrs. It was nullification because Fuhrman pissed off the jury. It was a sad day because African Americans chose to condone domestic violence in closing ranks to support an obviously guilty black man. Any claim to being concerned about justice disappeared with that verdict.Delete
Who's we? Are there more deadenders like you who claim to have watched every minute of the OJ trial and are still miffed at the jury's verdict?Delete
Here's what makes you a sad case -- that you can't accept the judgment of twelve of your fellow citizens when it differs from yours, that you instead have to accuse them of violating their civic oaths, that you believe that in coming to a verdict, the jurors condone domestic violence, that you conveniently have forgotten that the verdict was unanimous but the jury wasn't all black.
But most of all that you think that the OJ verdict means you can dismiss any claim (presumably by like-colored people) about their concern for justice.
No one accepts the OJ verdict as a legitimate judgment. OJ's guilt has been a joke for years, and don't forget about the civil trial. The jury was mostly black and many people will not stand up to peer pressure. No justice for Nicole or Ronald but they weren't black, so who cares? Not you.Delete
The OJ trial was run by a star struck incompetent judge, prosecuted by amateurish and incompetent lawyers, and decided by incompetent jurors with a different agenda in mind. Incompetence. It's all around us. Just like Bob has been saying for years.Delete
4 hours of deliberation after 9 months of trial. A fine example of civic duty.
Shit happens, eh deadrat?
Yeah, shit happens. Especially between your ears.Delete
Have you thought of taking your mind reading talents on the road?
"..mind reading talents.."Delete
No, I don't think I project much. But then again, I suppose I wouldn't think that. But I'm not the one who thinks he has an insight into the "agenda" of 12 jurors he disagrees with. I'm not the one who thinks he knows that three of those jurors couldn't stand up to peer pressure. I'm not the one who's decided that the jurors' verdict means that they condone domestic violence or don't care about justice.Delete
So I'm gonna go with my original estimation.
And this is why we can't have nice things, Anonymous @11:29.Delete
No, it's not true that "no one" accepts the OJ verdict as "legitimate." You don't accept the OJ verdict as legitimate. And it took a few minutes in the google to find that after the trial, 62% of white people polled by CNN/Time thought Simpson was guilty, and only 21% thought he was not guilty. The reverse was true for black respondents -- 14% to 66%. NBC News found that ten years later, the guilty/not guilty split was 87%/12% for white respondents and 29% to 70% for black respondents.
And no, I haven't forgotten about the civil trial. Apparently, you've forgotten that the burden of proof in a civil trial is much lower than that for a criminal trial.
Nicole and Ronald are dead; they're past caring about "justice." There's no need to make things up about what I think. If you want to know my opinion about Simpson's guilt, just ask.
I don't want to argue with you about the OJ case anymore. I've forgotten more than the jurors ever comprehended about the evidence. You're so broad minded. While everyone else lost their heads around you, you were able to keep yours. The jurors weighed the evidence carefully for 4 hours, after a nine month trial and you defend that. Fine.Delete
Why don't you produce a couple post trial statements by any of the jurors explaining why they acquitted that aren't laughable on their face and weren't easily contradicted by the evidence produced at trial. Two people were murdered but the trial devolved into an examination into whether or not one of the detectives had ever used the "n" word. Nothing else mattered after that. You don't want to call that nullification, fine, call it whatever you want.
Michael Brown is dead too. He's past caring about justice. Others care because his case exemplifies civil rights issues relevant to many. Nicole Brown exemplified domestic violence issues that continue to be relevant after her death, especially involving football players who get special treatment. You may not care about that but I do.Delete
You don't want to argue with me about the OJ case anymore? OK, that's fine. But to be fair you don't really have an argument so much as a grudge against people who saw things differently from you. You'll also have to forgive my argumentative tendencies in responding.
I'd like to think of myself as broad minded and not to prone to panic, but it doesn't really matter whether I'm accurate in my self-assessment because neither of those qualities is apposite here. What I try to do is not read people's minds and impute motives to them based on my own prejudices. You should try it.
Twelve people decided that the prosecution's witnesses weren't trustworthy enough to believe. For you, that's nullification, which is to say that you think the jurors knew Simpson was guilty but they violated their oath to acquit him anyway. Then they lied about their reasons and motives. You should probably think about why it's so important to you that the jurors not only be mistaken but venal as well.
But as always, it's up to you.
Are you talking to me? If so, I'll be happy to stipulate that you're a much better person than I am because you care oh-so-much about civil rights and domestic violence. Then I'll be happy to tell you to piss off.
If you're not talking to me, never mind.
"What I try to do is not read people's minds and impute motives to them based on my own prejudices." he modestly said.Delete
"mm, the OJ jury didn't return the verdict you wanted."
reading my mind, are you deadrat?
"But to be fair you don't really have an argument so much as a grudge against people...." reading my mind again, eh deadrat?
"why it's so important to you that the jurors not only be mistaken but venal as well." deadrat, reading my mind again.
You don't have the high ground here, deadrat. There's nothing admirable or virtuous about suspending all reason and perception in order to maintain such a detached non-judgemental façade.
"Twelve people decided that the prosecution's witnesses weren't trustworthy enough to believe."
You might have a point if there was any fucking evidence that that is indeed what happened.
It's true that I have to judge what you mean from what you say, but that hardly qualified as mind reading. Do you think it's wrong to infer that you didn't like the OJ verdict? I suppose that secretly you approve as you disparage the jurors. Do you think I'm wrong to call your list of grievances a grudge? What would you call it? And maybe you really think that the OJ verdict is of no importance at all as you spend several posts telling me how derelict the jurors were.
The question of Simpson's guilt is not the issue here, and I've made my own judgments based on what I've read and heard. I can't imagine anyone cares what conclusion I've come to. The issue under discussion is whether the jurors made a good-faith judgment that the state hadn't made its case beyond a reasonable doubt. And here the only evidence we have is what the jurors tell us, and contrary to your claim we have their words. Some of them gave interviews, and three of them wrote a book about their experience.
Could they be lying? Or could they have been willfully ignorant? Of course, but I really have no way of knowing these things, and I'm not willing to make a judgment. Is that admirable or virtuous? You bet. I couldn't tell you the height of the moral ground I occupy, but on this issue I'm looking down at you.
So let me get this straight. You "have to" judge me by what I wrote, but I am not allowed to judge the jurors by what they said? Got it.Delete
Let's look at domestic violence, the heart of the case:
QUESTION: What impact did the domestic abuse have on your decision?
MORAN: Domestic abuse, to me that was a waste of time. This was a murder trial, not domestic abuse. If you want to get tried for domestic abuse, go in another court room and get tried for that.
Or how about the DNA evidence:
After the trial was over, several of the jurors were interviewed and asked about the DNA evidence presented by the prosecution. One juror said that she didn’t even take the DNA evidence into consideration because "many people have the same blood type." Another juror felt that the DNA evidence presented by the prosecution wasn’t relevant because "it’s not against the law to bleed at your own home."Source
Gina Rosborough, a 29-year-old postal worker, voiced her opinion on Oprah Winfrey's syndicated talk show "If he committed such a bloody crime, then there should have been more blood in that Bronco that this just little speck that we saw."
What was actually presented in the trial?
Mixed blood samples in the Bronco in multiple places: to list a few, the steering wheel, carpet, instrument panel, center console, and driver side wall.
Mixture of both victims and Simpson's blood.
Bloody sock with Nicole Brown Simpson's blood found in Simpson's bedroom: not good enough.
BELL: With respect to the socks.
MORAN: The socks, that was another problem with me. The blood on the sock, it went through. If I put my leg in a sock, how did it end up on one, two, three sides?
But who am I to judge.
Judge away. Who am I to stop you? I even think it's reasonable to judge harshly those who make stupid mistakes in important situations. I've objected to your treating decisions, even ones based on mistaken ideas, as venality, and I've objected to your blithe assumptions that just about everybody thinks like you. That's all really.Delete
By the way, Moran's dismissal of domestic violence as an issue is correct. Jurors are not supposed to consider prior bad acts in their verdict, except to the extent that they "show a characteristic method, plan or scheme" similar to the crime charged. Simpson beat his wife. He had never attacked her with a knife, nor had he attacked another person. I'm not sure I'd have had the forbearance to ignore that. Moran claimed he could, but I guess that just means he didn't care about domestic violence.
Killing Nicole Simpson was an act of domestic violence in itself. It provided motive. We don't know whether Simpson attacked her or anyone else previously -- just that there was no police record of it. So you cannot say definitively that he did not. It seems obvious that someone who considered OJ not guilty would be dismissive of suggested motives.Delete
Why else would Simpson have stalked her and be hanging around her house?Delete
"We don't know whether Simpson attacked her or anyone else previously -- just that there was no police record of it."Delete
You just don't know what you're talking about. There were 911 calls from Nicole played during the trial. There were photos of her beaten face shown during the trial.
Simpson plead no contest to spousal abuse in 1989 and did 120 hours of community service.
According to police records released Thursday, Mr. Simpson beat his wife, Nicole, so badly on Jan. 1, 1989, that she required treatment at a hospital. The records also portray her as terrified for her life.
When the police arrived at the couple's house after the beating, the records show, Mrs. Simpson ran out of the bushes, yelling: "He's going to kill me! He's going to kill me!" She told the police that they had been called to her house on eight other occasions after her husband had beaten her, the records say, and Mr. Simpson complained about the frequency of the police calls.
Four months after the 1989 incident, Mr. Simpson pleaded no contest to a charge of spousal abuse, and he was sentenced by a municipal judge to 120 hours of community service and two years' probation. The judge, Ronald Schoenberg, also fined him $200 and ordered him to give $500 to a shelter for battered women.
deadrat, if Moran was correct in dismissing prior evidence of domestic violence, then why was the evidence admissible at the murder trial? What a bunch of horseshit.
And I never accused the jurors of venality. That don't even make sense. I said they were incompetent and did not honor their oath to judge all the evidence impartially.
Deadrat said there was no evidence he had previously attacked her with a knife. I was responding to that -- I think it is a silly objection given his other attacks.Delete
You are a very confused person. Please bring this to the attention of the judge if you are ever called for jury service so that you can be dismissed for cause.
Killing Nicole Simpson was an act of domestic violence in the sense that she was Simpson's ex-wife and that murder is a violent act. It was not domestic violence as contemplated by the California Penal Code. No one charged with murder of a partner or ex-partner is also charged with domestic violence.
The killing provides absolutely no indication of motive, which is the reason a person commits a crime. Motive is not an element of the crime of murder. Motive is a circumstance that a jury may consider tends to establish guilt, while lack of motive likewise is a circumstance that a jury may consider tends to establish innocence. The prosecution proposed jealousy and rejection as OJ' s motives; the defense tried to refute the claims. Almost by definition, any juror who voted not guilty wouldn't be persuaded by claims about motive, so I'm not sure what you're getting at.
We do know that Simpson previously attacked his ex-wife. There are extensive police records, so I'm not saying that he didn't.
Sorry, I misunderstood.Delete
Of course, deadrat makes a good point. There was no prior evidence of simpson ever murdering his wife on previous occasions so the juror's statement was perfectly reasonable.
The prosecution was just allowed to present multiple witnesses documenting prior abuse for the fun of it, but the jurors were certainly not supposed to consider any of that evidence in their deliberations and juror Moran was wise to totally dismiss it.
Prior bad acts are generally inadmissible as character evidence (i.e., to show that the defendant is a bad person), but they are admissible as characteristic evidence (i.e., to show that the defendant had demonstrated a particular pattern of behavior). In OJ's case, his record of domestic violence was admitted but only for the purpose of showing that he had a habit of employing methods, plans, or schemes so similar to the murder that it served as evidence to identify him as the murderer.
(There are other exceptions to the inadmissibility of prior bad acts, but those aren't relevant to the OJ case.)
I suspect that your sly conflation of domestic violence with murder was the real reason the prosecution wanted the evidence admitted, but OJ's striking Nicole was sufficiently different from the butchery of her murder that the jurors rejected it as probative. And of course, it had no bearing at all on the murder of Ron Brown.
An oath taker is expected to honor the oath to the best of his ability. The failure to honor an oath is an intention and venal act.
It doesn't matter what the legal statutes are. Outside the courtroom, killing one's spouse or former spouse is domestic violence. It is why we are so concerned about any form of domestic violence -- because it may escalate to homicide. Women are most likely to be killed by their husbands and most vulnerable during the time when they have announced an intention to leave a marriage. You must be aware of all of this, so this nitpicking form of argument is annoying. Jurors ignored the domestic violence issues in the trial because they did not want to convict a famous African American football star of such a serious crime. It was obvious he was guilty but they decided that all the previous abuses black people have suffered in the justice system dictated that OJ should not be made to pay for his crime. Just like they couldn't bring themselves to take Anita Hill's word over Clarence Thomas's and even blamed her for airing racial dirty laundry in public.Delete
The name of the man murdered along with Nicole Brown Simpson was Ronald Goldman. It has been his family's frustration that his murder has been neglected by the focus on the more famous defendant and victim. We owe his family the courtesy of remembering who he was.
What unites OJ's butchery with his previous domestic abuse is the anger he felt, not the means of trying to control his spouse. There are many forms of abuse that can be and are employed in a dysfunctional marriage. None of them exclude any of the others.
It doesn't matter what the legal statutes are.Delete
But that's all that matters for a trial in the United States. I'm sorry the strictures of the judicial system annoy you, but it's still a good thing that they're in place.
Here's what I agree with:
Women are most likely to be killed by their partners.
Women are especially vulnerable when they announce they're leaving. (Brown was murdered more than two years after her divorce.)
I got Ronald Goldman's name wrong.
There are many forms of domestic abuse.
None of that has anything to do with the mechanics of a murder trial in California.
Here's what I object to:
"Jurors ignored domestic violence ... because they did not want to convict a famous African American football star."
"It was obvious that he was guilty," but the jurors decided to balance previous abuses of black people. (Three of the jurors were white.)
Obviously, you're under no obligation to take my objections seriously any more than you're obligated to understand judicial procedure.
No one likes snark more than I do. Except for my wife. And some of her friends. But it helps to be right for the snark to be effective.Delete
The prosecution was allowed to present evidence of prior abuse on the theory that it showed pattern and practice, i.e., that it was evidence so characteristic of Simpson's behavior that it would help identify him as the murderer. The jurors were specifically instructed not to consider such evidence to show that Simpson was of bad character or that he was a generally violent person. Juror Moran was wise to dismiss it. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have.
It does not excuse Simpson's domestic abuse to note that it was little like the knifing to death of two persons, one of whom wasn't ever his domestic partner.
"No one charged with murder of a partner or ex-partner is also charged with domestic violence."Delete
Excuse me for saying so, but that is truly the most asinine thing you've ever said. I suppose the thought of doing so had never occurred to any prosecutor; the idea could only occur to some argumentative asshole trying to win his point.
This is called "Telling the Lie." There are books about rumor and violence in the black community. The FBI found the Emmitt Till report and trial transcript. It is on-line. Google Emmitt Till murder. The lie told since 1953 is that Till was killed for whistling at a white woman. He physically grabbed her, she screamed, pulled free, went for a gun. Pge 265 in transcript. Other cases are the Fantasy Punch and Troop jacket, T Brawly, and T Martin incidents. It does not matter what the evidence is or what can be proved . The lie will continue for years every time one of these groups needs to raise money. Given free speech the only way to stop it is to stop it is to boycott advertisers who sponsor shows which allow the lie unopposed.ReplyDelete
Hey anon 3:20-Delete
Googled it but can't find the transcript. Can you provide a link?
And just so I don't misunderstand you, are you saying that if he did indeed grab her, then he had it coming?
Are you saying that women must submit to sexual assault if preventing it would result in possible injury to the assailant? You don't have to intend death to have it occur when physical violence is involved.Delete
Wow quite brave (or foolhardy) of you to bring Emmitt Till into this.Delete
Paging Deadrat ...
Here you go cacambo:Delete
We have Carolyn Bryant's testimony that Till assaulted her, and even though other eye-witnesses contradict her, I see no reason not to take at face value her testimony as a godfearin' white woman in Mississippi in 1955. Carolyn's husband Roy and his half-brother JW simply talked sweet reason to Till about his rudeness, and even though they admitted to murdering Till after their acquittal, I, for one, don't believe their story for a minute. As JW said in an interview, "I'm no bully; I never hurt a nigger in my life." I think that Till, overcome with remorse, broke both his wrists and his left leg, gouged out one of his eyes, fastened a cotton-gin engine around his neck with barbed wire, and shot himself in the head with a 45-caliber handgun before throwing himself in the Tallahatchie River.Delete
It's a damned shame that lies continue to besmirch the memory of these good men.
Waste of a perfectly salvageable cotton gin engine if you ask me. But the NAACP spared no expense in making the cadaver they dumped in the river look horribly disfigured in their effort to protect the Till boy, who they helped flee, and discredit a way of life that made Mississippi the envy of every state in the Confederacy.Delete
The question is not whether Till was murdered. It is whether he assaulted or whistled at Bryant. The context of the discussion was whether facts of the case were being misrepresented or exaggerated for effect, not whether Till was murdered. No one was justifying what happened to him. They were talking about overheated and mistaken language surrounding these cases, such as portraying Brown as a gentle giant when he contributed at least in part to what happened to him.Delete
You are demonstrating again why there cannot be any discussion of race in this country.
Which advertisers should we boycott over this Till matter @ 7:08?Delete
I'd use my typing slowly riff here, except that I've been informed that it's getting old.Delete
That Till was murdered is the only salient fact about his death. Whether he touched Carolyn Bryant or whistled at her or did both or did neither isn't relevant to the "facts of the case." Except, of course, for the sociological context of the period of MIssissippi apartheid.
The only "overheated and mistaken language" in the Till case were those words that came from Carolyn Bryant's mouth while she was on the stand and from the mouths of the killers once they had the protection of double jeopardy.
What's astounding is that you think otherwise and that you think I'm the one who's the problem in discussing race in this country.
Does it make any sense to you that Till would have whistled under the circumstances of life in the south at that time? Does it make any sense that he would have been killed in such a way merely for whistling, even in that time period? None of that makes sense. That's why I'm less inclined to dismiss Bryant's testimony as fabricated. Plus I am tired of having women's accusations be dismissed as untrue by men.Delete
Does it make any sense that Till would have whistled at Carolyn Bryant given the circumstances? I can't answer that with certainty. Till was from Chicago, which was just as segregated as if not more than Mississippi but without the fatal traps in social conventions left over from the Golden Age of Lynching. What difference does it make? People who knew Till said he sometimes whistled to forestall a stutter.Delete
Does it make any sense that Till would have been murdered for whistling in 1955? Of course it doesn't make sense, but it wouldn't have been anything unusual. I date the Golden Age of Lynching from 1882 (when the Tuskegee Institute started keeping records) to 1945, the end of World War II. But in the ten years after the war, there were still 17 black people lynched in the south, three of them in 1955. The Tuskegee Institute records the following reasons for lynching -- a dispute with a white person, testifying against a white person, attempting to register to vote, and unpopularity.
So you actually believe that part of the courtly southern folk mythology that black men were lynched "only" for the crime of assaulting white women?
So on the one hand, you believe that Till was aware enough of his position not to whistle at Carolyn Bryant, but that on the other he went ahead and assaulted her?
And you believe Carolyn Bryant's fabrications because you're tired of men dismissing women's accusations?
Seriously, what's wrong with you?
I don't know why men assault women but there is plenty of evidence that they do. Why is it impossible that Till did? Because he is black?Delete
And I don't know why extraterrestrials anally probe humans. Why is it impossible that aliens didn't attack Bryant? Because they're green?Delete
Seriously, what's wrong with you? Do you really know nothing about the murder, or about the particular time and place of its occurrence?
And you still haven't told me your thinking about why this is relevant to Ferguson. I'm almost afraid to find out.
Between the general cluelessness and the generally-clueless posting as Anonymous, I can't tell what "gentle giant" has to do with the Till case, if anything. If something, perhaps you can explain.Delete
Brown was misrepresented as someone large but peaceful and harmless, until the store video was released. This discussion started with someone complaining that Till's story, as presented in the media similarly presented him as someone harmless, just whistling, when the trial transcript describes his behavior differently. We cannot know what Till did or didn't do, but the media presented only one version of what happened -- the one showing Till as harmless, just as it initially did with Brown. It helps to read a series of comments from the beginning.Delete
No one here is justifying vigilante behavior (whether lynching or looting). Elsewhere on the internet, people are discussing the racist stereotypes whereby black men are endowed with nonhuman qualities (extra strength, demonic subhumanity). I have not seen anyone discuss the similarly racist reactions whereby white women (especially fair-skinned blondes) are endowed with nonhuman qualities, turning them into symbols of success or trophies for men. That makes them especially vulnerable to men who do not value them as human beings, but seek to acquire them using legitimate (marriage, dating) or illegal means (rape, kidnapping, coercion, drugging). That racial symbolism makes it entirely possible that Till might have accosted or even attacked Bryant despite the consequences and it explains why OJ was unwilling to let Nicole Brown go, even after their relationship was over, why her rejecting behavior toward him had greater emotional impact than it would if there were no symbolic overtones relevant to his declining career and perhaps manhood. It explains why Tiger seeks out Scandinavian supermodels to date and it explains why Cosby might drug and rape young women (if he did). Ignoring these aspects of racism makes events seem inexplicable, but these racial stereotypes too are important when you consider our troubled racial history. This is why explaining Till's case is not a slam dunk. Fairy tale explanations about white racism are easy to understand, but I think never the whole story.Delete
Among the stereotypes about black men is the claim that black youth are judged to be older by white observers. I am wondering whether this is because they are black or because people from a different racial group have greater difficulty judging age, just as they have trouble judging other qualities (emotional expression, identity). Does anyone know whether black observers have trouble judging white or Asian ages too? Is this bidirectional? To claim it is the result of a demonizing stereotype or unfamiliarity with people of a different race, you would need to examine that empirically.Delete
It helps to read a series of comments from the beginningDelete
It also helps to understand what an analogy is, not to mention knowing a little history.
The representation of Brown as "peaceful and harmless" is relevant to the understanding of his death. Peaceful and harmless people don't end up in altercations with a policemen over a traffic infraction. We cannot know what Emmett Till did in Carolyn Bryant's store in 1955 in the sense that we don't have a videotape, but even if we accept Bryant's testimony at face value, Emmett Till was still harmless -- even in her version, the most he did was grab her wrist and ask her for a date, supposedly in lewd language.
It's as absurd to give any credence to Carolyn Bryant's story as it is to imply that her version portrays Till as anything but harmless. And it's grotesque to imply that her story makes Till's murder any more understandable.
This is why explaining Till's case is not a slam dunk.Delete
Sorry, but the explanation of Till's case has been a slam dunk since it was reported nearly sixty years ago. If you don't understand why Carolyn Bryant's story was a fabrication, then I suggest you read up on the charming social traditions of the Jim Crow south. While you're educating yourself, you might want to contemplate why Till's murderers didn't bother to mention the "accosting" and "assaulting" in their confessional interview with Look magazine.
Fairy tale explanations about white racism are easy to understand, but I think never the whole story.
You lost me at "think," Sparky.
Would it help if I spoke slower?Delete
It would help if you "spoke" sensibly.Delete
Eye socket blown-out, Brown running 40-50 feet from the vehicle and charging back towards it, the Hulk Hogan-like blows raining down with such near-fatal force.ReplyDelete
Happy to know you're here to call-out the biased stories.
You don't have to take Wilson's word for what happened. There is also eye-witness testimony and physical evidence. The grand jury saw all of it and discussed it at length. They asked questions of the witnesses. Go read the testimony yourself. Try to do it with an open mind, as the jurors were no doubt instructed to do.Delete
Brown was taking cigarillos to his memaw? How Swisher Sweet of him.ReplyDelete
How does a mostly black city wind up with a mostly white grand jury?
Writing in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin was critical of the DA for dumping a truckload of evidence on the GJ and basically saying "see ya later." He did conclude, however, that even if the case had been handled in the more typical way (i.e. the DA presenting his own case) the result probably would have been the same. That may be the most measured (chicken) reading of the result I've yet encountered.
How much corroboration was there for the assertion that Brown's demeanor that day was to his regular kitten-cuddly self as Hyde was to Jekyll? Was Brown susceptible to wild mood swings or personality changes? How much of an ass-with-a-badge was Wilson being, and what kind of an ass is he usually?
If Wilson should not be indicted, does that mean he's a good policeman? Will his action that day be used as an example of good police work for rookies and trainees? (Never forget to put one in de brain.) Will he receive a commendation for courage under slapping?
Lest I be as overwhelmed with conflicting information as this grand jury, I'll have to see where my favorite opinionmakers come down on the issue. That way I'll know what talking points to parrot.
A mostly black city winds up with a mostly white grand jury when the black citizens are not registered to vote (only 30% of black residents of Ferguson were), when they are excused by financial necessity or incapacity, or have lost voting privileges (by committing a felony in some states, not sure about MO). The selection process was random, and that can result in a nonrepresentative sample even with a larger % of blacks in the pool simply by chance, especially since 12 jurors is a very small sample size from a very large population.Delete
Jeralynn at TalkLeft thinks there was insufficient evidence supporting indictment and that a preliminary hearing judge would have dismissed a case had one been brought. You have to be a black attorney to think this should have been prosecuted based on the law involved.
Police are not required to subject themselves to being slapped or punched or any other physical injury in the course of doing their jobs. People don't seem to understand that. If we start ignoring small crimes, like "jaywalking" or theft, larger crimes become more prevalent -- I think that has become part of basic policing. I don't think average citizens of Ferguson are going to want a police force that ignores bullying actions by black teens because they don't want confrontations that might lead to violence. That is what already happens in some neighborhoods and the people who live there are tyrannized because the police don't protect them and the criminals prey on them. That is where ignoring Brown's actions would lead.
"Writing in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin was critical of the DA for dumping a truckload of evidence on the GJ and basically saying 'see ya later.' He did conclude, however, that even if the case had been handled in the more typical way (i.e. the DA presenting his own case) the result probably would have been the same. That may be the most measured (chicken) reading of the result I've yet encountered."Delete
Previously I was under the impression liberals believed it was unethical and un-American for a prosecutor to bring charges against a defendant unless the available evidence implied it was more probable than not that he committed a crime.
Has that standard now been abolished?
Mika continues to disappoint.Delete
Your ignorance is fairly deep. A mostly black city winds up with a mostly white grand jury when the mostly black city is in a mostly white county. Missouri law requires that grand juries represent a cross-section of the county in which they sit and that jurors be chosen at random by the circuit court. The grand jury that failed to indict Wilson reflected the demographics of St Louis County.
Had the grand jury indicted, there would have been no "preliminary hearing judge" to dismiss the case. A grand jury indictment serves as the determination of probable cause.
Your point about voter participation is more apt in the case of the Ferguson city council (5 white, 1 black), the mayor of Ferguson (white), the Ferguson School Board (5 white, 1 Hispanic), and the Ferguson Police (50 white, 3 black). The latter appointed by the city council.
Your cluelessness is even deeper than your ignorance. No one is suggesting that Brown's actions should have been ignored, just that it might have been possible to hold him responsible for walking in the middle of the street and stealing a handful of cigars without killing him. But then again, maybe you know better better seeing as how you're plugged into what the "average citizens of Ferguson" are thinking.
Well, your discussion contradicts what several attorneys have said online, but who cares? Calling me names changes nothing about the facts of this case.Delete
At the point that Brown was shot, he was not walking in the street or stealing cigarillos. He had attacked a police officer and was continuing that attack by coming toward him (to phrase it neutrally) in a manner the officer considered menacing. That will get you shot 10 times out of 10, white or black. Portraying this shooting as a response to jaywalking is dishonest. People keep asking what Wilson could have done differently without asking what Brown could have done. He could have (1) moved to the sidewalk, (2) not attacked Wilson, (3) not backtalked the officer (Johnson's testimony), (4) not reached into the car or hit the officer, (5) not run away, (6) actually put his hands into the air and surrendered, (7) not come toward the officer when instructed to lie down. And none of this addresses his pot smoking or his stealing, which contributed to the situation less directly.
How do you hold him responsible for that now? The black community isn't even trying. That sets a terrible example for other black teens, especially when they are told dishonestly that they can be shot for just walking down a street, by people they presumably trust.
This has nothing to do with justice. It has to do with reality. Whites don't shoot blacks for no reason. Blacks cannot behave in menacing ways toward anyone (white or black) without consequences. Neither can whites -- they are shot too, in similar circumstances. When intemperate things are said like this, it erodes the context in which positive change can happen.
You have no more idea what people in Ferguson think than I do. I did say it was my opinion. You, on the other hand, are doing a lot of name-calling today.
Which attorneys online where?Delete
Deadrat leaves out attacking an officer in his car and charging him. It's skittles all over again with these lefty geniusesDelete
What does skittles have to do with anything?Delete
@9:17, Jeralynn Merritt and various commenters who are attorneys discuss this at length at TalkLeft. Go back to the Ferguson thread the day after the verdict was released.Delete
Yeah, the infamous attorneys online, where anyone can play Clarence Darrow. I'm not calling you names; I'm calling you ignorant and clueless. These are not personal traits; they're things you can fix.Delete
You must be talking to yourself, because very little that you say has anything to do with my comment. But keep repeating it. Maybe you'll convince yourself. But I'm sure your eyewitness testimony about the Wilson-Brown confrontation helped the grand jury. And I'll bet Wilson is relieved to have your accurate assessment of his state of mind. That way, we don't have to rely on his self-serving version of events.
I don't hold Wilson responsible for his actions. That's not a civic duty I bear. If it's any interest to you, given what I know about the way the law protects the police, I think the grand jury reached the right conclusion. Certainly, given what's been reported, no reasonable jury would have convicted Wilson even of involuntary manslaughter.
Just for your future reference, Brown's stealing was not an issue in his shooting, pot mellows people out, and if you think this isn't about justice, then you're even more clueless than I thought. Which I hadn't thought possible.
Yeah, I pretty much do know more what people in Ferguson think than you do. That's because I've listened to what some of them have to say. But in any case, it's your claim to know the average citizens of Ferguson, not mine.
Whites don't shoot blacks for no reason? You're in despair about the context in which positive change can happen?
Have I told you today to go fuck yourself? Hard to tell when you're posting as Anonymous.
You're a piece of work. First you misconstrue my statement -- I didn't say a preliminary hearing comes after a grand jury indictment. I discussed it as an alternative if McCullough chose to charge Wilson. People have been complaining elsewhere because he didn't and discussing what might have happened had he done so. The consensus is that there still would not have been a trial because a judge would dismiss at the preliminary hearing, so the result would be the same.Delete
I get it that you are angry. Try not to take it out on folks here.
You have mistaken contempt for anger. If I misconstrued your statement about preliminary hearings, then I was mistaken and I apologize. I figure my mistake entitles you to roughly a 25% reduction in the richly-deserved contempt I heaped on your head.Delete
If you insist (and to show what a prince I really am), I'll make it 30%.
Have a nice Thanksgiving.Delete
lol deadrat retreats into snark and tantrums pretty quicklyDelete
"pot mellows people out"...except for the people it doesn't, the people in whom it causes psychotic episodes, the people it makes anxious and paranois, the people who become disoriented and respond inappropriately to those around them...wow, you're just full of juvenile misconceptions, deadbrainDelete
@5:34A. lol? What are you? Twelve?Delete
@5:37A Jesus. Straight outta Reefer Madness.
The NIDA (Natl Institute on Drug Abuse) cites long term studies showing connections to mental illness in habitual users, including psychosis, hallucinations, depression & suicidal thinking & anxiety. In teens, it impairs judgment, memory & learning. There is a scientific literature on this, so laughing it off with references to a 50's propaganda film is ducking the issue. Maybe it had no such effect on him, but it could have and it is a reasonable concern, especially given that his family keeps saying he was behaving atypically.Delete
... his pot smoking or his stealing, which contributed to the situation less directly.Delete
Now, to be fair, I can't tell one ignoramus from another when they all post as "Anonymous," so if that wasn't you, sorry. But it's hard to see how Brown's stealing had anything to do with his death. And now you're down from "less directly" to "maybe it had no effect." So I guess that means maybe it had its usual effect.
OK, I can't argue with that.
There's no indication that Prof. McNeal or the moderators have read the Grand Jury transcript. I presume none of them has read that material. As a result, the interview is worthless, at best.ReplyDelete
It would be nice if an expert brought in to discuss a case like this had expertise in the actual facts.
It is sad that none of these MSNBC pseudo journalists have made note of the fact that, since the turn of the century, black kids in Missouri have gained almost two years in their math performance in the 8th grade. But par for the course.ReplyDelete
I know this format, with its focus on our incompetent media elite does not allow Bob to engage in this kind of well articulated opinion post, but for a minute I imagined myself reading Somerby himself in earlier days:ReplyDelete
Thanks for the link, Anon. Like you, I found Marshall's essay well-written and thoughtful. I disagree with one of Marshall's comments: "So Wilson puts the car in reverse and grabs Brown to get his attention." It seems unreasonable to me to think that Wilson, sitting in the car, would have grabbed someone standing outside the car.Delete
I have problems with Wilson's story. His injuries, although consistent with being hit, don't seem consistent with being hit very hard. And, I cannot understand the large number of shots fired. My guess FWIW is that Wilson panicked and shot more times than he needed to. I agree with Marshall that Wilson is probably now exaggerating things to make himself look better.
Of course there's no legal meaning to my opinion or Marshall's opinion. As they say, opinions are like a--holes, everyone has one.
Police in many areas are taught explicitly to keep firing until the gun is empty. That's because a single shot does not stop a large person.Delete
Which areas? How many is it. Are more areas taught to fire less than many are taught to fire more?Delete
David in Ca, would you panic if someone the size of Brown, capable of taking your gun, charged at you after attacking you in your cruiser?Delete
Most likely I would panic in those circumstances. What's your point?Delete
@8:32, you can look this up as easily as I can. I got the info from my local police department's citizen gun training course.Delete
What is the name of your local police department?Delete
I don't want to tell everyone on the internet where I live, for obvious reasons.Delete
Google "stopping power" together with "police weapons training" and you will find several sources that talk about the practice of firing many rounds at once.Delete
On a residential street at noon on a summer Saturday.Delete
Time of day and amount of sunshine do not affect stopping power.Delete
It seems to me that policemen should vary their approach, depending on whether the person they're shooting at is believed to be armed. If he's believed to be unarmed, then there's less reason to fire so many shots.Delete
There isn't enough time to do this in many situations. The first priority is protecting the officer's life. The second is protecting innocent bystanders. The third is protecting the person being shot at (the suspect). In this case, he was believed to be someone who needed to be stopped, who was not responding to voice commands. Being armed is not part of what determines whether Brown was dangerous at that point. His failure to respond to commands and his desire to attack others was. Plenty of people are severely injured and even killed by unarmed people. This idea that being armed or unarmed matters is wrong.Delete
And TDH sets out a steaming turd on his table just in time for Thanksgiving.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I saw that segment on Morning Joe. She was on for maybe 2 or 3 minutes. If you blinked or needed to go take a leak you missed it. Meanwhile, from the minute the program went on the air, Good old boy, GQ Joe, was non-stop praise and defense of the grand jury decision, with his merry band of sycophantic nodders all playing their role.
So, out of a 3 hour program where virtually every word from the host and guests was in defense of the grand jury decision, TDH picks out the one instance where a Harvard professor was given a few minutes to offer a contrary opinion.
And as we all know, this blog is about,
"musings on the mainstream "press corps" and the american discourse"
You can't make this shit up.
It didn't seem like a contrary opinion. It also did no credit to Harvard.Delete
Nobody has done credit to Harvard since Bob left and Al and Tommy Lee gave us Ollie.Delete
Michael Brown could have done something different that day. For example, not stealing cigars and shoving people in a store, jaywalking, and then trying to take Officer Wilson's gun.ReplyDelete
And you could have made a sensible comment at 8:22P on 11/26/14. What's your point? That this isn't the best of all possible worlds?Delete
Trying to wrestle a gun away from a cop is never going to end well.Delete
According to Wilson's story.Delete
Which is supported by the physical evidence.Delete
Which was tailored to fit with the physical evidence.Delete
A story that doesn't fit the physical evidence cannot be true. That was the problem with many of the eyewitness accounts, including the ones favored by those who think Wilson should have been indicted.Delete
Was Wilson's GJ interview consistent with his incident report?Delete
Ever dawn on you that Wilson's story was remarkably similar to Zimmerman's? Black kid with super human strength was about to beat me to death?Delete
Makes just about any unarmed black kid a target, doesn't it?
Black kid with 100 pounds on him who tried to take his gun was trying to take it again. He did what everyone else would do including the sub-80 IQ lefty hypocrites.Delete
In boxing, the two men would be in two different weight classes. Wilson would be a super-cruiserweight (210 lbs) whereas Brown would be heavyweight.Delete
They don't let people in different weight classes fight each other because the extra weight gives an advantage.
You shouldn't be implying the difference was all in Wilson's mind (because he is a racist) when there was an actual physical difference between the two that is acknowledged in the world of professional fighting.
Forgot to include Brown's weight -- 285 lbsDelete
Here is where the boxing analogy falls short. In a boxing match, you presume that the two combantants have undergone similar conditioning and training in the techniques of the sport.Delete
We don't know what the physical conditioning and training of Michael Brown was, do we? In fact, some might describe him, from what little we know, as obese and completely out of shape, as compared to a 6-4, 210 pound cop, who, we would at least hope, would have some sort of physical conditioning requirement as part of his job.
I am also amused that those now citing the weight differential as a critical factor -- everyone knows that the bigger guy will always prevail -- had no trouble believing that Trayvon Martin could so easily kick Zimmerman's ass.
Some might also describe him as young and with faster reflexes, or as more motivated. Those who assume cops keep up any physical conditioning after training are probably incorrect.Delete
Trayvon Martin was bigger than Zimmerman at the time of the fight. He had a height and reach advantage. Zimmerman gained a lot of weight during the time between when the fight occurred and when he was tried
But I'm glad you understand that boxing was an analogy. I was not ever saying it was a "critical factor." The critical factor was motivation. I said that Wilson perceived Brown as being big because he was bigger than himself, not because of a racist stereotype about superhuman qualities.
"Bulking up to run through the shots..."Delete
"not because of a racist stereotype about superhuman qualities."
"Bulking up to run through the shots..."Delete
You left out the best part.
“It looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.”
I can certainly understand Wilson's fear. Here he is shooting at the guy and the guy is getting mad. What an unnatural reaction.
As soon as you have a "take" then you can forget about things and move on to the next controversy down the pike.ReplyDelete
The prosecutor you can see him acted like a defense lawyer by allowing the accused (Wilson) 4 hours to explain why he shouldn't ever be charged for the crime.ReplyDelete
Oh - and then there was the 40+ minutes he spent laying out the defense for Wilson during his press conference.
It's cute how libs want the facts to be hidden from the grand jury depending on the color of the perp's skin, but when the perp is white they lament the tradition of lopsided grand jury proceedings.Delete
Your Thanksgiving holiday was boring because you had to listen to grandpa's stories all over again and Wizard of Oz wasn't on TV, and your friends were all out of town, so you thought you come over here and bait some liberals?Delete
Who thought giving someone as immature as Officer Wilson a gun?ReplyDelete
This sentence doesn't parse.Delete
Anonymous @12:42P, I don't think it's a matter of maturity but rather the training to cope with adrenaline.Delete
Anonymous @1:03P, try putting the word "of" after the word "thought."
Deadrat, isn't that Anon @12:42's responsibility?Delete
Certainly. I'm just suggesting that @12:42's mistaken omission shouldn't present much of a hurdle for native speaker's of English.
Er, speakers of English.Delete
I didn't know anyone named jesus commented.Delete
Oops, should have been, "Who thought of giving someone as immature as Officer Wilson a gun?"Delete
But it does bring-up the issues of hiring and training of police.
Under the best light, police incompetence tainted this case to the point justice is unrecognizable. A thorough examination of police hiring and training practices is due immediately.
Letting the accused control the crime scene (Wilson drove the vehicle he was in, which he says is where the confrontation started).ReplyDelete
Malfeasance or incompetence?
Who cares. Shut the police force down.
What forensic evidence could have been found that would change anything about the case? It is obvious who shot who. Nothing about the car or the weapon can shed any more light on what happened. No one has ever doubted that Wilson shot Brown. Manufacturing a fuss about this changes nothing about Wilson's actions or Brown's. You guys watch too much CSI. When Wilson admits shooting Brown, you don't need evidence to prove it.Delete
Oh, everything's obvious. Well, I guess that excuses gross incompetence in handling a crime scene. Wilson feared that Brown was going for his gun. Maybe forensics could check for Brown's fingerprints on the gun. Oh, wait. The chain of custody begins and ends with Wilson. But never mind. It's all so obvious.Delete
Perhaps it would have been nice for the grand jury to know what Wilson had to say immediately after the shooting, before the narrative had time to solidify. But darn, the cop who interviewed Wilson didn't take any notes, so there was nothing to present on that score.
Note that nothing says that competent handling of the investigation couldn't have produced exculpatory evidence.
You seem to be suggesting that every shooting should be treated like a crime and cops be considered suspects instead of employees. That may make sense to you because you have assumed Wilson's guilt from the fact of the shooting. The grand jury was necessitated by the political pressure not the circumstances and that is why Wilson neither behaved nor was treated like a suspect. Even if Brown never touched the gun, it changes nothing. The shooting happened later when Brown did not respond to the officer by stopping. That you think Wilson needs exculpatory evidence is very telling.Delete
In fact, I assume that Wilson would never have been found guilty of illegal homicide of any degree. Both the law and juries protect cops when they kill people, and the varying stories from witnesses would have provided more than enough reasonable doubt. So much for your mind-reading skills, eh?Delete
Every shooting, especially one that results in death, should be handled with carefully-followed protocol. I think given the DA's personal history, asking for an indictment from a grand jury was the right thing to do. You can even make a case for using the grand jury as an investigative body, but the DA should have recused himself and his office from conducting proceedings. The record shows that the proceedings are at least an embarrassment to the state.
I'm glad you think that whether Brown touched the gun is immaterial. But perhaps that might have been a salient fact in determining whether Wilson was in the danger he claimed. But we'll never know. Please note that Wilson would not have been within the law to shoot Brown because he didn't "respond ... by stopping." What's telling here is that you don't think that cops shooting citizens should merit the same attention given to say, citizens shooting cops.
Anonymous November 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM,Delete
So do you think the accused should always be in control of the crime scene, or just most of the time?
We think officer Wilson is a fine (white) upstanding man, and we should just trust him to have done the right thing. Police officers deserve our unquestioning faith, even after they've shot someone dead under unclear circumstances. They are, after all, the only thing between us and those people, who would be howling in our nice, clean streets like animals if not for fine upstanding (white) men like officer Wilson and their guns and badges. Well, their guns. The badges are kind of a metal fig leaf.Delete
I haven't read the transcripts of the grand jury testimony, but I've read they report that Wilson not only drove his car to the station, he washed up there and placed his gun into evidence. Apparently, the the officer in charge of the scene didn't take notes during his initial interview with Wilson. The grand jury heard Wilson's testimony after having been handed the text of a MIssouri statute that made it legal for a cop to shoot a fleeing suspect. The ADAs in charge finally told the grand jury that the law had been superseded by a Supreme Court ruling. But they didn't say how -- the Court ruled that the suspect must present a danger -- and they refused to answer a juror's question about whether the Supreme Court could overrule a state law.ReplyDelete
My understanding is that it isn't the Grand Jury's job to determine guilt or innocence. A jury would do that after a trial. The question they asked is about guilt under the law, so it may not have been answered for that reason.Delete
I'm sorry, @4:49, but that makes no sense. The grand jury's job is determine that given the evidence presented, whether it's more likely than not that the target of their investigation committed the crime. The ADAs told the grand jury that it is legal under Missouri law for the police to kill any suspect who flees. When they corrected themselves, they didn't tell the jurors what made their original claim incorrect, and they refused to inform a juror that the correction to the law was mandated. You don't think their error and their refusal to clarify likely influenced the grand jury about what was legal and what wasn't?Delete
No, I think that belongs with the jury who would hear the case. The grand jury should consider whether there is evidence to charge, not whether he is guilty. Plus, the members of the jury are not attorneys and the explanation on the fly sounds like it would be confusing.Delete
I don't know how to make this any clearer. The grand jury's job is to determine given the evidence presented by the prosecutor, whether it's more likely than not that the target is guilty of committing the crime under consideration. That's what a charge, also called a true bill or an indictment, means. That's not enough to punish someone under the law. For that, a petit jury, hearing admissible evidence from both sides, must determine that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For either type of jury, its members must understand what's legal and what's not. Please notice that if this weren't part of the job of a grand jury, the ADAs would not have bothered to hand the jurors copies of a statute in the first place.Delete
Grand jurors are generally not attorneys. That's why the ADAs are there to explain the law to them. It's necessary to understand where the law draws its lines before anyone can make a determination of likely guilt. The ADAs in this case misled the grand jury into thinking that the law permits cops to kill fleeing suspects simply because they're fleeing. That's not true. The correction is simple -- the cop must have reason to believe that the fleeing suspect is a danger. The correction is also mandatory per the power of the Supreme Court. The answer to the grand juror's question "Can the Supreme Court overrule Missouri statutes?" is a simple "yes." People don't have to be an attorneys to understand that answer. In fact, they should have learned that in high-school civics class. In refusing to explain the law and in leaving the impression that any correction might not be mandatory, the ADAs simply let their error stand.
Not if you're trying to score points for whitey!
"It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented."ReplyDelete
Antonin Scalia, 1992 Supreme Court case United States v. Williams;
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