Secret from PostSecret.com
By Alex Jenkins
1) Where is the incident report from the shooting?
When the Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, held a press conference on Monday to release the name of the officer who killed Mike Brown, he mysteriously also took that opportunity to release footage, along with a detailed incident report, of Mike Brown stealing from a convenience store shortly before the shooting. It wasn’t until several hours later, at a second press conference that Jackson acknowledged that Officer Wilson had no knowledge of the theft at the time he stopped Mike Brown. When reporters asked the obvious question, “why release the video if it had nothing to do with the fatal encounter?” Jackson mendaciously claimed that he hadn’t wanted to release the video, but he felt forced to because the media had filed freedom-of-information requests demanding it’s release. Astonishingly, none of the media followed up by asking, “well then why don’t you also release the incident report from the actual shooting?”.
I’ve just learned from watching tonight’s episode of “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell (the only journalist actually covering the cover-up), that the police department has just admitted that no incident report was ever made. It seems clear now that the officer and his accomplices in the department didn’t want him to be tied to a version of events that could turn out to be incriminating or would be contradicted by the physical evidence or any potential video evidence that might subsequently emerge.
2) Was Officer Darren Wilson Justified in Shooting Mike Brown as he fled?
Although the police have been extremely cagey about disclosing the officer’s account of the circumstances surrounding the shooting, they have released small tidbits of information here and there. The New York Times for example, in an article that is otherwise incredibly favorable to the police, says that department sources acknowledge that Officer Wilson fired shots at Mike Brown while Brown was turned away and attempting to flee. All of the eye-witnesses who’ve spoken publicly have corroborated this fact, and yet, it is mentioned only in passing as though it’s irrelevant to the allegation of murder. The law in the United State makes it clear that it is illegal for an officer to fire upon a fleeing suspect unless there is reason to believe that the suspect poses an immediate threat (of death or grave bodily harm) to the officer or others. It seems unlikely that Mike Brown met this criterion, given the fact that he was known (or ought to have been known) to be unarmed.
3) Where are all the witnesses who support Darren Wilson?
In a bafflingly irresponsible New York Times article published online yesterday, the paper claimed that witness accounts are “sharply conflicting” in terms of what happened. The article makes great efforts to suggest several of the witnesses versions contradict each other. The authors then proceed to cite several witness accounts, none of which are mutually contradictory, and all of which tell the same basic story. To support the ostensible thesis of the article (i.e. that the witnesses are in disagreement), the paper presents the official police version, which holds that Mike Brown lowered his head and charged toward Officer Wilson, forcing Wilson to fire the fatal shots. The article then claims that “some witnesses have backed up that account “. Yet, unlike the 5 witnesses who’ve spoken publicly, whose names and faces we already know, the article offers no information these phantom witnesses who supposedly corroborate Darren Wilson’s version. We don’t know who they are, whether they have a relationship with either party, or whether they saw the shooting first-hand. We also don’t know if these witnesses spoke directly to the New York Times (or some other news outlet) or if these witnesses’ accounts were told to the police and were later disseminated by the police to the media. If the latter is the case, then that seriously calls into question the reliability, and perhaps even the existence, of these witness accounts.
4) If Darren Wilson had been a black male, would he have been arrested already?
The fact that none of the above questions have been asked by the mainstream media (with one or two notable exceptions) is symptomatic of a pathological tendency within the media to create balance where there is none. The known facts of this case are incredibly damning and they overwhelmingly favor those of us who believe that Darren Wilson should be arrested immediately. We have at least six eyewitnesses who say that the officer shot Mike Brown while he was fleeing, and then fired several fatal shots at an already injured Mike Brown while the teenager was at a safe distance and posed no threat to the officer. Five of those witnesses say Mike Brown was shot while his hands were in the air attempting to surrender. The one witness who doesn’t claim to have seen this, admits that his view of the events was interrupted and the time when the gesture would have occurred. Four of these witnesses have been interviewed on camera, the fifth has been interviewed by several news outlets and has revealed his name. The sixth witness tweeted his account in real-time, which means it is time-stamped making it perhaps the most reliable of all. So far not a single eyewitness has come forward with a version that supports the police department’s account of the shooting.
Given these facts, my last question is this. If Darren Wilson had been a black male, not in law-enforcement, and had shot dead an unarmed teenager who had attempted to flee, and there were six eye-witnesses all describing a scene of cold-blooded murder, and all of whose accounts agreed on the basic facts, wouldn’t Darren Wilson be in jail by now?
Happy Birthday, Nate.
"My brother went to college in America, and it was very hard for my parents to send him there. My father worked two jobs. I’d always hear him talking to my mother about money troubles. So when I graduated from high school, I went straight to work, to help pay for my brother’s school. I never resented it, because I knew he was more intelligent than me, and he deserved it. But now he has a great job in Australia, and I wish that I’d gone to college. But you know what? That same brother married into a family with two sisters. He married the older sister. And at the wedding, I met the younger sister, we danced, and now we are married. Her name means ‘angel,’ and she is my angel. And I tell her every day that she’s better than being a millionaire. So my brother got his job. And I got my wife." (Dhana, Jordan)
By Alex Jenkins
In the wake of the Mike Brown tragedy in St. Louis, many people noted, with sad irony, that Brown was set to begin his first day of college on the Monday after his death. It was as though we needed to somehow establish that he was worthy of sympathy by pointing out that he was “one of the good ones.” As if being human was reason enough.
Now that the police have released evidence that Brown was in an altercation with a store clerk prior to the shooting, the conversation about Brown’s past has taken on a whole new level of significance. As was the case with Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown will now be put on trial for his own murder. The trial has already begun on social media and in the blogosphere, where racists and conservatives gleefully insist that this new information proves that Brown isn’t the angel that the protestors made him out to be.
The persecution of Mike Brown, like the persecution of Trayvon Martin before him, is a symptom of America’s insidious legacy of white supremacy. That legacy dehumanizes blacks and reduces them to the status of livestock, or even worse, background decor in the theater of human life. Far from being seen as complex, multifaceted humans, with feelings, and ambitions and families who love them, black people’s worth is determined by whether they are deemed be good Negroes (those who facilitate the well-being of mainstream society) or bad Negroes (those who are perceived as hindering the welfare of mainstream society, and therefore need to be caged or otherwise removed from society). This dichotomy does not place any value in black life beyond its usefulness to others. This dichotomy also doesn’t allow for any nuance, complexity or grey area, which is a hallmark of all humanity.
Humans are complex creatures that are at once capable of committing vile, unethical acts, as well as committing inspiring feats of altruism, compassion and creativity. Acknowledging ones humanity means recognizing that these complexities exist. Racists and conservatives recognized George Zimmerman’s humanity when they overlooked his extensive and well-documented history of violence, which included domestic violence and assaulting a police officer. Yet they could not extend the same courtesy to Trayvon Martin, when they labeled him a thug for the much more minor transgressions of having smoked weed and getting suspended from school.
Based on the still photos from the security camera of the convenience store, it does indeed appear that Mike Brown was involved in an altercation with a much smaller store clerk, prior to his being killed. Much to the delight of racists and apologists for police brutality, Mike Brown’s status as a college-bound “good Negro” will be greatly diminished. But this shouldn’t diminish the fervor with which people of conscience demand justice. Perhaps Mike Brown was no angel (at least not during those few minutes he spend at the convenience store), but he was human. And as a human, he had a right to due process, and a right to not be shot dead in cold blood while unarmed and attempting so surrender. And he had a right to be recognized as a complex and layered individual, whose actions in one moment of indiscretion do not determine his whole identity and his whole worth.