By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –
At approximately 9 pm Monday evening, St. Louis County Attorney General McCulloch announced that the grand jury investigating the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson did not return a true bill (i.e., an indictment). McCulloch, and later President Obama, described the incident as a tragedy which should be a platform for improvements to be made in the relationship between police and the black community in the future. What was not said, explicitly, was the actual facts of the case.
It is incontrovertible that a homicide occurred – a human being was killed at the hand of man. It is also an undisputed fact that Officer Wilson fired the shots that killed Michael Brown. Left unsaid was that the grand jury determined that no crime occurred, hence Officer Wilson would not be charged and tried in a court of law.
No crime occurred because Officer Wilson acted in self defense, in fear of his life. This conclusion was based on forensic evidence from the investigation, corroborated by testimony of officer Wilson and many citizens, including black members of the community that witnessed the event.
The right to defend one’s life using deadly force if necessary is fundamental to common law, statutory law, Constitutional law, and ecclesiastic law predating the pyramids of Egypt. Michael Brown was killed because he attacked Officer Wilson, fled, then turned to attack Wilson again as he pursued Brown. Brown continued the attack after being wounded until he was rendered incapable of attacking by a wound to the head.
Significantly, witnesses testified that no more shots were fired once Brown was on the ground. That is consistent with the law regarding self defense, that you stop shooting when the attack is no longer imminent. Brown had the opportunity to flee, but chose to turn and confront his pursuer. Wilson had a sworn obligation to continue the pursuit until his attacker was apprehended, or further pursuit was not possible.
It is significant that witnesses cited by Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump, activist Al Sharpton and others, were quickly discredited before the grand jury. Their testimony was inconsistent with the forensic evidence, and often with previous statements by themselves.
Several admitted that they did not witness the event personally, but related events as they heard them from others.
If anything needs improving, it is to avoid inciting mob mentality by soliciting and repeating false testimony. Many of those who testified before the grand jury did so in secret out of fear of this mob. One must ask whether they would have been forthcoming in a public trial. If not, where is the justice?
Many didn’t like the verdict evidenced by the rioting, looting, fires set, and the small gun fire which took place in Ferguson after the verdict, but the destruction of property only results in throwing fuel on an already explosive situation. Angry demonstrations ensued in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, St. Louis, and even in front of the White House, by those who have been told repeatedly over the years that cops have been unfair to them.
It was justice carried out in accordance to a mindset that accepts, without question, police brutality as a common, recurring happening, with no regard for the facts or for the justice system. The grand jury couldn’t even find enough evidence to come up with the lowest possible indictment charge against Officer Wilson.
As the colonel, played by Jack Nicholson, said in the courtroom drama, “A Few Good Men,” “[They] can’t handle the truth.”