(Image: Flickr, Shawn Semmler)
I knew that the grand jury wasn’t going to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. I knew that the day would come when, once again, we learn that no one would be held accountable for the shooting death of an unarmed black man. I knew this and yet I can’t help but to feel drained by being right.
I have few words about what just went down in Ferguson, Missouri– actually, that’s not true. I have a lot of words. A lot of thoughts. And too much anger. But my energy is all over the place and I’m still processing all of my thoughts and emotions and I just don’t know how to put them all on this page, so this will be short.
Smoke and Mirrors
Prosecutor McCulloch thought from day one that Darren Wilson’s shooting of Michael Brown was justified. He never intended to ask for an indictment, so it comes as no surprise that he did not instruct the grand jury on what specific charges they could indict on. As an experienced prosecutor, he knows what it takes to get an indictment and like the old saying goes, ‘you can indict a ham sandwich’– in other words, it’s not terribly difficult to do. Why? Because all you have to do is show probable cause. But when your intent is the opposite of an indictment…when it is actually to vilify the deceased and to defend the person who pulled the trigger, it’s not surprising that that person now walks away scot-free.
While what McCulloch just did was all perfectly legal, every bit of it was unheard of for a prosecutor who is aiming for an indictment. As the state prosecutor for Missouri for the past 23 years, McCulloch knows how to get indictments, he just never gets them against police officers. Never.
Probable cause simply means that there are reasonable grounds for pressing a charge. Now, I’ve read Darren Wilson’s full testimony and though I’ve yet to finish reading the rest of the grand jury transcripts released last night, it reads to me that probable cause was all over the place. His story was full of questionable statements such as him feeling like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan when he described a time where he grabbed Michael Brown’s arm. At 6’4 and 210 pounds…carrying a badge and a gun…it’s hard to imagine he felt like a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.
He further describes a scuffle that sounds as unrealistic as Zimmerman’s where he weaves a tale in which he is panicked about which weapon to use to defend himself while he is being pummeled inside of his car; where he fears being shot by the very gun he has drawn; where Michael Brown looks like a demon coming after him. He continues painting a portrait of Brown having this superhuman other-worldly strength as he turns and charges him– after being shot– and as Wilson is wildly releasing a hail of bullets. He states that Michael Brown seemed to look straight through him and describes him being undeterred by the bullets flying in his direction. Wilson, of course, feared for his life in those moments, thus, justifying the kill shot to the head.
And then he noticed that the call that he thought he’d made for backup hadn’t gone through…he was on the wrong radio channel.
And then he headed back to the police station, where he washed blood off of his hands.
And then he left his shirt and his weapons holster (i.e. evidence) at the station as he was taken to the hospital for an examination.
And then…well…hopefully, you get the point. It was the Darren Wilson show. Where most prosecutors don’t bring the would-be accused before a grand jury to begin with, McCulloch brought him in and there was little cross-examination of his testimony, whatsoever. In fact, there wasn’t any. There were a few questions for clarification, but no one cross-examined Wilson as he would have been had it gone to trial.
In fact, according to McCulloch, himself, there was plenty of conflicting testimony among witnesses. That little tidbit alone should have kicked it up for a jury to try. Instead, McCulloch laid all of the evidence and testimony he could find at the grand jury’s feet– something else prosecutors NEVER do when asking for an indictment. By conducting the grand jury in this manner, he not only tainted future jury pools (in the event that it is picked up by another court all of the evidence is out there, now), but he played it as though it were a jury trial. A jury trial, that is, where there was very little cross-examination, zero vetting of the evidence and no expert witnesses were asked to weigh in. The entire process was weighted entirely toward Darren Wilson’s defense!
Again, this isn’t surprising since McCulloch is so closely associated with the police department and with Jeff Roorda who fundraised for Darren Wilson and who supports McCulloch’s political campaigning. But this whole fiasco that we just witnessed is precisely why a special prosecutor should have been appointed from the get go.
Turn Down For What?
I’m not done. And I know this isn’t my best thought out or written post, but everything in me is just tired. Mentally, tired.
With that said, this isn’t the time to question me about condemning rioters. Miss me with all of that. Agree or disagree, at this moment the debate doesn’t even matter to me. I get it. I get the why behind it all. After you’ve protested, voted, prayed, waited, mourned, swallowed past injustices and listened to the same excuses over and over again, there comes a point when you just explode with the hurt, rage and pain of too many years and too many dead bodies.
A riot is the language of the unheard. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.