The bidding war has begun for Darren’s Wilson’s tale on what took place when the Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in the middle of the street last August.
Media junkies and national-award winning journalists have supposedly been meeting with Wilson for weeks in the hopes to be the first to air his side of the controversial shooting once the grand jury has announced its decision, which is expected today.
Meanwhile, Ferguson, a suburban municipality in St. Louis County, is holding its breath as anxiety and tension build up in the hours leading up to the announcement. The Missouri National Guard has been activated to assist the Ferguson Police Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol to control the protests, but will likely escalate the tensions.
But no matter what the grand jury decides, the events that took place that Saturday afternoon, August 9, will forever remain debatable considering it was not captured on video.
Had Wilson been wearing a body camera, he may have been less willing to use force, knowing his actions were being recorded. Or we would at least know whether or not he was truly in fear for his life as he claims.
But because he was not wearing a camera, police were able to control the narrative about the shooting, refusing to even release public records about it, manipulating the media into believing Brown was close enough to hurt Wilson when evidence of the shooting shows he was more than 100 feet from the patrol car.
At that time, when the chief said the “entire scene” was just 35 feet in distance from the “car door to the shooting,” every observer accepted it as a negligible fact and thought little about it, instead zeroing in on why Darren Wilson stopped Mike Brown in the first place and why a police officer would shoot a young man who was surrendering with his hands up.
It turns, out, though, that the distance Mike Brown fled was not 35 feet, as was stated in the press conference and cited in hundreds of articles since. Nor was it 45 feet, or 75 feet, or even 95 feet, but approximately 108 feet away from Darren Wilson’s SUV. Below, you will find photos from the day of the murder, maps, infographics, and more to confirm for you that the distance was nearly 300 percent farther away than originally claimed by Chief Belmar and subsequently quoted as fact in almost every narrative of the case.
While the initial reporting of this distance from the chief could have been an error, albeit an egregious one, it seems clear now, after over 100 days of requests for the police to clarify this discrepancy have only produced silence, that it wasn’t an oversight, but a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.
What reason would the chief have for so seriously understating the distance by more than 70 feet? Well, how far Mike Brown fled matters greatly, and the St. Louis County Police Department could have many reasons for purposely understating it. One doubts, though, that they expected to be caught telling this lie. When it was first told, while matters were tense in St. Louis and spreading on social media, nobody had any idea that this case would grip the nation and the world.
CNN reported on Sunday that multiple high-profile broadcast journalists have already met Wilson one-on-one in secret locations in attempts to land his first television interview post Michael Brown’s death. According to the network, these top-dog news anchors include NBC’s Matt Lauer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Scott Pelley and CNN hosts Anderson Cooper and Don Lemmon. Supposedly, there was also a high-ranking TV correspondent from Fox News Network in the Wilson interview auction.
As expected, because these meetings took place in confidentiality, and were “off-the-record,” none of the mentioned media conglomerates would confirm that this bidding war took place.
Like the rest of the country, the corporate media knows regardless of what the grand jury decides, there is bound to be uproar. Due to the racial history between blacks and whites in Ferguson—sadly embedded in American history— it is feared that riots will escalate into bloodshed.
If the decision is in favor of Michael Brown, we can expect a triumphant reaction for the thousands of African-Americans in Ferguson as well as the countless activists and protestors who have joined them in solidarity.
And if Wilson is not indicted, it will be a victory for the beleaguered police department made up of 53 officers, only three which whom are black; policing a town of 21,000 people, 70 percent whom are black.
The death of Michael Brown sheds light on a long-time racial issue deeply rooted in the American South with protests reminiscent of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
But for many blacks in Ferguson, things haven’t improved much in the last 50 years, especially when it comes to police abuse.
Last summer when Darren Wilson, a white cop, killed Michael Brown, a black teen, in the middle of a street, tensions exploded in the aftermath, including three nights of rioting and looting, followed by three months of protests.
At first, Ferguson police aggressively enforced “the law” launching tear gas attacks and using physical force as well as arresting journalists and citizens for documenting the demonstrations. Tensions increased when Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced that Brown was a suspect in a convenience-store robbery, releasing surveillance video appearing to show the teen robbing a box of cigars, after initially saying that Wilson was not investigating Brown for the robbery when confronting him for walking in the middle of the street.
That video proved to be an ace in the hole for police as it allowed them to paint Brown as a thug in the eyes of many Americans, who became sympathetic to Wilson for having to confront such a violent man.
But for many Ferguson residents as well as activists from around the country, who flew in to Ferguson to show their support, the video was a malicious ploy to distract attention from the real story being reported by several witnesses.
That a white cop repeatedly shot an unarmed black man in the street who had his hands up, attempting to surrender.
Racial tensions became even more heated in the ensuing months after the local Ku Klux Klan chapter began distributing fliers vowing to use “lethal force” against “terrorists masquerading as ‘peaceful protesters.” In fact, Frank Ancona, who heads the Missouri KKK, even suggested in a media interview that he has been having private off-the-record conversations with officers from the local police departments.
It was not long before the cyber hacker group Anonymous began unmasking klan members by hacking into social media accounts, discovering some klan members were also police officers. They even suggested that perhaps Wilson was a klan member.
Also, it was reported that two members of the New Black Panthers were arrested for plotting to use pipe bombs during the protests, but the feds only confirmed they were arrested for making false statements to purchase guns, so it was obvious that police “sources” were manipulating the media, whether the media realized it or not.
Guns sales reportedly have increased in anticipation of a riot which one white woman buying a gun to protect herself, only to kill herself accidentally, and a black woman being denied the right to purchase a gun after a shop owner told her he was not allowed to sell any guns until after any possible riots.
The grand jury is made up of six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man.
Rumors are swirling that Wilson will not be indicted and that the grand jury decision is merely a formality, which would be the usual southern justice expected in that area. There is also speculation that he may be indicted to keep the flames from fueling the fire, only to be cleared of charges when it comes to trial.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported there is no guarantee Judge Carolyn Whittington will release any evidence that went before the grand jury, despite statements from St. Louis County Attorney Robert P. McCulloch that she had agreed to release all evidence once a decision has been announced.
But this lack of transparency is not surprising considering it doesn’t even appear as if Wilson ever filed an incident report after the shooting.
Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., made a plea for peace on Thursday pleading for no violence regardless of the outcome on Monday.
“No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain — I want it to lead to positive change,” Brown said in a public service announcement. “I thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation, but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”
While Brown’s father’s peace plea may have been welcomed by some, it seems to have been rejected by the police. AsPINAC reported Sunday, the St. Louis County police force violated a court order by arresting a journalist Saturday night for taking photos from a public sidewalk.
On Friday, it was reported that Wilson would be resigning from the Ferguson Police Department no matter what the grand jury decides. While this information might satisfy protestors, it doesn’t mean he can’t simply start working for another, larger police agency, such as St. Louis county or city police, both which would be considered a promotion from Ferguson.
Wilson’s career began in a nearby town named Jennings, a mostly white police department that was shut down after a series of lawsuits alleging police abuse against black residents, has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Last week, a video surfaced showing him arresting a man last year for video recording, a prelude to the lack of transparency later displayed by the Ferguson Police Department.
So where ever he ends up, lets hope he is required to wear a body cam.