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Credibility of Key Witness in Ferguson Shooting Rapidly Evaporating

August 30, 2014

From The New American by Bob Adelmann, August 22, 2014

Dorian Johnson’s credibility as a star witness against Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown continues to plummet as more information comes out about what actually happened in Ferguson.

USA Today had reported in explicit detail on August 13 exactly what Johnson said happened on that Saturday afternoon in Ferguson when his friend, Michael Brown, was shot by a local policeman. According to Johnson, he and Brown were walking down the middle of the street when Officer Wilson pulled up in his cruiser next to them. Recalled Johnson: “He didn’t say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime. He said, ‘Get the f*** on the sidewalk.’”

Johnson said Wilson then shoved open the car door, grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for Wilson’s weapon. He added:

The second time he says, “I’ll shoot.” A second later the gun went off and he let go. That’s how we were able to run at the same time…. The officer pursued Brown and fired another shot, which struck Brown in the back.

His [Brown’s] hands immediately went into the air and he turned around to the officer. My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting. Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once [the officer] yell freeze, stop or halt. It was just horrible to watch.

Then, according to USA Today, Johnson began to sob, recalling seeing that Brown was in pain: “It hurt him a lot. [I] could see it in his eyes. It was definitely like being shot like an animal. I definitely think [the officer] is guilty of murder.”

It has been all downhill for Johnson since then. First, the autopsies already completed on Brown have shown conclusively that Brown was not shot in the back. They have shown further that he was not hit in the chest area, but in his right arm. The fatal round entered his forehead which ended the confrontation. According to Dr. Michael Baden, who performed the autopsy for Brown’s family, Brown died instantly and felt no pain.

Second, one of the two other eyewitnesses to the shooting, Piaget Crenshaw, who initially claimed that Brown was shot in the back, has changed her story. Third, ABC News ran a background check on Johnson and discovered that he has a record of lying to the police in the past when he gave a false name during interrogation. Fourth, the news organization also found an outstanding warrant for Johnson for theft.

Johnson’s credibility fell further in the face of an unconfirmed report that he has recanted his testimony, that he saw Brown attack the officer during the altercation and try to take his gun away from him. Radio station 100.7 The Viper reported:

We have heard (from a VERY connected national media source) that Ferguson officer Darren Wilson will be cleared in the shooting of Michael Brown.

The key: Dorian Johnson has now admitted that Michael Brown attacked Officer Wilson and attempted to take his gun.

OFFICER WILSON WILL NOT BE CHARGED!

Investigative journalists have been unable to confirm any such thing, neither the source of the news nor the claim that St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch is backing off in providing testimony to the grand jury. But it does at least add one more ingredient to the fuel firing the flames that are now causing Johnson’s credibility as McCulloch’s star witness against Wilson to evaporate.

The Ferguson story is not over. Indeed, it may be just the first chapter in this event that has brought national headline news to Ferguson, Missouri. Other chapters remain to be written by McCulloch if he proceeds with testimony to the grand jury, as well as by Attorney General Eric Holder, who had over 40 FBI agents combing the crime scene to provide evidence that Wilson willfully and intentionally violated Brown’s civil rights. But for now, Johnson’s credibility as a star witness for the prosecution has, to put it generously, been called into serious question.

Ferguson’s Michael Brown: The Tall Tale of the “Gentle Giant”

August 30, 2014

From The New American by Selwyn Duke, August 19, 2014

Unlike Trayvon Martin, pictures of a 12-year-old Michael Brown haven’t been used to portray him as a gentle little cherub. Instead the media has cast him as the “gentle giant.” And they’re at least partially right, say critics. Brown certainly was a giant, as surveillance footage seems to prove, showing his 6’4”, nearly 300-pound self towering over a petrified convenience-store employee, who got manhandled and intimidated for having the temerity to object to his store being robbed.

Ferguson’s Michael Brown: The Tall Tale of the "Gentle Giant"

This characterization lies in stark contrast to the picture painted by Brown’s family, friends, and that sympathetic media. Brown’s uncle, Charles Ewing, who related the gentle-giant moniker, said that the family tried to get the young man to play football, but he “was too timid for the sport,” reported  the Washington Post. “‘He had never gotten into a fight in his entire life,’ said Duane Finnie, a family friend. At school, he was that kid who was full of jokes and trying to make others laugh,” continued the paper. In fact, the Post article opened by stating that Brown had just won a “hard-fought victory,” having recently graduated from high school, a note accompanied by a graduation photo of a gown-bedecked Brown.

Now, critics might say that education — even if it is something more impressive than that acquired at Brown’s Normandy High, which had already lost its state accreditation — doesn’t definitively denote goodness. Neither does accomplishment. But isn’t it to be expected that Brown’s defenders will relate facts about the young man’s history in order to establish his character? For sure. It’s also to be expected, however, that his whole history will then be fair game, say critics.

One of these critics, award-winning investigative reporter Matthew Vadum, leaves no doubt about where he stands. In a piece entitled “Michael Brown: A Criminal and a Thug,” he writes:

Before the shooting incident last weekend, Brown used violence and the threat of more violence to steal. With an accomplice, he knocked over a convenience store, bullying victims with his prodigious size and weight. (Incidentally, the owner of the store told the Washington Post he fears that his customers will murder him and that he begged reporters not to suggest that he called the police on Brown.)

And as the Los Angeles Times reports, Brown also enjoyed singing violent rap songs that contain “lots of boasting about murdering, taking drugs, drinking, and sex with hos,” as blogger Sancho Panza put it. How bad are the lyrics? Panza deciphers some of them for us. About a song labeled “Jennings Station Road Freestyle,” the blogger writes:

This one specifically talks about killing people and how fun it is. The main rapper talks about how his favorite part of killing people is when they hit the ground.

Every time I call your b**** I make her c*m
And when she comes I’m c*****g all over her tush
I beat that p***y up
I’m smoking purple
I roll fat blunts they look just like my thumb

While I bless him with a d*** on his face

And about “Free$tyle Big’Mike,” Panza reports:

In this rap song, one of the rappers talks about killing someone and seeing them “layin’ across the street.” The victim is said to be “mashed up and black” like a goblin so “there ain’t describing him.”

With this Glock in your face
And you betta not make a sound
And I only like white men on my money [???]
Those who are last shall be first,
Whites on the bottom

He musta walked up and unloaded because there was no stopping him
Somebody else layin’ across the street, must be his partner
Damn.

At his site Panza has more examples of Brown songs, all of which he characterizes as “pretty obscene.”

Then there’s blogger Pat Dollard, who has published numerous photos of Brown flashing what appear to be gang signs. Here is a sampling of them (article continues beneath photos):

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Of course, this doesn’t mean Brown actually was a gang member. He likely was just a “wannabe,” one of countless black youths who listen to violent and vile rap and adopt the signs and mannerisms of the lamentably exalted “gangsta’” culture. But this is still meaningful. As Vadum pointed out, while Brown’s musical and gestural inclinations don’t in and of themselves mean he was a thug, they do “provide insight into his state of mind.”

But talking about such things is quite unfair, say Brown’s defenders. One, Democrat Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, said that the release of the convenience-store video was an attempt “to disparage the character [of Brown]” and that making it public “in the middle of a process like this is not right.” And Nixon isn’t alone: Barack Obama’s Department of Justice also wanted the Ferguson police to suppress the video.

Making note of this double standard, Vadum wrote, “So, first local police were condemned for not being sufficiently transparent; then after they released a key piece of evidence they were condemned for being too transparent.” In the same vein, about Governor Nixon’s condemnation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson for a defense of the police that the governor fancies an attack on Brown’s character, Vadum stated, “This means Nixon believes that Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton, who have been making campaign stops in Ferguson, have every right to be heard while the local police at the heart of the case should just remain silent and take whatever abuse is hurled at them.”

Yet critics might say that even more hypocrisy is evident here, in that the Brown case is all about character assassination — and, sadly, stereotyping. The Ferguson police are being portrayed as white law-enforcement officials who, the stereotype goes, are inherently prejudiced against young black men. In fact, the United States is being stereotyped as an irredeemably biased land in which blacks just can’t get a fair shake. But there is a difference: The convenience-store video and other information about Brown concern not something purely the function of stereotype-driven character assassination, but particulars about an individual central to what is currently the biggest crime story in the nation.

And the gentle-giant narrative took another blow over the weekend. An eyewitness conversation previously unnoticed in a video of the Brown shooting’s aftermath was brought to light, and it corroborates the Ferguson police’s account of the event. Unfortunately, some may say, all the evidence seems to be taking a back seat to the desire to appease the violent mobs that have made Ferguson a war zone. Perhaps, as we see in the response to Islamists in Europe, one good riot is worth a thousand truths.

Photo at the beginning of the article shows a sketch of Michael Brown that has been autographed by demonstrators during a protest in Atlanta: AP Images

Connellsville, PA Police to be Fitted with Bulletproof Vests

August 30, 2014

From The Tribune Review by Mark Hofmann, August 21, 2014

The Connellsville Police Department has been approved for the purchase of customized bulletproof vests through a grant and the generosity of the city it serves and protects.

Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln announced this week that the United States Department of Justice approved the city’s application on July 28 for a 50 percent matching grant of approximately $5,000 for the purchase of 15 bulletproof vests for the police department.

Each vest costs between $800 and $900.

“We’re very excited for that,” Lincoln said, adding that the city was able to raise $10,000 to get the nearly $5,000 from the federal government.

It was up to the police department to raise funds to purchase the vests.

Police announced in March they were seeking donations to raise the matching funds.

“We express deep gratitude to all the organizations, businesses and individuals who made donations for us to get the matching funds,” Connellsville Police Chief Jim Capitos said. “We couldn’t do it without those donations.”

Lincoln said police officers should be fitted for the vests sometime next week and should receive their new vests within six to eight weeks. Capitos said the big donations as well as the smaller donations were all deeply appreciated, especially those smaller donations from individuals just wanting to help the police department.

“It just goes to show you that there are people out there who have a heart,” Capitos said, adding how refreshing it was to see the outpouring of good will in a job where those involved see many bad things and often turn cynical about people. “I can’t say enough how thankful we are for everyone who donated.”

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership through the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Program has reimbursed more than 13,000 jurisdictions, a total of $288 million in federal funds for the purchase of more than 1 million vests since 1999, according to the OJP website.

“People were so generous with what they donated (for us) to get that top-of-the-line equipment,” Capitos said.

Missouri Officer was Badly Beaten Before Shooting Michael Brown

August 21, 2014

From http://www.foxnews.com by Hollie McKay, August 20, 2014

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries  and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.

“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.” 

According to the well-placed source, Wilson was coming off another case in the neighborhood on Aug. 9 when he ordered Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the road because they were obstructing traffic. However, the confrontation quickly escalated into physical violence, the source said.

“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.”

The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”

At that point, the source told FoxNews.com, the 6-foot-4, 292-pound Brown charged Wilson, prompting the officer to fire at least six shots at him, including the fatal bullet that penetrated the top of Brown’s skull, according to an independent autopsy conducted at the request of Brown’s family.

Wilson was left dazed by the initial confrontation, the source said. He is now “traumatized, scared for his life and his family, injured and terrified” that a grand jury, which began hearing evidence on Wednesday, will “make some kind of example out of him,” the source said.

The source also said the dashboard and body cameras, which might have recorded crucial evidence, had been ordered by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, but had only recently arrived and had not yet been deployed.

A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, citing the ongoing investigation, declined late Wednesday to say whether Wilson required medical treatment following the altercation.

Edward Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCullough, said the office will not disclose the nature of the evidence it will reveal to a grand jury.

“We’ll present every piece of evidence we have, witness statements, et cetera, to the grand jury, and we do not release any evidence or talk about evidence on the case.”

Nabil Khattar, CEO of 7Star Industries – which specializes in firearms training for law enforcement and special operations personnel – confirmed that police are typically instructed to use deadly force if in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury.

“You may engage a threat with enough force that is reasonably necessary to defend against that danger,” he said.

Wilson is a six-year veteran of the Ferguson police force department, and has no prior disciplinary infringements.

Massive protests have since taken over the St. Louis community, prompting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon last Thursday to place Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson at the helm of security operations in an effort to calm ongoing tensions. The federal government is also investigating the death, and Attorney General Eric Holder has taken the lead – calling “the selective release of sensitive information” in the case “troubling.”

On Friday, Ferguson police released surveillance video showing Brown stealing cigars from a convenience store just before his death. Jackson came under intense criticism for disclosing the tape and a related police report as he also insisted that the alleged robbery and the encounter with Wilson were unrelated matters. Brown’s family, through their attorney, suggested the tape’s release was a strategic form of “character assassination.”

However, FoxNews.com’s source insisted that there was absolutely no spin agenda behind the tape’s release and that there were a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) media requests filed by media outlets seeking it. Tom Jackson is said to have waited on publicly releasing it, and did not want it shown until Brown’s grieving mother first had the chance to see it.

“He defied the FOIAs as long as he could,” noted the insider. “A powerful, ugly spin has completely ruined public discourse on this whole situation.”

More Than a Dozen Witnesses Have Corroborated Officer Darren Wilson’s Version of Ferguson Shooting

August 21, 2014

From http://www.theblaze.com by Jay Howerton, August 18, 2014

More than a dozen witnesses have backed up the account of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, police sources reportedly told St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Christine Byers.

Byers also reported on Monday that Brown’s body was transported from the county medical examiner to a funeral home and then back to the medical examiner for three autopsies.

Protests continued on Monday night, more than a week after Brown was fatally shot by Wilson.

Though Wilson has not spoken publicly about his side of the story, an alleged friend of the officer, identified only as Josie, shared what she claimed to be Wilson’s recollection of events. CNN later confirmed that the woman’s account matches Wilson’s account of the shooting, according to their law enforcement sources.

The woman called into TheBlaze TV host Dana Loesch’s radio show on Friday, claiming that Brown “bum-rushed” Wilson moments after pushing him into his squad car, punching him in the face and trying to grab the cop’s gun.

“Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael taunts him… And then all the sudden he just started bumrushing him. He just started coming at him full speed. And, so he just started shooting. And, he just kept coming. And, so he really thinks he was on something,” the caller added. “The final shot was in the forehead, and then he fell about two or three feet in front of the officer.”

Ferguson: Another False Narrative Meant to Divide?

August 21, 2014

 

Holder’s ‘vigilante justice’ on full display says ex-Secret Service agent

From http://www.wnd.com by Leo Hohmann, August 20, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday to head up a federal investigation that is becoming unprecedented in American law enforcement, legal experts say.

eric_holder_30

With an army of FBI agents on the ground and the governor of Missouri calling for a “vigorous prosecution” of the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, many are questioning if the case isn’t already tainted before any arrest has been made.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s comments, along with the arrival of Holder and his statements in a local newspaper, are creating a toxic environment for any future trial that may be conducted for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, says one former cop and member of the White House Secret Service team.

Dan Bongino sees the hallmarks of a political psychological operation rather than an honest criminal investigation.

“Everything to them is political,” he said, and Ferguson has proved no exception.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an “open letter” by Holder to the city of Ferguson Wednesday that seemed to play on already raw emotions in the city and the nation, noted Bongino, the former Obama Secret Service agent now running for Congress in Maryland.

Holder’s letter said law enforcement “priorities and arrest patterns must not lead to disparate treatment under the law, even if such treatment is unintended. And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”

Bongino said it was “almost unprecedented” to have the chief law enforcement officer in the nation taking such an active role in a criminal investigation before any arrests have been made and the local investigation is still not concluded.

He called Holder a “phony” and a “complete fraud.”

“There’s nothing done on Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, yet here you have a case where nothing’s been determined, where he (Wilson) may be guilty, he may not be, and Holder’s got a contingent of 40 agents out there,” Bongino said. “It’s strictly for political reasons, to stoke the flames of fury in America.”

Bongino called the efforts to convict Wilson in the media before he is charged with any crime a form of “vigilante justice.”

“I think the important question to ask ourselves is do we believe in vigilante justice or do we believe in law and order? Having been a former cop, I can tell you the facts aren’t even out yet and there’s still an investigation being done, and while we can have a sensible conversation about military equipment and the use of it, there’s just no sensible conversation right now about the officer’s actions or those of Michael Brown,” he said. “These facts just haven’t been released yet.”

Bongino said he finds it disturbing that anyone, on the right or on the left, at this point would rush to judge Wilson, one way or the other.

“They don’t know what happened yet, and you have effectively the firing squad going after this cop,” he said. “Why anyone would want to be a police officer today in America is beyond me.”

Savage: Fact-free conclusions

Radio host and political author Michael Savage also has been hitting hard this week on what he sees as twisted justice in Ferguson.

On Tuesday he called out Amnesty International, other “leftists,” the media and the federal government for jumping to conclusions about what happened in the Aug. 9 shooting before any facts were known.

“Why is Amnesty International on the scene in Ferguson while an international genocide is going on in Iraq?” Savage asked. “Social justice? These are social vandals; they are trying to burn Ferguson to the ground. Multiple witnesses say the unarmed teen attacked the cop. You don’t want to hear that the poor, unarmed teen rushed the cop, smashed his head in, broke his eye socket and was trying to wrest his gun away from him. You don’t want to hear that.”

If it had been the opposite scenario, things would have played out differently, Savage said. There would have been no media circus.

“If the teen, the poor unarmed teen, who everyone is mourning for, the martyr of the day, had managed to get the gun away from the cop and kill the cop, tell me what would be going on today? Nothing,” he said. “All of the rioters in the streets would be doing what they normally do – selling drugs, cashing their welfare checks. … But now they have a social cause because Al Sharpton told them what their cause is.”

Manufactured ‘crisis’?

Bongino said the level to which the Democrats are willing to sink in using the Ferguson crisis to their political advantage was on full display when they set up a voter registration booth 50 feet away from where Brown was killed.

“If the Republican Party had done that, there would be a media outrage, and rightfully so, but because it’s Democrats all is forgiven,” he said.

The Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy is now dead, he said, with today’s party leaders focused on dividing and distraction politics.

“They have nothing to run on, nothing. They can’t run on Obamacare. They can’t run on helping vets, on immigration policy. They can’t run on President Obama’s popularity, so what do they do? They cordon off America into groups,” Bongino said.

“It’s Muslim versus Jew, black versus white, woman versus men, rich versus poor. It’s immigrant versus native-born, young versus old. It’s nearly endless, and they are doing it for a strategic reason, not an ethical or moral reason, because once they can get these groups to look at each other with a sense of vitriol, they can blame the other party for causing all of that one group’s problems,” he said.

“They don’t say vote for me – they have nothing to run on – they say don’t vote for these other guys because they did this to you, they’re against you. That’s all they have, and the sycophantic media refuses to do its job and is part and parcel to the shredding of America, fiber by fiber.”

No data to support racially based shootings

While Holder implies in his letter that arrests and shootings are “uneven” across racial lines, the data does not bear that out, says one of the nation’s top academic researchers on police use of lethal force.

David Klinger, an associate professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and a former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, said there are two permissible circumstances in which an officer can use lethal force.

An officer can shoot a suspect who is threatening his life or the life of a fellow officer or a member of the public, said Klinger. This would be squarely within the bounds of the Constitution under a legal concept known as the “defense of life” standard.

An officer can also shoot a fleeing suspect if the officer believes the suspect has committed a violent felony and his or her escape would pose a significant and serious threat, he said.

At best, the data is incomplete when it comes to whether police unfairly target blacks with lethal force, Klinger said.

“The problem is that the data we have nationally is not good,” he said. “So it’s difficult to say who is more likely to be shot in one group as opposed to another group.”

This is because the FBI does not require police agencies to report all officer-involved shootings. Even the reporting of “justifiable” shootings is voluntary and, therefore, vastly under-reported, Klinger said.

“What we can say is, those who have done studies find that young, black males are disproportionately involved in these police shootings,” he said. “However, if you take into account the disproportionate involvement of young black males in criminal activity, yes, they are more likely to be shot. But if you look at the types of crime, they tend to be involved in those types of crimes that are more likely to result in a shooting. So the disparity is not as great as it might first appear.”

Klinger said he presented a paper on this issue to the American Society of Criminology in November 2013 with several of his colleagues, which is now up for peer review before publication in an academic journal.

“We found that, yes, young black men are more involved, but once you take into account the crime rates in those communities, the racial factor basically washes out,” he said. “And this question of differential black involvement has been around since the social scientific community started studying it in late ’60s and early ’70s.”

He said an older study of black police officers in New York City found that these officers fired their weapons more often than white officers in the city, but that was only because they tended to live and work in areas with the highest crime rates.

Stoking the flames based on ‘emotion’

Bongino said the Holder-led Justice Department found a way in Ferguson to avoid honoring its oath of office to follow the rule of law and extend due process of law to all suspects in a crime.

“It allows them to jump to vigilante justice, to stoke the flames of division instead of doing an actual criminal investigation,” he said. “This officer is not entitled to due process and, if you subscribe to that theory, how do you know you are not next? What about probable cause? Should they have probable cause to arrest you, or should they be able to arrest you just because you are part of a politically disfavored group?”

Bongino noted that even some legal scholars not associated with the political right are noticing the dangerous shift from equal justice to selective justice.

“You have Jonathan Turley (law professor at George Washington University) coming out and saying Obama is the president Nixon always wanted to be. People across the political spectrum are really starting to get disturbed that we have entered an era of discretionary government,” he said. “Remember, the government has a monopoly on force, and when the boxer hits one group, what’s to stop him from turning and hitting someone down the road who is of a different stripe?

“That’s why I’m so disturbed by vigilante justice in this case,” he continued. “Everyone deserves constitutional due process, not emotional due process.”

Bongino said that while there are certainly bad cops working the streets of almost any town, “the idea that cops go out and shoot people just because they look different is an absolute absurdity.”

“Are there bad cops? Yes,” he said. “But acting like this officer actually went to work looking to do a shooting; if you think this guy thought this was a good thing, that this would benefit his career, what kind of a sick mind would think that?

“Calling for a lynch mob for either one of these guys is just grossly irresponsible. And the death of this kid is tragic. If their version of the story is correct, then let justice be served. But are we entitled even to hear it, or should we just go by emotion and forget due process?”

    Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/08/ferguson-another-false-narrative-meant-to-divide/#vzhqbU507EwAW04J.99

    Ferguson, Missouri: Rule by Law or Rule by Mobocracy?

    August 21, 2014

    From The New American by Bob Adelmann, August 21, 2014

    With Missouri Governor Jay Nixon concluding that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is guilty of murder and the New York Times concluding that if the grand jury fails to indict Wilson for murder there will be hell to pay in Ferguson, the question has to be asked: What has happened to the rule of law? What has happened to the fundamental understanding that under the rule of law, Wilson is innocent until proven guilty?

    Following a night of relative calm in Ferguson, Missouri (there were only six arrests Wednesday night compared to 47 arrests the night before), focus is now being directed to the start of the investigation by the grand jury into the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The grand jury of 12 consists of nine white and three black individuals. It will take at least nine of those jurors to bring charges (which could range from murder to manslaughter to negligent homicide) or acquit Wilson. According to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, the jury won’t have a final decision before mid-October.

    It’ll take that long to present all the forensic evidence generated by the three separate autopsies performed on Brown, along with testimony by witnesses and perhaps even testimony from Wilson himself.

    Already there’s controversy surrounding McCulloch. An online petition has gathered more than 70,000 signatures demanding that he recuse himself from the case claiming that his background and his family ties prejudice him in favor of the police. In 1964, when McCulloch was 13 years old, his father — then a member of the St. Louis Police Department — was killed by a black suspect during an arrest. His brother, cousin, and uncle were on the police force, and his mother worked as a clerk for the department as well.

    McCulloch, however, has refused to remove himself from the case: “We are going to proceed until I am told by the governor that I can’t,” said the prosecutor in an interview. And the governor is refusing to replace him with a special prosecutor, claiming that it would unnecessarily disrupt normal operating procedures.

    The governor, Jay Nixon, has already decided that Wilson is guilty. In a remarkable overreach, Nixon said in a videotaped statement on Tuesday that “vigorous prosecution must now be pursued” in the shooting death of Brown. Some thought he meant to say “vigorous investigation” but his bias toward guilt was confirmed by his follow-on statement:

    We have a responsibility to … do everything we can to achieve justice for [Brown’s] family.… Justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly and correctly.

    Nothing in his statement mentioned justice for Darren Wilson who, under the rule of law, is innocent until proven guilty.

    Nixon’s overstatement was immediately challenged by Missouri’s Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who told Fox News: “It would be wrong for a prosecutor to say what the governor has said here tonight, and it’s wrong for the governor of Missouri to have said.” He added:

    It’s really heartbreaking to see a man elected to an office that high in our state government … come out with a statement like that, that does prejudge the case.

    Sergeant Kevin Ahlbrand, president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, added that he also was “very disappointed” in Nixon’s rush to judgment. He said, “We welcome a vigorous investigation.… Justice needs to go both ways. Darren’s been vilified in the press and by politicians with minimal facts being made public.”

    It was the Times, however, that warned that if Wilson is found innocent after an eight-week investigation into the true facts of what happened the day of the shooting, there would be trouble in River City: “The community [of Ferguson] will almost certainly reject a decision not to indict Mr. Wilson.”

    And of course there’s the inevitable and ubiquitous champion of justice himself, Attorney General Eric Holder, who is conducting his own investigation separately from the grand jury to determine if Wilson violated any federal civil rights statutes in the shooting. Happily the attorney general will have to prove that Wilson deliberately acted with evil intentions to deprive Brown of his civil rights in the shooting. With what evidence the public has seen, that would be a tall hill for Holder to climb.

    But the rush to judgment by Nixon and the troublesome consequences predicted by the Times if the grand jury fails to indict Wilson provide sad commentary on our society: The rule of law, which is designed to protect innocents until they are proven guilty, can still be undone by racism.

    Ferguson may be quieting down, but collective breaths are being held there until the verdict is announced in October.

     

    Former U.S. Marine Gunner: Ferguson Shot Pattern Vindicates Officer Wilson

    August 20, 2014

    From The New American by Selwyn Duke, August 20, 2014

    Does the unusual shot pattern in the Michael Brown shooting incident tell the tale of whether or not Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson fired in self-defense? Ex-marine and video blogger Michael Wilson (no relation) certainly thinks so. And he has created a presentation explaining the significance of the pattern and why he thinks the Brown family autopsy ultimately will vindicate Officer Wilson.

    Ex-Marine Gunner: Ferguson Shot Pattern Vindicates Officer Wilson

    Relating his background in marksmanship, Michael Wilson says, “In the Marines I was a corporal; I was a squad leader and the gunner on a 60-millimeter mortar. And in that position I had to qualify with a pistol.” He then points out that whether you’re in the military or on a police force (or anytime anyone is trained in the use of handguns, for that matter) you’re taught to aim for center mass, the torso, as it’s the easiest target to hit and is where most vital organs are located. For this reason, Michael Wilson was immediately struck by the Brown family autopsy report. He said:

    The autopsy showed that Officer Wilson was pulling his shots to the left — his left..

    You can see that the shots are going down the right side of Mike Brown’s body, hitting his arm, in fact; if Officer Wilson had pulled his shots any further, he would have missed him altogether. So why was Officer Wilson pulling his shots to the left?

    Note also here that the 6’4”, 290-pound Brown’s torso was a very large target.

    Having said this, it’s harder hitting targets with a handgun than most people think (it’s not like in the movies), and, when under the stress of a life or death situation and facing a moving assailant, hitting your target is more difficult still. Yet if this were the cause of Officer Wilson’s inaccuracy, or were he just a bad shot, his off-target grouping would be random. But this was not the case — again, there was a definite pattern. What does it mean?

    Michael Wilson explains. He mentions “Josie,” the friend of Officer Wilson who called into The Dana Show on NewsTalk 97.1 KTFK, gave the officer’s account of events, and said that Brown had punched Officer Wilson in the face. This certainly explains the injury Officer Wilson suffered, an orbital blowout fracture of the left eye. Michael Wilson then connects the dots further, saying that if Brown was right-handed, and most people are, the left side of the face is precisely where he would have struck the officer. He then gets down to brass tacks:

    So, here’s why his shots went off to the left. They have the fight, he [Officer Wilson] gets punched in the face, and if you’ve ever had a black eye, you know that not only does it hurt, but your vision automatically gets blurry. And you start squinting…. And so in order to see straight, you kind of tilt your head and cock it a little bit to the side. You can’t help it; it’s automatic; it’s just part of being human. And that means that when you’re firing a pistol, it’s automatically going to pull the pistol in the same direction. In this case, to the left.

    Michael Wilson proceeds to fill in the blanks: Officer Wilson, with a painful and blurry left eye, is shooting at a charging Brown. But he’s pulling his shots left and starts hitting Brown in the arm with vertical variation “because when Brown is running … his arm is going up and down, right about in line with the middle of the chest [center mass], where Officer Wilson would have been aiming.” To clarify, the shots are random in terms of height — some higher on the arm and some lower — because the arm is moving up and down, as it does when one runs. So when a given part of the arm passed through chest-height range, where Officer Wilson was aiming, it was in the line of fire. But while the height varied, all the arm shots were virtually the exact same distance left. This is consistent with a shooter with Officer Wilson’s left-eye injury: Left-right aim is affected negatively but uniformly, while up-down aim is unaffected and only varies in accordance with the target’s movement. Conclusion? Officer Wilson was a good, but injured, shot.

    Michael Wilson continues, “As Brown gets closer, the shots start moving in closer to the center of his body.” This is because the closer your target is, the less time the bullet has to go off course (it’s a major reason why it’s easier to hit a golf green from 100 yards than from 200 yards). Then there was the fifth shot, which struck Brown around the right eye, which not only is closer to the center of the body, but, points out Michael Wilson, is consistent with “the way you normally run — you start leaning forward.” Note that the shots moved up even higher, from arm to head, possibly because a shot and increasingly frenzied Brown might have dropped his head even lower into more of a bull-rush posture.

    Then there was the final shot, which hit Brown in the forehead or middle of the head and is “exactly what you would expect,” said Michael Wilson. In other words, after having been shot around the eye, it makes sense that Brown would have started falling forward in the direction he was running, bringing the upper part of his head into the line of fire.

    Michael Wilson’s point is that all the shot-pattern evidence is consistent with the police’s story, with an injured but good marksman firing in self-defense at a charging and aggressive target. Note also that it takes only a couple of seconds to fire six shots with a semi-automatic handgun. It all happened very, very quickly.

    The Brown family’s private autopsy, Michael Wilson concludes, “actually works to Officer Wilson’s advantage. It might be the final piece of evidence he needs to show that he’s vindicated, to show that his story is true, and he should not be charged with anything.”

    Illegal Alien Children Exposed Federal Agents to Lice, Scabies, Tuberculosis and Chicken Pox, Report Says

    August 2, 2014
    From http://www.foxnews.com by Jana Winter, August 1, 2014
    Children detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.
    Unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with communicable diseases have given or exposed federal agents to lice, scabies, tuberculosis and chicken pox, according to a report issued Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.
    In two cases, the children of a border patrol agent got chicken pox contracted from their parents’ exposure to unaccompanied children with chicken pox, according to the report on conditions of detention centers and border facilities.
    The report, the first in a series, is based on 87 unannounced visits to 63 detention centers being used to house unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in Texas, Arizona and California during July 1-16.
    “Many UAC and family units require treatment for communicable diseases, including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scabies,” said the memorandum summarizing the report.
    “UAC and family unit illnesses and unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities.
    “DHS employees reported exposure to communicable diseases and becoming sick on duty. For example, during a recent site visit to the Del Rio USBP Station and Del Rio Port of Entry, CBP personnel reported contracting scabies, lice, and chicken pox.
    “Two CBP Officers reported that their children were diagnosed with chicken pox within days of the CBP Officers’ contact with a UAC who had chicken pox. In addition, USBP personnel at the Clint Station and Santa Teresa Station reported that they were potentially exposed to tuberculosis.”
    Sources previously told FoxNews.com of multiple instances in which Border Patrol agents were exposed to tuberculosis—and one instance in which an agent contracted a severe case of tuberculosis from illegal immigrants in his care.
    Other sources told FoxNews.com that swine flu has been found at several detention centers in Texas.
    According to the OIG report, one of the detention centers being used to house unaccompanied children did not have a trained medical tech on site and four did not provide detainees access to prescription medication.
    OIG agents checked the sites for sanitation, availability of medical care, food services and other factors. Sites and their staff were found to be largely in compliance with rules and regulations.
    The memo also reveals that DHS OIG is investigating a June 11 complaint to DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and DHS OIG filed by the ACLU on behalf of 116 unaccompanied alien children.
    The office currently is investigating 16 of those allegations while separate offices are investigating the others.
    During their detention site visits, OIG agents did not observe misconduct or inappropriate conduct by DHS employees nor did they receive new complaints from any of the randomly interviewed unaccompanied children.
    The OIG also found that the data system used by CBP to comply with the required documentation of the arrests and care and release of unaccompanied children was unreliable because of frequent system outages causing inconsistent reporting.
    CBP’s data system is supposed to be used to track compliance with guidelines including meal times per day, phone usage, detainee medical conditions and detainee arrests and releases from CBP custody.
    OIG recommended Immigration and Customs Enforcement  find the resources needed to fix the system.

    Boy with Brain Tumor Made Officer for Day by Bethel Park, PA Police Department

    June 26, 2014

    From The Tribune-Review by Matthew Santoni, June 24, 2014

    Joey Fabus’ parents say he loves police officers. And garbage collectors.

    It was the Bethel Park Police Department who made the 8-year-old, who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, an honorary member on Tuesday.

    When Community Police Officer Tom Rigetti learned of Joey’s situation, he worked with the boy’s family and Chief John Mackey to make Joey an honorary officer for a day. The role was made complete with a uniform, badge and handcuffs.

    “We’re just trying to give him the best life possible right now,” said Joey’s mother, Cindy.

    Family and friends wore camouflage T-shirts for “Little Joey’s Army,” a charity started by his godmother, Jessica Rosser of Dormont, to help the family while Joey’s father, David, stays home from work to care for him and take him to radiation treatments.

    They followed and filmed him throughout the day, along with police officers from Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair. Many were there on their time off to support Joey.

    “I feel safer now that you’re part of our police department,” said Magisterial District Judge Ron Arnoni, who swore Joey in as an officer. Arnoni, a former investigator for the state Office of Attorney General, gave the newest officer a pair of his old handcuffs and a model police car, and later let Joey pose for pictures wearing his judge’s robes.

    After being sworn in, Joey rode in Rigetti’s patrol car with his parents, working the lights and sirens, and pulling over Rigetti’s daughter, Mia, 19, for allegedly running a stop sign in front of the municipal building.

    Joey took Mia’s license and registration, and filled out a traffic citation, then went back to the district judge’s office. He testified, recommending that the citation be dismissed because Mia was polite and apologetic.

    “We saw somebody who ran a stop sign,” Joey said. “We pulled her over, gave her a ticket, but then we let her go.”

    His parents initially were worried about Joey getting too tired to make it through the afternoon of activities, but he grinned through everything and continued onward.

    “He just keeps going, and hopefully he’s going to keep on going,” Rigetti said.

    After a little more riding in the patrol car, he strode through the door of the Bethel Park Community Center to perform a “safety patrol.” He was met with more supporters’ applause, then a proclamation from Bethel Park Mayor Jack Allen that Tuesday was Joey Fabus Day.

    In addition to Tuesday’s activities, Little Joey’s Army arranged for him to ride in the Dormont Memorial Day Parade in a rented Camaro, organized a charity golf outing for the family’s benefit on June 22 and is holding a charity concert with the Justin Fabus Band on July 19 at the Crowne Plaza in Bethel Park.

    “It’s amazing, the amount of support we’ve gotten from the entire (Bethel Park police) department,” said Joseph Fabus, Joey’s uncle and a Pittsburgh police detective. “We talk a great deal about brotherhood, and that’s what this is about today.”


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