Standing by My Opinion That ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Was Built on a Lie

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post, March 16, 2017

After reading the incredibly flawed story about the latest machinations in the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by then-Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, Monique Boea reached out to me via Facebook with a simple question: “How do you feel now?”

Boea was referring to my now two-year-old mea culpa, “‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ was built on a lie.” It was the toughest piece I’ve ever had to write. But I felt obliged to write it because after months of commenting on and writing about the shooting of Brown by Wilson, the DNA and ballistics evidence detailed within the department of justice report on the shooting death of Michael Brown were too concrete to ignore.

Boea believed a Dec. 2016 court document of Wilson’s admissions and denials to specific questions in a civil suit brought by Brown’s parents upended everything known about the case of a white police officer and an unarmed African American male. That’s just not the case.

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“I’m reading through this court document,” Boea wrote on my timeline, “and it is not what Wilson and all involved were saying at the time Michael Brown was murdered.” She highlighted several admissions to make her case. And I answered all of them.

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“There was no robbery.”

The DOJ report: “According to FPD records, at about 11:53 a.m., a dispatcher called out a “stealing in progress” at the address of Ferguson Market.” (Page 22)

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“Wilson admits to grabbing Michael’s arm (That is just how close he came to them with his car)”

Correct. That’s in the DOJ report: “Brown, still with cigarillos in his hand, turned around and handed the items to Witness 101 using his left hand, telling Witness 101 ‘take these.’ Wilson used the opportunity to grab Brown’s right arm, but Brown used his left hand to twice punch Wilson’s jaw.” (Page 13)

“He admits that Michael never tried to take his gun”

Correct. But remember, the statement Wilson admitted to was “Michael Brown never tried to remove your gun FROM YOUR HOLSTER.” (caps for emphasis mine). That is corroborated by the DOJ report: “Wilson explained that his gun, located on his right hip, was his only readily accessible option.” [Page 13] But the DOJ report does note that they did tussle over the gun AFTER it was out of the holster: “Wilson withdrew his gun and pointed it at Brown. Wilson warned Brown to stop or he was going to shoot him. Brown stated, ‘You are too much of a pussy to shoot,’ and put his right hand over Wilson’s right hand, gaining control of the gun. Brown then maneuvered the gun so that it was pointed down at Wilson’s left hip.” (Pages 13 and 14)

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“He admits that he did not roll up his window to shield himself from be[ing] harmed”

That’s not surprising given what’s in the DOJ report. “Brown placed his hands on the window frame of the driver’s door, and again Wilson told Brown to “get back.” To Wilson’s surprise, Brown then leaned into the driver’s window, so that his arms and upper torso were inside the SUV.” (Page 13)

“There was no fight in the SUV and no fight over Wilson’s gun as you stated in your video that I am watching now”

From Page 6 of the DOJ report: “Wilson and other witnesses stated that Brown then reached into the SUV through the open driver’s window and punched and grabbed Wilson. This is corroborated by bruising on Wilson’s jaw and scratches on his neck, the presence of Brown’s DNA on Wilson’s collar, shirt, and pants, and Wilson’s DNA on Brown’s palm. While there are other individuals who stated that Wilson reached out of the SUV and grabbed Brown by the neck, prosecutors could not credit their accounts because they were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence, as detailed throughout this report.”

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Yes, everyone, please read the DOJ report.

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