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Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:14 AM

 

Was it legal for Darren Wilson to shoot Michael Brown?

Was it legal for Darren Wilson to shoot Michael Brown?


The department also released documents about the circumstances of the shooting suggesting that Brown was the primary suspect in a "strong-arm robbery" of a convenience store shortly before Wilson encountered him. However, in a later press conference that same day, the Ferguson Police Chief clarified that officer Wilson did not know about the robbery at the time of his initial contact with Brown. Rather, Wilson stopped the teenager for walking in the middle of the street

So what are the standards by which Wilson will be judged for killing Michael Brown? There are plenty of guidelines for use of force by police, but it often boils down to what the officer believed when the force was used something that is notoriously difficult to quantify regardless of how much of a threat actually existed. We talked to two experts to break down the fraught issue.

Constitutionally, "police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances," says Klinger. The first circumstance is "to protect their life or the life of another innocent party" what departments call the "defense-of-life" standard. The second circumstance is to prevent a suspect from escaping, but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect's committed a serious violent felony.

It's most likely, however, that the whole question is moot. From the Ferguson Police Department's statements on the afternoon of August 15th, it doesn't sound like Wilson even knew about the robbery at all. In that case, there's no way for him to claim that he was justified in keeping a violent felon from fleeing, because he didn't even know Brown was a suspect in a crime at all.

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/13/5994305/michael-brown-case-investigation-legal-police-kill-force-murder



Be prepared to see a lot of lying going on in the coming days / weeks


45 replies, 3107 views

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply Was it legal for Darren Wilson to shoot Michael Brown? (Original post)
FreakinDJ Aug 2014 OP
seveneyes Aug 2014 #1
pintobean Aug 2014 #3
CanonRay Aug 2014 #12
pintobean Aug 2014 #16
CanonRay Aug 2014 #19
pintobean Aug 2014 #21
SwankyXomb Aug 2014 #33
pintobean Aug 2014 #34
Lee-Lee Aug 2014 #35
Savannahmann Aug 2014 #2
FreakinDJ Aug 2014 #5
Savannahmann Aug 2014 #11
Danascot Aug 2014 #23
Hoyt Aug 2014 #32
VanGoghRocks Aug 2014 #20
Hippo_Tron Aug 2014 #22
Savannahmann Aug 2014 #27
Hippo_Tron Aug 2014 #44
rock Aug 2014 #31
Gore1FL Aug 2014 #4
FarPoint Aug 2014 #8
madville Aug 2014 #6
FreakinDJ Aug 2014 #9
FarPoint Aug 2014 #7
avebury Aug 2014 #10
Loudly Aug 2014 #13
pintobean Aug 2014 #17
heaven05 Aug 2014 #26
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #37
Rex Aug 2014 #40
TransitJohn Aug 2014 #18
Hippo_Tron Aug 2014 #24
heaven05 Aug 2014 #25
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #36
Rex Aug 2014 #39
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #41
Rex Aug 2014 #42
wildeyed Aug 2014 #14
jwirr Aug 2014 #15
lancer78 Aug 2014 #28
CBGLuthier Aug 2014 #29
BlueCaliDem Aug 2014 #30
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #38
Live and Learn Aug 2014 #43
philosslayer Aug 2014 #45

Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:25 AM

1. We will know when all the facts are in

 

Right now the whole thing is running on emotion. The FBI will determine what really went down.

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Response to seveneyes (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:30 AM

3. No, ultimately, a jury will determine

 

what really went down. St. Louis County and the FBI are just the evidence collectors.

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Response to seveneyes (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 10:19 AM

12. I think the local PD is deliberately screwing up this case

so any later prosecution of their officer will fail. Just like the prosecution of Zimmerman failed. Punch enough holes in it, and any prosecution will fall apart if there is a decent defense lawyer. I hope I'm wrong.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:48 AM

16. What have they done

 

to make you think that?

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Response to pintobean (Reply #16)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:15 PM

19. Failure to interview witnesses in a timely manner

release of the "robbery" video, failure to produce investigative reports, and probably more things we don't know about...yet. They are selectively hiding/releasing info to taint the jury pool. Where is the officer's report? Where's the coroner's report? Ballistics?

I always said in the Zimmerman case that the forensic evidence would tell the final truth, but that didn't happen then, and may not happen again now. You can be pretty sure this won't be tried in Ferguson, if it even gets that far.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #19)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:30 PM

21. Release of the video was mandated by law.

 

That investigation was closed and there were FOI requests for it. The reports that haven't been released are part of an ongoing investigation and therefor are exempt from the sunshine laws. The only delayed interview that I heard of was Johnson, and that sounds like games his lawyer, Freeman Bosley, was playing.

It never would have been tried in Ferguson. Unless there's a change of venue, it will be tried in Clayton, which is the county seat.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #21)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 03:22 PM

33. There were no FOI requests for the robbery video.

No one knew about it until the chief brought it up. Any FOI requests would have been for the shooting incident report.

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Response to SwankyXomb (Reply #33)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 03:34 PM

34. Bullshit

 

It was mentioned to local media shortly after the shooting. Several local outlets filed FOI requests right away. KTVI said Friday that they, and others had filed specific requests for the robbery surveillance video. I can't help it if the national media doesn't have their shit together, but if you're going to call me a liar, you'd better have yours together.

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Response to SwankyXomb (Reply #33)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 03:38 PM

35. Have you ever managed FOI requests?

 

When media outlets send them in for something like this, they don't send ones that say "Anything related to the shooting of XXX". They say "Anything related to XXXXX, including events around his shooting and any other interactions, reports, or communications about this individual and the event".

News outlets cast the widest possible net when doing these requests.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:28 AM

2. It can be argued that the first two shots were justified

 

The one inside of the car, and the second one as Michael Brown was fleeing. At that point the answer is that everything after that was not justified in any way, shape, or form.

At that point Michael Brown turned around and raised his hands in surrender. Every civilized nation considers that a surrender. It is the instinctive and internationally recognized sign of surrender. We may not be able to speak to a foreign combatant, but they know that by raising their hands, they are surrendering. It is instinctive, like grabbing your throat when you are choking.

If Officer Wilson had ceased fire at that point and taken Michael Brown into custody, even holding him at gunpoint on the ground until back up arrived and handcuffed the young man. The claim of excessive force would have fallen on deaf ears. But it did not stop there did it? All the witnesses say that same thing. Police Officer Darren Wilson continued to fire, at a man who was not fleeing, and was holding his hands up in the international sign of surrender.

At that point, the use of force ceased to be justifiable in any stretch of the imagination. At that point, it moved into murder. If our soldiers on a battlefield in a far away land shot a man who was holding his hands up that soldier would be guilty of murder. That is in a warzone, so you can't tell me that the police have a different standard, because if you do you admit the police are completely out of control.

The first two shots can be viewed as justified. Every shot after that was murder.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:36 AM

5. I don't beleive LEO's statement on the 1st 2 shots - I beleive the eyewitness

 

So No - none of the shots would be justified

Yet by your own analogy - it was murder

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Response to FreakinDJ (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:54 AM

11. I would have a hard time with that.

 

It isn't all or nothing. It is a sequence of events, each moment must be viewed by the actions of the participants.

The first shot according to witnesses was when Michael Brown was leaning into the window. If he was being pulled, or pushed out is a debatable point. But the argument could be made that the first shot was the officer fearing for his life. I would not be happy with that, but using the standards of the day as I outlined in this post, I would be unable to argue that wasn't justified. Let me make the point, I don't like guns, and I don't like them to be used. But I can't arbitrarily create a new standard after the fact, I have to use the standards that are in place at the time of the event.

Michael Brown began to run according to witnesses. Now, the justification there is that the suspect had attacked a police officer. That is a felony, and at that point Michael Brown was a fleeing felon. OK, I don't like it, but I would grudgingly admit that was reasonable, if it stopped there.

Because at that point, it ceased to be justified. At that point it became murder. It could no longer be argued that Michael Brown was attacking police, he was unarmed, and at a distance from the officer. It could not be argued that he was fleeing, because he had stopped and turned and most importantly, raised his hands in surrender.

Now, here is where those standards I mentioned above come in. Because at this point Police Officer Darren Wilson committed murder. At this point he continued firing even when Michael Brown fell to the ground. At this point nothing that Michael Brown could be accused of could justify the firing of the weapon. Michael Brown could be number one on the ten most wanted list, and it still would be murder once he raised his hands.

What should have happened is that Police Officer Darren Wilson ceased fire, and had Michael Brown get on the ground. Then if he felt safe he could handcuff Michael Brown, or he could call for assistance and get someone else to secure him. At that point, Michael Brown was in custody even if he had no handcuffs on, because he had surrendered. Another officer was close by, and could have been there in a minute, or two. Michael Brown and Police Officer Darren Wilson should be alive today, their injuries treated by the hospital, and the question lain before the court as to what punishment if any was warranted.

Instead, Michael Brown is dead. Murdered by Police Officer Darren Wilson, who executed Michael Brown while he was surrendering.

I agree without reservation that it was a murder. But arguing that none of the shots were justified doesn't do it. You have to look at each shot individually. Because each shot was an individual action. Police Officer Darren Wilson when he fired that second shot was in a mindframe that he was going to keep pulling the trigger until Michael Brown was no longer moving. That is why it should be Murder in the First Degree. Because when he started to shoot, he was doing so with the intent to kill.

But I don't think we'll see Police Officer Darren Wilson charged by the County, or the State. I think that the DA will go in and tell the Grand Jury that Michael Brown was a bad man who got what he deserved. Then the DA will hold his hands up in impotence and say he did his job and there's nothing that can be done now, the Grand Jury has spoken.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:36 PM

23. Excellent analysis

The best I've read so far.

The only thing I take exception to, and it takes nothing away from your shot by shot logic, is the last paragraph where you opine that Darren Wilson won't be charged. We're both guessing here but I think one of these outcomes is more likely:

He will be charged, make a plea deal for a lesser charge and receive minimal jail time and probation.

He will be charged, go to trial and be found not guilty like Zimmerman, only more so because Wilson is an actual police officer instead of a wanna-be and Michael Brown appears a less appealing figure than Treyvon Martin.

He will be charged, go to trial and be convicted of a lesser charge, receive minimal jail time and probation.

... and with any of your or my outcomes, Furguson and other places will likely explode with justified outrage.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 01:22 PM

32. That could be. Although, I want to know more about the first few seconds before saying for sure

there might be some justification for the first shot, or second shot.

I also want to know why no one did anything to help Brown after he was shot. Did they just not care, or was it so clear he was dead (several times over)?

There has to be a better way of handling these things without killing someone.

I am sure the country needs to demilitarize police department. The police department there needs to clean house. All police need to wear a camera. Ron Johnson should receive a commendation and promotion. And a lot more. This junk has to stop.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:20 PM

20. As the Rude Pundit put it, it wouldn't matter if

 

Brown were an international drug lord kingpin. Once his hands were raised, the shooting had to stop. Unless you're a member of the Ferguson, MO death squad.

Thanks for your eloquent explication. I am seeing so much red right now I can barely type.

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2014/08/lets-be-clear-about-michael-brown.html

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:34 PM

22. How does one justify the second shot if he was fleeing?

Deadly force is supposed to be use only if someone's life is in danger. Fleeing isn't dangerous.

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Response to Hippo_Tron (Reply #22)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:55 PM

27. For police there are two arguments that are reasonably accepted.

 

I'm not arguing the validity, I'm talking the social acceptance of. Please note the difference.

First reason to use force as outlined in the OP is Fear of loss of life. In self defense in other words. The second is fleeing felon. Assaulting a police officer is a felony. If the use of force stopped there then Police Officer Darren Wilson would be in no danger of criminal charges. Because stopping a bad guy from getting away is one of those cases in which the public generally accepts the use of force.

Now, I want to be sure you understand. I am not advocating this as the standard we should use. I am saying this is the standard we are using right now, and at the time of the murder of Michael Brown.

I would prefer this standard be eliminated except in the most extreme of circumstances, but I doubt I'll see much success in that effort. Before I'm asked, I'll say it here. A fleeing rapist, murderer, or child molester would be the extreme circumstances I mentioned. Not he could be, but we believe he is.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #27)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 09:40 PM

44. I get that people accept the use of force to catch fleeing felons, but not deadly force

Sure, officer Wilson would probably never be indicted for tazing Michael Brown while fleeing or beating the shit out of him while fleeing. But shooting him while fleeing? I don't see how that's justified unless the man has a hostage (which he wouldn't since he was unarmed) or perfectly matches the physical description of a serial killer on the loose.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 01:21 PM

31. I agree but would state it even stronger

Raised hands is more than a sign of surrender, but a de facto surrender (that is one is not in position to do any more fighting; it is not an aggressive position).

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:30 AM

4. Even if it was legal for the first round or two

It became illegal when the kid put his hands up.

It's a little hard even to justify under "fleeing suspect" as an overweight kid (who allegedly smokes) running in flip-flops shouldn't have been a difficult person to catch up to.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:42 AM

8. I hope the autopsy can prove the fact that Brown had his hands up when shot.

Brown was following commander when slain.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:39 AM

6. I can already hear the defense

They will frame it that Brown assaulted the officer and tried to get his gun, at that point making himself a "violent felon" and when he ran away he was fleeing the scene of a violent felony he just committed (assault on a law enforcement officer).

The defense will also use the officer not knowing about recent store robbery to their advantage as well. The will present that the officer was at a disadvantage in the situation because Brown's state of mind from having just committed the robbery may have led him to be violent against the officer, surprising Wilson and scaring him for his life.

That's exactly how they will play it I bet, the officer will be presented as the victim at any trial that happens.

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Response to madville (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:49 AM

9. Continued shooting - even when the victim had his hands up

 

Every thing points to a Bigot in a Blind Rage

But yes - every thing is "By the Book" cover up at this point including the FBI stepping in. They did the same thing in the shooting death of Andy Lopez only to roll back their statement to "We are only here to assist local law enforcement"

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:39 AM

7. Well...the Ferguson PD and all of it's good old boys are doing their damdest to make it fit.

In my opinion... Shooting was a homicide. Now the real battle is to preserve the evidence and to counter the spin lies coming from the blue wall.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:49 AM

10. No

Even if the PD makes a case that the shooter was in fear for his life, this argument only works for the 1st shot. There was a break in time between shot #1 and shot #2 and then again between shot #2 and the volley of shots that ultimately killed Brown. Gaps in time between the shootings is more then sufficient to establish premeditation. Furthermore, backed up by all of the eye witness testimony, Brown was of no threat to the office at the time of Shot # 2 and the Volley of shots that killed the boy.

It sounds like, when the cop told the boys to get on the sidewalk and Brown mouthed off to him (as teenagers are likely to do) this cop got pissed off because he felt like he was being disrespected. This seems to be evidenced by the fact that he brought his car around and came so close to the boys that there was not even enough room for the cop to get out of the car without hitting the boys with the door of his car. It is pretty clear that this cop was not going to allow them to get away with disrespecting him.

After the first shot (and I am being generous in potentially allowing the cop that one) there is no credible reason on this planet to continue to try to kill the kid and that is exactly what he was trying to do. One woman has already come forward with a story of her interaction with this cop and it does not show him in a positive light and I would not be surprised if there were not more stories just like that.

The shooter's reaction to Michael Brown was way way way over the top. This is someone who is not psychologically fit to be a cop. He is treating the people he was hired to protect and serve as nothing more then animals (which surprisingly is the impression you get from some of the cops who were going all military on the town before they were pulled out). This is a PD that appears to routinely treat their community as enemy combatants not as American citizens.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:14 AM

13. I'm sure the word is getting around out there. This was a bad surrender.

 

After a physical altercation with a cop, you attempt to flee.

Feeling the impact of bullets traveling faster than you can flee, you change your decision from flee to surrender.

You DO NOT turn and face your pursuer with your arms over your head!

If you do that, you look like King fucking Kong ready to rumble some more.

(Especially someone with stats like this guy.)

NO. You do not turn around at all. You immediately lie face down on the ground with your hands behind your head.

Just like the cops would tell you to do if you asked them their preference about how you should present yourself for surrender.

Michael Brown died so that proper survivable surrendering technique might be learned.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:02 PM

17. This is the dumbest post I've read on DU

 

since the shooting eight days ago. There has been some stiff competition up until now, but this blows all that to smithereens.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:38 PM

26. I'm not surprised

 

zimmerman had many excuses to murder Travon handed to him by posters on this very board.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:02 PM

37. SMH.

 

Doesn't sound very progressive.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:10 PM

40. I rates in my top 10. I am hoping the poster just forgot the sarcasm tag

 

or it is a really poor attempt at satire.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:08 PM

18. With sincerity

Fuck this inane blame-the-victime authoritarian-worship drivel you have posted.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:36 PM

24. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you felt the sarcasm tag wasn't necessary

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:36 PM

25. right

 

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:01 PM

36. "you look like King fucking Kong ready to rumble some more." Utter Bullshit.

 

Your reply above smells of authoritarianism and, actually, strikes me as racist.

The pursuit was wrong, cops who can't self-restrain need to find a different line of work or suffer the consequences.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:09 PM

39. You look like King Kong ready to rumble? After being shot twice in the back

 

how do you know one of those bullets didn't spin Brown around in his tracks? Bullets can be very powerful, enough to pick a person up off the ground.

So what are his 'stats'...since you compared him to King Kong.

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Response to Rex (Reply #39)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:28 PM

41. Historically, racists have compared African American men to apes, like King Kong...

 

That was my first thought.

I guess, to some, that's justification to fire and stop, and then stand over the victim and fire several more times.

And then not check for signs of life or call for an ambulance or provide CPR.



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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #41)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 05:46 PM

42. Are they still here?

 

Opps...did I type that?

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:25 AM

14. If the autopsy supported the officer's version of events, I believe we would have seen it by now.

Also, we would have seen a picture of the officers "swollen" face. The Ferguson PD has shown the willingness to release anything they think will influence the public to their version of events so I can only surmise that these do not.

I wish the prosecutor would recuse himself and let the state take over since it is obvious that the community does not trust him. Just another way the local officials are making this so much worse for everyone.

On a side note, a white police officer shot an unarmed black man in my community last year. Now granted, this was a more clear cut case, but the officer was indicted less than 48 hours later and our DA recused himself and allowed the state to manage the prosecution. Local activist then worked successfully to make the Citizen's Review Board effective since it had previously been a rubber stamp for the police version of events. So it was a horrible event, but the community had faith in the process and peace was maintained. Just an example of how this type of situation could be better managed.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/jonathan-ferrell-shot_n_3937175.html

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:41 AM

15. IMO after the second shot there is nothing legal about the whole situation. His hands were up and

he was surrendering. Once down the police never checked to see if he was breathing nor did they call for an ambulance. All of that is illegal. And all over stupid cigarillos.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:56 PM

28. The big issue i see

 

is if Wilson was really admitted to the ER with facial injuries. We dismissed the injuries that Zimmerman sustained but I believe that they were a major reason that he was acquitted. Too much reasonable doubt.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 12:56 PM

29. Jerome Ersland was a pharmacist in Oklahoma City

Two men tried to rob his store. He shot one down and then reloaded stood over him and shot him dead. He is in prison now. WTF should cops be allowed to do something citizen's can not?

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 01:05 PM

30. No, according to the three witnesses who have come forward publicly.

All of them testify that Officer Wilson was bullying Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson that evening.

The officer drove by after telling them to "get the f-- off the street", and when the two young men retorted that they were almost home, the cop slammed on his brakes and backed into them and they just barely got out of the way.

When they passed the car and, according to Dorian Johnson, didn't say a word, the cop commanded Mike Brown over to his car and when Mike Brown didn't comply, the cop shoved open the door but Mike's bulk was in the way and it slammed back on him.

Then he grabbed Mike by the throat and tried to pull him in through the window (all witnesses corroborate Dorian Johnson's account).

When Brown resisted, Officer Wilson pulled his pistol and shot him in the shoulder.

Mike stumbled back and both young men fled: Mike down the street and Dorian behind a parked car. Officer Wilson quickly got out of his patrol car and fired off his second round into Mike's back which made him stop and turn around with hands in the air. Here's where Dorian Johnson broke down in tears, recounting how his friend's eyes were round and full of pain and terror while telling the officer that he was unarmed and to "please not shoot anymore". Officer Wilson marched up to him and coldly executed him, shooting him in the face and in the chest, and Mike Brown went down, killed instantly.

According to one witness who had videotaped the incident after the fact, he had seen the "cop stand over the dude's body and shot him some more while he was on the ground". If that's true, it's extrajudicial execution - murder. You can hear it in this video (at 0:50):

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #30)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 04:04 PM

38. +1 (nt)

 

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 05:49 PM

43. Legal or not, it was definitely immoral. nt

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 09:43 PM

45. Is this a serious question?

 

n/t

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