It Appears Likely That Michael Brown Did NOT Have His Hands Up When He Was Shot… Now What?

hands up

How does the culture, the news media, the civil rights  industry, and politicians determined to benefit by making African-Americans suspicious, paranoid, racist and, of course, lifetime Democrats, make amends for this? How do they undo the damage to mutual trust and American society?

Obviously they don’t. They don’t even try. In fact, all indications are that they will refuse to acknowledge that the entire, national effort to portray the tragic confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson as a race-triggered execution was based on a lie that was presumed to be accurate despite much reason to doubt it.

The original claim that Brown was shot and killed after putting his hands in the air came from his friend and partner in crime, Dorian Johnson. Johnson, who already had a record of lying to police, was with Brown prior to the August 9 confrontation, and had joined him in the petty robbery that occurred just before Brown’s arrest. In his TV interviews  after the shooting, Johnson said that Wilson shot Brown in the back, causing him to turn around with his hands up, pleading, ‘I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!’ Before the grand jury, Johnson, who admitted that he hid during the incident and later ran home to change clothes so he wouldn’t be identified, even elaborated and provided minute details to his fabrication, stating under oath that the shot in his back caused Brown’s body to “do like a jerking movement, not to where it looked like he got hit in his back, but I knew, it maybe could have grazed him, but he definitely made a jerking movement.” The forensic evidence showed that Brown was not shot in the back.

Other witnesses concocted similar testimony demonizing Wilson after hearing the media’s credulous accounts based on Brown’ friend’s claims. One told the FBI that he saw Wilson shoot Brown in the back and then stand over his prone body to “finish him off.” In front of the grand jury, however, this witness acknowledged that he had not seen that part of the shooting. He explained that the false story he told the FBI was “based on me being where I’m from, and that can be the only assumption that I have.”

Sort of like Democrats have to believe such false narrative because the presence of deadly, virulent racism is core to the party’s appeal to African American voters…

Then, he admitted,  he changed his story to fit details of the autopsy once it was reported on TV.  “So it was after you learned that the things you said you saw couldn’t have happened that way, then you changed your story about what you seen?’ a prosecutor asked. “Yeah, to coincide with what really happened,” the witness replied.

Members of the community, activists, anti-police zealots and those who had observed how effective the Trayvon Martin hoodie symbolism had been in casting George Zimmerman as a racist killer (rather than as he was subsequently shown to be, an irresponsible, unbiased jerk) immediately seized on the gesture as a powerful protest symbol. Every time it was repeated in a protest or demonstration, it was Johnson’s lie multiplied, until the narrative that Officer Wilson shot an unarmed, unresisting teenaged black male who was pleading to live was imbedded in the American mind. Of course it was murder! Of course any system that does not immediately charge the rogue police officer with murder is corrupt and flawed.

I have had conversations with well-intentioned liberals in denial,who are obviously unable to think of what occurred in Ferguson any other way. Such frustrating conversations. As in the Martin case, they want the white shooter to be guilty of racism and brutality. The fact that no clear evidence will show that, as the grand jury found out, doesn’t dissuade them, even though they would nod vigorously if activists argued that prosecutors displayed racism by indicting any black suspect when eye-witness testimony was unreliable.

Oh, it is true that their confusion is compounded by not understanding what a grand jury does, or hearing references to the quote that a prosecutor can make a grand jury “indict a ham sandwich” (not recognizing that this was a criticism, or perhaps having no more regard for a young policeman’s life than they do a ham sandwich, because, you know, white cop), and that they have been conditioned to believe from their SDS veteran professors from the Sixties that police officers are not public servants but really diabolical agents of an overbearing state—not that they don’t want an overbearing state in most matters, just not where public safety…okay, it’s complicated!). Still, what most nourishes their fervor now—how I love being told that I am taking my cues from Fox News!—is the indelible image of young, frightened, unarmed Mike Brown, with his hands in the air.

How does Darren Wilson get his career, reputation and life back after a lie is promoted as fact by the media, and ruthlessly used by race-hucksters to destroy him while escalating racial distrust? How does the culture recover from this deep, self inflicted wound?

It is not the criminal justice system that is so in need of repair, but our system of communicating important events to the public, so that bias doesn’t overwhelm truth, and we will be able to forge the right lessons from tragedies like Michael Browns death, not false lessons that leave us more ignorant, hateful, and afraid.

UPDATE 1: A relevant post from the Federalist.

UPDATE 2 (12/2/14): An examination of Johnson’s credibility on this issue in the Washington Post


Sources: Althouse, Daily Mail 1, 2; AP


39 thoughts on “It Appears Likely That Michael Brown Did NOT Have His Hands Up When He Was Shot… Now What?

  1. So sad, so very sad. Out of all the justifiable instances of police bias against blacks, this particular incident, wherein there was a confrontation between a black thug and a white police officer, has galvanized the black community into protests against institutional racism. Here’s a thought… maybe some good will emanate from the bad. (From my own pessimistic perspective I doubt the preceding thought. But I can hope, can’t I?)

      • Let me note something based on that graphic: 1 in 3 whites, times 8% of the those searched, is 2.66 found carrying contraband per hundred total searched. 1 in 5 blacks, times 92% searched, is 18.4. Almost all of the people caught with contraband are black. The numbers in the graphic cut against the idea of the graphic, when thought about for a minute. Yeah, there is profiling, but it seems to be based on a legitimate stereotype, and disproportionate.

        I should compare that to the percent of the populace of each race to see how the search rates and contraband carrying rates compare.

        • Phlinn, it seems to me that you’re not thinking about the graphic rightly.

          According to Wikipedia, citing census data, “the racial makeup of [Ferguson] was 67.4% African American, 29.3% White.” That would suggest a much lower stop rate of blacks – if black and whites used drugs at equal rates. Yet the graphic shows 92% of the searches are of blacks. On top of that, we have the contraband yield of 20% in black cases, vs. 33% in the case of whites.

          In a predominantly black city, it’s not surprising that most of the drugs will be used by black people, as you note. But it would appear that the police are not only over-sampling in terms of population, they have doubled down – over-sampling also in terms of yield. (An economist might say the police have mis-priced the value of a marginal increase in stops).

          It would seem to me the rational explanation here is that the police are disproportionately stopping black motorists, based both on demographics and in terms of per-stop yield rates.

          (Though another explanation occurs to me: IF the AMOUNT of drugs they were finding with black motorists was far higher than with white motorists, then the police might be behaving rationally).

          • I’m not sure you read my comment carefully enough. I had suggested that I needed to look at total populations already… but those numbers are not part of the graphic. I specifically used just the numbers in the graphics to point out that blacks actually carried most of the contraband found, and given your population numbers at an actual higher rate than whites. The profiling, by oversampling blacks, made it look like less.

            I had mentioned the disproportionate profiling in my prior comment

            Basically, I was going the same direction as you, with less depth. I have to admit that I didn’t consider the amount of drugs as a factor, but it makes a certain amount of sense. I have noted in the past that types of coinciding crimes is a plausible confounding variable for drug arrests, and that seems like something in the same veins.

  2. Really Jack? How does it appear likely that Michael Brown did NOT have his hands up? FYI & your sycophants.
    Which witnesses are we to believe since it appears that it’s half/half proposition. Or maybe give credence only to Officer Wilson whose testimony may or may not have been coached but was certainly self serving. May be all your cues aren’t from Fox but right wing rags who seem to share your conclusion.
    On the other hand maybe you can opine on the instructions given the Grand Jury by assistant prosecutors which may have unduly influenced the jurors understanding apropos issuing an indictment. It seems to this layman that the legal eagles in Mo. are not sure on the role of the Supreme Court of the US on overturning unconstitutional State Law!

    • 1. Reducing testimony to a chart is ridiculous, and obviously calculated to produce the conclusion you leapt to. Can you tell how many of those witnesses contradicted themselves? Vacillated? Seemed to be echoing the media? Were friends of Mike Brown? Had heard the media reports? The officer’s account fits the forensic evidence. The “Hands up!” trope was established by hearsay, and became “fact,” polluting everything that came after. Should the officer’s account be given special weight? Of course: he was there, and police don’t typically shoot unarmed men who have their hands up.
      2. (Added later after my laptop died) This is not an equal balance of testimony. If all the witnesses who said Brown charged were police officers, it would be balanced. If the forensic evidence supported the shot-in-the-back, hands-in-the-air claims, it would be closer to equal. If the first two witnesses to go on CNN hadn’t made “hands in the air” claims that were later proven to be false in their cases, you could claim that.If the protests had not already established a narrative that members of the black community, supporters of Brown and supporters of his family could be expected to bolster regardless of the truth, maybe you could claim that. If Wilson’s account had been publicized before the grand jury on CNN, maybe NPR could make this argument.
      3. “Maybe all your cues aren’t from Fox but right wing rags who seem to share your conclusion.” And maybe you can bite me, Ass. I have independent qualifications to analyze these issues, and I don’t have to take my cues from anyone, right wing, left wing or center. If they came to the same conclusions as I have, maybe they are following me…I’ve been ahead of many of them on many issues. And just because they are right wing doesn’t make them wrong in this instance, just as the fact that I have reached this conclusion objectively doesn’t make me right wing, or in their thrall. Make that suggestion again here, and you’re gone: I don’t tolerate cheap attacks on my integrity as an ethicist. I don’t ape anyone. If smart, ethical, knowledgeable people reach the same conclusions, well, that’s to be expected. I have and had no dog in this hunt. When I heard the fake narrative–poor Mike Brown, young, harmless kid on his way to college, profiled for no reason and shot down in the street with his hands up, begging to be spared, I thought the Wilson was obviously a rogue cop and needed to be tried for murder. Then I found out that all of it was a lie, accepted by the guileless media. I have a bias against mob rule and black racism against whites, as well as picking a man by chance to be a scapegoat for all bigotry and police misconduct, even though he may have engaged in neither.
      4. Explain to me, if you can, why you and your ilk are so determined to get Wilson tried in the absence of sufficient evidence to convict. I will not accept “a young man is dead.”

      • . Explain to me, if you can, why you and your ilk are so determined to get Wilson tried in the absence of sufficient evidence to convict. I will not accept “a young man is dead.”

        Probably the same reason why they do not care that so many black people are murdered by other black people.

      • ““Maybe all your cues aren’t from Fox but right wing rags who seem to share your conclusion.” And maybe you can bite me, Ass.” I am laughing so hard I’m crying !

    • I happened to have read the PBS analysis of the witnesses (with a chart!) and was honestly kinda sad at how non-objective it was. It appears to have duped some people, such as Dr. Rick.

      The problem with the PBS chart is that it does not discriminate between witnesses; it just counts them and arranges them into a graph, as if all testimony were equal. The testimony of Johnson, who has lied to police before, was Brown’s friend/accomplice, and ran away as soon as the trouble started, is considered equal to the testimony of uninvolved third parties.

      The testimonies of Brown sympathizers who came forward to share their stories on TV are considered equal to the testimonies of African-Americans who were subpoenaed and testified in private.

      As was made clear to the grand jury, the testimonies claiming that Brown’s hands were up proved to be made up (many of them recanted after the forensics came out, many of them admitted to having not even been present, and Johnson obviously lied). The most trustworthy testimonies lined up with the forensics and with Wilson’s story…and stayed consistent.

      But hey…PBS!

      • But hey…blatantly progressive, liberal slanting, non-critical Obama-firewall source. If Dr. Rick hadn’t pre-empted me, I would have flagged that embarrassing bit of anti-Wilson/ McCullock propaganda as one more smoking gun example of media bias.The most trustworthy testimonies lined up with the forensics and with Wilson’s story…and stayed consistent, as you say, and they are spun into being on an equal footing with the multiple false accounts of Brown being completely non-threatening.

    • Their data in their chart is only 46% accurate. Their analysis is also really poorly constructed and is counting multiple answers from individual witnesses as they are from more than one witness. They also misrepresent the actual answers in context. Many of the “Hands up” claims check on their chart are actually “Hands Halfway up” NOT IN SURRENDER if they were to bother reading the witness statement.
      For the “charge” column there were 5 different answers reported. The majority of witnesses claim Brown was advancing toward Wilson. They just disagree on relative speed.

  3. Just throwing this out there. There is some evidence that the cops really messed up by not segregating the witnesses, and that all of the ones pushing the hands up story were talking to each other and to an anti-police activist. I suspect it spins a few things, but the pictures with certain witnesses together is interesting.

  4. Jack, don’t overplay your hand.

    I won’t presume to label Fattymoon a liberal, but you can call me one, and that would make two of us who find it most unfortunate that incidents like this get played out in terms of labels. I don’t doubt that you’ve “had conversations with well-intentioned liberals in denial,who are obviously unable to think of what occurred in Ferguson any other way,” but I hope you don’t consider me one of them.

    To your concern about a rush to judgment, I would note that the finish line wasn’t a court trial, it was simply an indictment – the rush to judgment seems to me to lie in the desire to prevent a trial happening at all. And it’s important that your readers know that, in point of fact, grand juries almost never return indictments against police (and, yes, that there are some good reasons for that).

    Brown behaved thuggishly on at least one occasion, no doubt. Was he a thug? I never heard of testimony saying he had a record or reputation for being one. I for one find it still very disturbing that a trained, 6’4″ presumably fit police officer, faced with an obese teenager, saw him in terms of a “demon” and “Hulk Hogan,” and couldn’t have figured out a non-violent way to interact with him before it got to the point it did. We need cops who are less fearful and more in control of their emotions if we’re going to send them out to difficult streets.

    Finally, I can’t resist pointing out the (presumably unintentional) irony of your question, “How does Darren Wilson get his career, reputation and life back?” Wilson is, in point of fact, still very much in possession of his life; it’s Brown who is the one not getting it back.

    As to how he gets back his career, from what I see in the press, it doesn’t sound like he wants it back. And I for one wouldn’t blame him; regardless of what he says about his conscience, it can’t be easy to go back to the same job after what’s happened. If it were me, I wouldn’t.

    • There were at least 3 occasions. Brown was high, he stole cigarillos in full view of a store clerk, he physically bullied the tiny clerk, he then walked in the middle of the street, along the double yellow lines.

      When confronted by Wilson, he prevented Wilson from being able to exit the vehicle by butting up against his door, picked a fight with a cop, calling him a p***y, punched and swung at the seated Wilson, and tried to grab/fire Wilson’s gun.

      If Wilson’s story is to believed (and multiple videos and all of the credible witnesses confirm every detail of Wilson’s story), Brown attempted to charge him after Wilson had exited the car, apparently pretending to be reaching for a weapon.

      You could consolidate all of this behavior into one “occasion”, I suppose, but it’s more accurate to say that the young man was on something of a rampage, and didn’t seem to care about any consequences.

      According to Wilson’s testimony, and all of the evidence, the guy acted very professionally. He weighed using mace first (it would have incapacitated him more than Brown), his left hand was protecting his face (with mixed results), and his nightstick was between his back and the car seat. He was forced to draw his gun because Brown grabbed it, and Brown probably succeeded so far as to get his finger in near the trigger before Wilson wrested it away and got a shot off inside the car.

      Wilson reportedly warned Brown to freeze, and fired two volleys as Brown was heading towards him. All of the shots are to the front of Brown, with a wounds indicating that his arms were lowered and head down.

      • You could consolidate all of this behavior into one “occasion”, I suppose, but it’s more accurate to say that the young man was on something of a rampage, and didn’t seem to care about any consequences.
        From a medical standpoint I believe Mr. Brown was suffering from a rage disorder and I’d really be surprised if there isn’t a record of that and more.
        Of course, that sort of evidence, along with his juvenile record (also violent)
        is kept in secrecy.
        Hey, at least we don’t have any facts mucking up the Left’s narrative of a heinous crime of racism and hatred!!!

    • 1. I was certainly not talking about you, Charles, when I was reflecting on those frustrating conversations.
      2. I find it amazing that people keep talking about “simply an indictment”—for murder!—as if it is nothing. It is a devastating, life threatening catastrophe, that no one should ever be subjected to unless there is good faith belief by a competent prosecutor that a jury could properly convict on what is currently known, because a mob demands it, because past misconduct by others, because of media hype, or because it is the path of least resistance…all of which would have been true in this case.
      3. I assumed someone would make the false equivalency between Brown and Wilson. Brown precipitated this incident and created the circumstances that led to his demise. It is a shame that he didn’t live to learn some things, but nobody took anything away from him. He took it away from himself. Absent evidence to the contrary, and the fact that Brown was shot and was black is not, absent more, such evidence , we must conclude that Wilson was doing his job, and did nothing to justify his plight.

  5. Now comes the Tawana Brawley moment: the AP reports that many of the demonstrators are arguing that whether or not Brown actually had his hands raised and is irrelevant, because it’s a metaphor. It’s not a metaphor when it makes the difference between whether a cop has defended himself or is a cold-blooded killer. It’s not a metaphor when it prompts “supporters” to lie under oath.

    • Or looters to destroy the lives and businesses of hundreds of innocent people not the least a store owner who was already a victim of the dead kid.
      Or the same thing happens to a white teen by a black cop and not one word is said by Sharpton and his merry band.
      Or the whole country has their own biases reinforced by the behavior of the supposed enemy.
      Or the president and the attorney general make asses of themselves publicly, further eroding the idea of justice.
      Some metaphor. Easy to say when it’s happening to strangers. Wait until the violence reaches into their own town or their own neighborhood and see them all cry for civility.

  6. This is turning into the mother of all train wrecks SO FAST…now you’ve got Michael’s mother and grandma leading a gang to physically assault other family members over “Justice for Michael Brown” t-shirts and royalties…the New York Times sharing Wilson’s home location AFTER the riots, and not apologizing in the least…one of the idiot Times reporters apparently getting her own address passed around the web, and then whining to the cops about the ensuing prank phone calls…the Brown family’s church burning down for some reason…a man shot dead in his car at some point during the rioting…the usual idiots (Salon, Jezebel), STILL clamoring for Wilson’s head…and racists coming out of the woodwork because of course they are loving all of this. Oh, and Eric Holder would like you to know that he is still working on finding SOMETHING to hurt Wilson with…

  7. Here is a depressing note: alleged Pulitzer Prize-quality columnist Eugene Robinson trying to argue that it is legitimate to use “Hand’s up! Don’t shoot!” because there’s no definitive evidence Brown didn’t “have his hands up at some point.” Wow. Robinson embarrasses himself thus because, I guess, he’s black, he’s liberal, and he doesn’t have the integrity to be honest, objective, and fair. If the Post had any guts and integrity, it would can him based on this alone.

  8. I wonder what unjust law the lady with the big arms is referring to? Is that the law that won’t allow them to string up cops from a lamppost, or does she really think there’s an actual law, or a permit system, that allows cops to shoot blacks when they’re bored?

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