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Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announces the name of the officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown as officer Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri August 15, 2014. The briefing was held near a QuikTrip convenience store that had been burned
Last week, the Ferguson Police Department released a "packet" of information supposedly related to the shooting of Michael Brown. The problem was, even a cursory examination of the material shows that it actually has nothing on the shooting. All the information in the packet is instead related to a robbery that occurred a few minutes before the encounter between officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. When asked why he was releasing the information, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson maintained that it was because "you keep asking," as if the packet provided answers to the many requests for information that had been filed with his department. It didn't.

If the Ferguson police want to provide some information that would actually be helpful in understanding the situation, then how about answering a couple of these questions?

1) Where is Darren Wilson?

I don't mean by this that the police should be releasing his address and handing out maps to the hotel where he's hiding. I mean: Do the police know where he is? Has Wilson been told to stay in the state, or in the immediate vicinity so that he is available, at a minimum, for questioning? The police don't need to tell us that Wilson is at a safe house, or that Wilson is visiting his mom. They just need to say that he is in contact, under observation, and not on his way to Argentina.

2) Where is the evidence on Wilson's supposed injury?

There are a lot of bits of forensic evidence unlikely to appear in public until it's time for all this to head to court (assuming it does). However, since the Ferguson PD has repeatedly mentioned that Wilson had to be treated for injuries: Where are the photographs of those injuries? Where is a report from the medical personnel involved? The Ferguson police have already passed over great heaps of inflammatory material unrelated to the shooting death of Michael Brown, but they won't make available the one bit of evidence that there actually was a physical altercation between Brown and Wilson prior to the shooting? Video evidence seems to show Wilson lingering around the scene with no sign of injury. Where is the evidence?

A few more questions below the fold ….

3) Was a crime scene investigation carried out?

For over four hours, Michael Brown's body was left in a puddle of blood on a public street. Presumably, the only reason for doing such a thing was so that a thorough crime scene investigation could be conducted. However, we've seen no results of that investigation. How about a diagram showing the relationship of the patrol car to Brown? Or, assuming Wilson was not using a revolver, the location of shell casings relative to both the car and Brown's body? While we're at it, if there were shots that didn't strike Michael Brown, where did they end up? Again, the details are likely to be unavailable until trial, but if the Ferguson police are going to produce a narrative that excuses Wilson's actions, and the Ferguson police are also the sole holder of any evidence related to that action, it seems only sensible that they release this information—especially when failure to release it represents an ongoing threat to the community. Was Darren Wilson questioned at the scene? Why was the patrol car moved, even though it was tied to events at the scene, while Brown's body was left to wait? Why have we seen nothing of an actual report on the shooting?

4) Why was Michael Brown denied medical attention?

The testimony of several eyewitnesses indicates that nothing was done to check on Brown's condition after the shooting. Not even so much as someone kneeling to check his pulse. At least one witness has said that a trained nurse was denied access to Brown while he lay roasting in his blood on the asphalt. Why? Why was no ambulance called? Wouldn't this have been routine? Who declared Michael Brown dead at the scene?

5) Were phones confiscated at the scene, and why?

Several witnesses have stated that they were either stopped from recording the scene, or that phones were taken. If one of those phones has evidence directly related to the shooting, then there's a good reason it should be held, but where is the chain of custody for these devices? Where is the documentation showing that they were properly collected and turned over to an investigative team, rather than immediately falling into possession of the man who shot Brown or other officers with an interest in removing evidence?

6) How many times had Darren Wilson used force in the past?

Several reports have shown that the Ferguson PD has a particularly lax procedure surrounding the use of force by officers, and that officers have in the past been allowed to produce their own incident reports. Has Wilson previously filed reports concerning use of force? We've been told that Wilson had a clean record. How clean?

Many of the biggest concerns about this incident could be resolved with the most basic information. How far from Officer Darren Wilson was Michael Brown when he was shot? If  a weapon was discharged in the vehicle, where did that bullet go (and by the way, since the autopsy found no evidence of powder residue on Michael Brown's body, the one thing we can be pretty sure of is that Brown did not fire that shot, if it even occurred).

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing and Daily Kos.

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