I keep reading about this ground swell of support for Officer Wilson. Wilson's defenders are saying that he was "just doing his job" so leave him alone. Somehow they are conflating Wilson's being held accountable for his actions with showing support for law enforcement in general. For the record that is complete bullshit and I'm already sick of hearing it. If that is how you want to express your support for Cops, leave me out of it.
First off, We don't know if Wilson WAS doing his job. Prior to 2010 the Ferguson Police Department didn't even have a real use of force policy. That is an absolutely mind blowing fact to me. How can you be held accountable for doing your job right if no one can even make a complaint? If Wilson was doing his job correctly and the Ferguson police department does its job correctly, and the Prosecutors office does it's job correctly then we don't have anything to worry about do we? In Ferguson I'm not so sure.
I've previously commented in detail about how I feel the police have bungled the aftermath of the shooting but I have specifically avoided speculating about what may have happened during the incident. But a few things have caught my attention.
Here are some of the things I'm looking for.
WHO WERE THE OTHER UNITS AT THE SCENE?
WHEN DID HE MAKE HIS STATEMENT AND WHO DID HE MAKE IT TO?
WE NEED TO HEAR THE 911 TAPES
WE NEED TO SEE THE WITNESS STATEMENTS
Officer Wilson claims that Brown charged him and "went for his gun". Ok. That may well turn out to be true but "he went for my gun" is also a catch all that police use when they fuck up. Based on all the information out there including what the Ferguson police have dribbled out the basic narrative goes something like this: Wilson is driving down the street and he sees two black males. He drives up and makes contact. Maybe he tells them to get out of the street. One of the men, the big one comes to the window and starts talking to the officer. A verbal back and forth starts. All this is fairly typical. Then,
According to anonymous police sources and witness accounts (via NY Times) some sort of confrontation happened at the window and that's when Wilson claims he felt threatened. OK here's the thing. There are very few circumstances where an officer should be sitting in his patrol car having a confrontational interview with a person standing at his window. And here is the reason why. Wilson could have been speaking with Brown, run his name and date of birth on NCIC, and while he was talking to him dispatch got a wanted person hit. Or Wilson could have been talking to Brown and that's when the BOLO came over the radio for a "Robbery Suspect". In either scenario if Brown is leaning in the window and he over heard dispatch come back with his information, Wilson is screwed. In that situation maybe Brown reacts and tries to get away. If Wilson is already being verbally combative with Brown he's likely pissed. Wilson may have tried to grab Brown to keep him from running. Maybe Wilson tried to throw the door open and catch him before he runs. Let's say Brown did rush Wilson and try to "go for his gun". When? When Wilson was still sitting in the car?
If Wilson is right handed his weapon will be on his right side wedged tightly between his body and the console. Brown would have had to reach across Wilson's entire body and somehow jam his hand down into that space then take the weapon. Who is going to do that? If Wilson is left handed it will be wedged against the drivers side door, which is closed and his body. Most if not all agencies use level 2 or level 3 retention gun holsters. These are designed to not be able to be pulled out of the holster from the front. Let me emphasize that, a police officer in a seated position in a patrol car will not be able to take his gun out of the holster without significant effort. If it's a level 3 holster you have to do several things in sequence for that holster to release the weapon. To take a cops gun while they are in a patrol vehicle is a major stretch. So that's why for the life of me I can't figure out how or why Wilson's gun could have been in play. Unless Wilson already had his gun out which would be absurd. Why would he be sitting there with the weapon out?
If Wilson left the vehicle door open while he was talking to Brown that's crazy. Any cop with 2 months on the street would know that any suspect could push in that door pin their legs and seriously injure them. Maybe when he realized that he could be going to jail Brown struck him and then tried to run. OK let's say Brown actually strikes him with his fist and turns around to run off, Wilson jumps out and starts chasing him. Then suddenly Brown turns back around and comes towards Wilson in an aggressive manner. Really? Anytime anybody is in a fight, guess what? Someone is going to be coming at you in an aggressive manner! That is just the element that you need to use force, not lethal force.
And all this talk from "cops" like Sunil Dutta about "if you don't want to get shot then don't challenge me,....", seriously? Dude your are supposed to be a cop, not Judge Dredd.
What kind of neighborhoods are these guys working in to expect that? People are going to buck on you, that's a part of the job, you have to handle your emotions and stay safe. Nobody is going to stop and tell you "excuse me kind sir, I just thought that I would advise you that I intend to hit you now because I don't really want you to take me to jail, but I want you to know that I deeply regret any vexation this may cause you". What kind of logic is that? What streets are you working? You have 25 pounds of gear hanging off of your gun belt. If a person is coming towards you aggressively it is your job to stop that aggression by climbing the ladder of escalating force, (hands, chemical spray, ASP, Tazer, Gun) you don't jump to lethal force! Just the fact that he is charging you doesn't change that.
I want people to understand that Ofc Wilson is entirely responsible for his decisions and screwing up is not a reason for deadly force. If you are conducting a field interview much less a confrontational interview with someone YOU NEED TO GET YOUR ASS OUT of the patrol car. Period. You just can't break that rule. That car can be a coffin because you can't move, you can't get to your weapon easily, you are a target. And you definitely NEVER have a suspect standing at your car window while you are questioning them. If he made the stop his job is to advise dispatch that he was making the stop. If he had a larger suspect refusing to comply he should have let dispatch know that too. If he started chasing the guy that would definitely be something you would advise dispatch ASAP. That protocol is in place to get a back up unit to you as soon as possible. It helps prevent bad situations from getting lethal. For the officer and the suspect. To me this is crucial. But once the situation ended in Browns death he still may not have called it in. Protocol is that you get on the radio and advise what you have anytime you make that kind of contact.
If Officer Wilson engaged Brown and in the process Brown was trying to get away then there is no way he should have chased after him while firing his weapon. No Way. (see Tn V Garner)
I can't say it enough, resisting arrest is NOT grounds for using lethal force.
Fighting the police is not enough grounds for using lethal force. If somebody is fighting you and you lose, you don't chase them down and shoot them in the head! THAT is a crime.
If Wilson screwed up and didn't call out on radio and advise what he was doing, that is bad. But if it turns out that Wilson shot this teen out of anger and confusion AFTER he had screwed up then that is criminal. If Wilson screwed up and then the Ferguson Police department tried to cover it up it's time to come clean. Your city is melting down around you. Stop acting like hacks and be professionals. That prosecutors office should not be enablers, stop being arrogant and have some class. Present all the facts and if the evidence is there, charge Wilson. Just do your jobs.