“INHUMAN TREATMENT” OR SELF-DEFENSE?
by Paul R. Hollrah, ©2014, blogging at Order of the Ephors
The email I received was a copy of a thirteen-page document filed with the 53rd Session of the United Nations Committee against Torture, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from November 3-28, 2014. The title of the complaint was: “United States Compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment.” It was subtitled, “Written Statement on the Police Shooting of Michael Brown and Ensuing Police Violence Against Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.” It was hand-delivered to Geneva by Michael Brown’s parents: Michael Brown, Sr. and Lesley McSpadden.
The cover page of the complaint asserts that the complaint was submitted by the Brown family, who hand-delivered it to Geneva, as well as organizations called HandsUpUnited, Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), and Missourians Organized for Reform and Empowerment (MORE).
In a CNN interview, Brown’s mother insisted that “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice… We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.”
But, all emotion aside, what are the facts? We know that, on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, Jr. a 6-ft., 4-in., 292-lb. black teenager, was identified on videotape as the individual who engaged in the robbery of a convenience store in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. In the video, Brown is seen taking a box of Swisher Sweet cigars (valued at approximately $49.00) from the checkout counter of the convenience store, a 2nd degree theft under Missouri law.
As he and a friend prepared to exit the store, Brown is challenged by a store employee who attempted to lock the door before the two could leave the premises. However, Brown prevented the clerk from locking the door and as he and his accomplice walked out the door, he grabbed the store clerk by the lapels and shoved him backward into a display rack. And when the store clerk continued to protest, Brown turned and approached him in a threatening manner.
Minutes later, Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, a fugitive from justice on a theft charge from Jefferson City, Missouri, were seen walking defiantly down the middle of a street near the convenience store they’d just robbed. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, on routine patrol, arrived on the scene and instructed Brown and Johnson to “get the [expletive] off the street.”
At that point one must assume that Brown, having just robbed a convenience store and assaulted a store clerk, feared that he was about to be taken into custody in connection with the robbery he’d committed just minutes before. With that thought in mind, he decided that he would not allow himself to be arrested and taken into custody, with a potential jail term to follow. Instead, when Officer Wilson prepared to exit his police cruiser, Brown attacked him and forced him back into the vehicle. Having been physically assaulted by a young man much younger and stronger than himself, Officer Wilson was then justified in the use of deadly force. However, as the officer prepared to unholster his sidearm while seated inside his vehicle, Brown reached through the open window and attempted to wrest the weapon from the officer’s hand. A struggle ensued during which two shots were fired, one of them striking Brown in the wrist.
According to Officer Wilson and several eyewitnesses, Wilson then exited his vehicle and attempted to take Brown into custody, at which time Brown, who had been walking away from the scene, turned and charged the officer. Certain that he could not survive an attack by a man 6 ft., 4 in. tall and weighing nearly 300 lb., the officer fired four additional shots before Brown dropped to the pavement.
But this is not the story that Brown’s fugitive friend told police and the media. According to his version, Brown was walking toward the officer with his hands in the air, attempting to surrender. An autopsy showed that Brown had been shot six times in the front of his body. What is not clear is the source of the unsubstantiated charge that Brown was shot in the back.
Nor is it the story that Brown’s parents told in their testimony before the U.N. committee in Geneva. According to their account, “Midday on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black male, was walking down a small street in the middle of an apartment complex with a friend when they were approached by a white police officer. According to his friend, the closest witness to the afternoon’s events, the officer approached them in his SUV police vehicle, told them to ‘get the [expletive] off the sidewalk,’ which then escalated into a confrontation. After a struggle, the officer began to shoot the teen. Brown ran away, as he was hit by the officer’s bullets. The officer chased the teen on foot, and according to multiple witnesses, even after Michael Brown raised his hands to surrender and begged the officer not to shoot, the officer continued to fire. No witness reported any orders given to Brown as these shots were fired.”
Nowhere in their testimony is there a hint that Brown and his friend had just committed a strong-arm robbery of a business establishment. Nowhere in their testimony do they speculate about their son’s state of mind… how he may have concluded that he and his friend were about to be arrested as suspects in a felony crime and, in an effort to avoid arrest, attacked and wounded a police officer. Nowhere in their testimony do they mention that their son was first shot in a struggle over the police officer’s handgun. Nowhere in their testimony do they mention that their son’s friend, Dorian Johnson, himself a fugitive from justice, may not be a credible witness. And nowhere in their testimony do they suggest that the officer told the boys to “get the [expletive] off the street.” Instead, they testified that the officer told the boys to “get the [expletive] off the sidewalk.”
The Browns testified that, “The teenager was hit by at least six shots, according to an autopsy performed by a pathologist not affiliated with the government. The autopsy further revealed that the final shots included one that entered his eye, and another at the top of the head, which may have indicated his head was lowered as he collapsed or kneeled to surrender. The intentional, arbitrary killing of Michael Brown, shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, amounts to torture under Article I of the Convention.”
Was the pathologist “not affiliated with the government,” an expert hired by the Brown family, a credible witness? And is it even within the realm of possibility that an experienced police officer would “execute” a teenager, in cold-blood, in broad daylight, as he knelt to surrender? Is it not more reasonable to conclude that Brown was shot in the top of his head at close range as he lowered his head to charge the officer?
But now the nation is threatened with a massive outbreak of violence if the St. Louis County grand jury refuses to indict Officer Wilson. The demonstrations and rioting that have followed the shooting are a blot on the black community. And if the grand jury concludes that Officer Wilson acted in self-defense, which they likely will, we can expect unprecedented violence in the streets where the black community in and around St. Louis will loot neighborhood business establishments and burn many homes to the ground.
Brown’s mother told a CNN reporter in an interview, “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice… We need answers and we need action.”
Justice? Answers? Action? These are not what the professional race hustlers want. What they want is revenge, not justice. Nor are they going to like the answers they’re likely to get from the St. Louis County grand jury. And while the “action” they want is the indictment of Officer Wilson, the only “action” they will get is a lot of grief raining down on the heads of black people across the country as they loot and burn many of the businesses where they work, and burn their own neighborhoods to the ground.
And while we can all empathize with the Brown family for the loss of a son, Brown’s parents should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be so blatantly used and taken advantage of by professional race agitators, the attorney general of the United States included. But then, it’s not every day they’re treated to an all-expense-paid trip to Geneva.
If black people across the country are looking for something on which they can vent their anger and outrage, the killing of Michael Brown is a very poor choice. They would be better advised to take a closer look at Barack Obama’s Chicago, where black-on-black murders spiked to 516 in 2012, the second time homicides have surpassed 500 since 2003. And they might want to take a closer look at white liberals and Democrats who have raised their expectations to the skies and then did nothing of substance to help them achieve the promised social and economic progress.
At this writing, the St. Louis County grand jury has not handed down either an indictment of Officer Wilson, or a finding of self-defense. And while it is understandable that members of the grand jury, whose names and home addresses are almost certainly known throughout the black community, are afraid to hand down a ruling that would exonerate Officer Wilson, the obvious jury nullification debacle of the O.J. Simpson trial and the violence that occurred in South Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King police beating is still far too fresh in the minds of the American people. We are at a tipping point in race relations and we should all be very afraid.