The Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Proves 'The System' Still 'Works'

from the downhill-momentum dept

Many people may have hoped this would be one of those rare exceptions, but to anybody paying attention, the Ferguson grand jury's decision to give Officer Darren Wilson a pass on the shooting of Michael Brown was a foregone conclusion.

The road to the inevitable was unusual, however. Grand juries aren't there to decide guilt. They're only there to determine whether probable cause exists to hand down an indictment. This happens thousands of times a year all over the country, and it's a true rarity when indictments are not handed down.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
It's not a true comparison only in this respect: the above numbers are federal and this was handled by a state grand jury. But the numbers won't vary by much. Grand juries hear evidence provided by a prosecutor seeking an indictment. It is not an adversarial system.

And the system works -- if the system's designed to obtain indictments. That's what grand juries do best. As we covered here earlier this year, a grand jury in North Carolina showed the system is capable of racking up indictments at breakneck speed.
During a single four-hour workday last week, a Mecklenburg County grand jury heard 276 cases and handed down 276 indictments.

That means the 18 jurors heard evidence, asked questions, weighed whether the charges merit a trial, then voted on the indictments – all at the average rate of one case every 52 seconds.
That didn't happen here. The grand jury considered this case over a period of nearly three months. Hundred of pages of evidence and nearly 70 hours of testimony were considered. But the length of the process wasn't the only oddity. There was also the behavior of prosecutor Robert McCullough. Paul Cassell -- who's been acting as law enforcement's Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy -- maintains that everything about the Ferguson shooting grand jury was normal as normal could be, give or take a few months of deliberation. Defense attorney Jeff Gamso points out the flaws in Cassell's assertions.
Now, of course, we know that the grand jury did what we knew it would do. No, they said, we're not going to indict Wilson. And Cassell is back to assure us that they did their job properly and that there's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary that went on. Specifically, he says this:

"A day before the grand jury’s decision was announced, Michael Brown’s family attorney raised the objection that the grand jury process was unfair because it was deviation from the normal process. 'When you think about it, if this prosecutor is saying we’re just going to be fair, we’re not going to recommend any charges, that’s different from anything he’s done in his past 28 years with grand juries,' attorney Benjamin Crump argued. It turns out that at least part of this claim is untrue: McCulloch presented to the grand jury the full range of charges, from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. The only difference from normal process was, apparently, that the prosecutor did not make any particular recommendation — leaving the issue up to the grand jurors. But it is hard to understand how this had any ultimate bearing on the outcome. Of course, if McCulloch’s recommendation was against filing charges, then he would never have gone to the grand jury in a normal case. And if his recommendation was filing charges, then in the normal course a grand jury (or judge) would have had to review the evidence and would have been thrown out the indictment at the point."

Cassell makes the following points.

1. Benjamin Crump says that the prosecutor's behavior in this case was unusual because he didn't recommend any charges.

2. That's not true.

3. The only thing unusual is that the prosecutor didn't recommend any charges.
A prosecutor not recommending any particular charge is an oddity. Not only that, but McCulloch advised the grand jury that any doubt it held meant it must find in favor of Officer Wilson. That's something prosecutors seeking indictments never do. Prosecutors prosecute. Indictments are why they exist. Without these, they can't move forward on capital crimes. And yet, McCulloch apparently felt the non-adversarial setting wasn't predisposed enough in Wilson's favor. In this setting, McCulloch acted more as Wilson's defense attorney than the jurisdiction's prosecutor.

Indictments are easy. Probable cause is all the grand jury needs to move forward with an indictment. That's an extremely low bar. That's a cop telling you a dog said he can search your car (or your anal cavity) without a warrant -- and that a judge will back up his facially ridiculous assertion. Probable cause in the context of a grand jury is a hurdle that is generally cleared with little to no thought. (See also: the two statistics quoted in previous paragraphs.)

But the system still worked. It worked exactly as it has for years and years. For civilians, the odds are terrible. 11 cases out of 162,000 ended up with no indictment. For police officers, the numbers are the complete opposite.
A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that “police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings” in Houston and other large cities in recent years. In Harris County, Texas, for example, grand juries haven’t indicted a Houston police officer since 2004; in Dallas, grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment.
So, when the grand jury failed to return an indictment, the system still worked. The outcome was never seriously in doubt. When it's civilians, grand juries can "indict a ham sandwich." When it's law enforcement officers, it's this:
Remember, grand juries used to be indict a ham sandwich. Now they can’t indict white bread.
The Ferguson grand jury played its part in the process. It examined evidence presented by a prosecutor who wasn't interested in pursuing an indictment against his client Officer Wilson and did what grand juries do when faced with the possibility of indicting cops: it declined to do so. Average Americans can expect returned indictments at fast-food drive-in speeds. Police officers will get weeks of deliberation followed by a non-indictment. The system works as it always has.
Had the prosecution desired an indictment against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, the presentment would have taken an hour, maybe two, and there would have been a true bill by close of business the next day, well before Michael Brown had been laid to rest. The grand jury isn’t the venue to present “all the evidence.” That’s what trials are for. The grand jury serves a very limited function, to determine whether sufficient evidence exists so that there is probable cause to proceed to trial.

In Ferguson, the grand jury served a very different purpose. It was the mechanism by which the guardians of the status quo protect the American dream of an orderly society, where the appearance of challenge is preserved so that lazy and ignorant Americans can sleep well at night, secure in the belief that their officials and institutions are doing the job of protecting their comfort against the unsavory and the malcontents.
The end result is no surprise. There are factors that contribute to this, not the least of which being that police officers perform a job that sometimes requires the use of deadly force. Because of this, more leeway is given to police officers facing criminal charges. That prosecutors play for the same "team" as cops weighs into this non-indictment as well.

But everyone knew it would end up this way, even as they hoped it wouldn't. The extended deliberations were basically a show trial meant to show a watching nation how serious officials were working to have justice served -- without all the unpleasant, uncontrollable uncertainties an actual trial tends to bring with it. This is how the system works. Even if the decision gone the other way, the end result would likely be no different. Officer Wilson would be armed with a defense lawyer and still facing prosecutors lacking the desire to prosecute.

No one gained any ground as a result of this. We're still right where we were. And it can't be fixed by destroying Officer Wilson or turning Michael Brown into a martyr. This sort of thing happens far too often to be repaired by simplistic measures. The system is imbalanced and cannot be righted by tipping the scale in the opposite direction and hoping it all averages out. There's a greater cry for accountability that's now being belatedly answered as law enforcement agencies are making more of an effort to work with community leaders and equip officers with recording devices. Unfortunately, most of this is driven by reactions to massive amounts of police misconduct rather than by proactive efforts. But, beyond all of that, the justice system's extreme deference to law enforcement continues to trip up installed corrective measures by allowing it to set the tone and the rules of engagement.

Filed Under: darren wilson, ferguson, grand jury, indictment, michael brown, missouri, paul cassell, police, police brutality, robert mccullough


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 11:51am

    Worth noting...

    ...is that an indictment is not a conviction. An indictment merely indicates that sufficient evidence has been presented by the state to suggest to a reasonable observer that it's WORTH going to trial. It is at trial that both sides present their cases and, we hope, the truth emerges.

    I've been reading the 4,799 pages of the proceedings. (I've already read the autopsy reports and numerous unofficial statements.) I think there's probable cause, which is NOT the same thing as saying that I think Darren Wilson murdered Mike Brown. I certainly think he might have, as there is evidence supporting that conjecture. I also think he might not have, as there is evidence supporting that conjecture.

    And it's that first "might" that is sufficient reason to indict and try the case.

    Incidentally, an observation: the Ferguson PD were VERY sloppy with their investigative and evidence handling procedures. For example: nobody seems to know what the full chain of custody for Wilson's gun is. That's terrible police work. If that's their SOP, then any decent defense attorney should be able to shred that portion of their cases concerning firearms.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:11pm

      Re: Worth noting...

      except that "might" does not equal probable cause.......

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      • identicon
        Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Worth noting...

        There's a lot of evidence saying he did it. There's also some saying he didn't. He might have done it, and the evidence for that side constitutes probable cause. Then we go to trial and he has to be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

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        • identicon
          PotterE, 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Worth noting...

          And thus the purpose of a jury. They would be the actual trier of facts, the decider of the facts in evidence. To say that the Grand Jury could do this without an opposing side disputing interpretation of said facts is a fallacy. The Grand Jury is only to decide if there cause for a trial. Facts in dispute. Anyone who doesn't think there were facts in dispute is biased beyond a reasonable doubt.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Worth noting...

            Facts in dispute.

            Material facts in dispute is a summary judgment standard. But it's not the grand jury standard. The job of a jury, whether grand or petit, is to find facts.

            The first fact the jury needs comes out of the dawn of our system: The jury needs someone willing to come before them and say, in effect, at least:
            “I swear before God and man that the accused is guilty.”
            That testimony is a fact. In ancient times, all you might need was enough people saying that.

            But now, the modern job of a jury is to find out whether there are any additional facts to back up the accuser. Or whether it's just some deranged lunatic making a baseless charge that can't be proved.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:35pm

        Probable Cause to Indict [was Re: Re: Worth noting...]

        except that "might" does not equal probable cause.......

        Operationally, when a grand jury considers an indictment, the question must be whether or not they have seen sufficient evidence to form a good-faith belief that the trial jury can convict. The grand jury, in its consideration of that question, knows that the prosecution will be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt before the trial jury.

        If the grand jury doesn't consider whether the trial jury can convict, then the system is susceptible to abuse of process.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Probable Cause to Indict [was Re: Re: Worth noting...]

          ... consider whether the trial jury can convict...

          Sorry to follow up on myself, but I possibly misstated this, and I want to clarify.

          I probably should have written that the grand jury must form a good faith belief that the trial jury probably will convict. Not just “can”, but “probably will convict.”

          The reason I wrote it as “can” originally, and say now that I only possibly may have misstated the level at which the grand jury must form a good-faith belief... well, a grand juror must know that they're seeing a slanted view. How do you form a good-faith belief that the trial jury “probably will” convict when you absolutely know that you're only hearing the prosecutor's side of the story? Thus, I wrote “can convict” instead of “probably will convict”.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 11:57am

    Grand Jury Documents

    Ferguson shooting grand jury documents from AP:
    The Associated Press has obtained a copy of the testimony and evidence presented to the grand jury that declined to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown....


    Or, alternatively, grand documents are also available from the Washington Post.

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  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:02pm

    A grand jury could probably indict a ham sandwich.
    Shame Darren Wilson isn't a ham sandwich.

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  • identicon
    PRMan, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:06pm

    280 lb man charging at a cop

    Numerous witnesses (white and black) report that Michael Brown was charging toward the officer when he was shot 150 feet away from the vehicle.

    With that kind of evidence from numerous eyewitnesses (and ballistics evidence consistent with that account), there is really no reason to go to trial. If you don't want to get shot, don't attack cops physically.

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    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:15pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      [citation needed]

      Darren Wilson also contends this. However, the fact that his story is composed of 95% Grade A BS, with a dog turd topping, makes me suspicious of his claims and anyone who repeats them.
      Oh, and here's MY evidence:
      http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7281165/darren-wilsons-story-side

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:44pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        Please be advised... no matter how stupid and unbelievable events may seem... shit like that happens everyday.

        Nothing in that account makes it unbelievable for me, stupid yes, but unbelievable no.

        Unfortunately for us, we may never see the truth of the matter, however, true or not... stupid shit like that happens and unbelievable number of times and for the dumbest reasons you can think of.

        And yes... I would completely believe a fresh thief would talk trash or antagonize a cop greatly increasing their chances of being caught because I have literally witnessed this level of stupidity with my very own eyes.

        People are stupid... look at who our last 2 Presidents have been and tell me people are not stupid!

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

          "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." -- George Carlin

          (While I love this quote, I can't use it without acknowledging his error in confusing "average" with "median".)

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

            ... error in confusing "average" with "median".
            Get over it.

            Wikipedia: Average
            However, the word "average" can be used to refer to the median, the mode, or some other central or typical value. In statistics, these are all known as measures of central tendency.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:46pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        Wilson's story is quite credible. However, the vox version of the story is nothing but pure spin, 100% BS. Wilson did what he had to do and if anything deserves praise for dealing with a difficult situation and coming out alive!

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:08pm

          Wilson's credibility?

          Exactly what leads you to this conclusion?

          He's a cop and cops are sworn to tell the truth in a deposition?

          Do you think it is possible that people lie? Do you think that it's possible that Brown did NOT act like a mutant werewolf on angel-dust, especially considering that there was no PCP or similar drugs in the toxicology report?

          People really want to believe that our justice system works, that the nice white cop who carries the gun is an upstanding professional, and that the black guy who got shot somehow deserved it. Especially given the notion that a justice system that doesn't work is outright distasteful and makes us ponder our own safety.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 3:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

          look at the dirty cop backing the murderous cop.

          Any wonder the population hates you

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        Did you decide that from the Grand Jury transcripts or from media outlets with an obvious agenda? Just curious.

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    • identicon
      Citizen, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:37pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      It does seem like there's evidence that Brown initially assaulted Wilson, maybe including attempting to take his gun, and was continuing the confrontation, as opposed to running away.

      The system is flawed in many ways, and there are far too many examples of law enforcement using disproportionate force. But making this victim, who clearly demonstrated violent behavior, the poster boy for the fight against police brutality, doesn't serve it as well as other cases. There are clearer examples where police have needlessly used lethal force when confronted by a man with a rake, or a child with a toy gun, or other circumstances where the victim was stationary and all the police had to do was maintain cover or a safe distance if they didn't have access to a Tazer or other non-lethal weapons. Those are the ones that unequivocally demonstrate abuse of power. Where citing this case as the example leaves an opportunity to undermine that argument.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        Look at any video of how law enforcement is handled across the globe and you'll find that the US is the absolute worst.

        Here's a fine comparison between Brazil and the US:

        http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/11/wis_swat_team_kill_tiny_dog_after_being_called_to _settle_dispute_dek.html

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ebbs5UmHho

        When a country with the 2nd highest homicide rate in the world is doing better policing than your own, you know something is wrong!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:04pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        I agree with you. It's a shame that the Brown incident was the one which lit the powder keg when there are so many better, less ambiguous examples of criminal police behavior which would have served the cause much better.

        The keg very much needed to be lit, but by doing it this way we're getting division across the country instead of unity. What we needed was one of the many examples that had been recorded. What we got instead were unreliable eye witness accounts.

        It's too bad really because this energy could have been the catalyst for real reform, and instead will just divide us further.

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        • identicon
          Citizen, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

          Right, (though I'm not sure it needs to be a powder keg as much as legislation of saner police guidelines and its enforcement).

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

            saner police guidelines and its enforcement

            Which, if history is any guide, will not materialize without a powder keg getting lit.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

            Yes, thank you! That's the thing that the people instigating all this don't understand. When you try to turn a violent thug into a martyr, it does not improve things no matter which way things turn out. It didn't work with Trayvon Martin, and it doesn't work now. Yes, there are some problems with policing in this country, but the people trying to call attention to it are exacerbating the problems instead of trying to fix them in a civilized way!

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

              When you try to turn a violent thug into a martyr

              ... who's trying to portray the cop as a martyr?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 3:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

              instead, you turn a murdering cop into your hero.

              Disgusting PIG

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:17pm

                If Wilson's story is true, he IS a hero.

                On the supposition that what Wilson said is absolutely true, and Brown really did hulk out and turn into some authority-defying, cop pugilizing, gunfire-daring monster, then that would make him a hero for taking down a rabid thug-monster-animal-beast-thing.

                Officer Wilson should get a medal.

                Officer Wilson should be commended for his just neutralization of a clear menace to society.

                Officer Wilson should be returned immediately to duty on the streets of Ferguson. All the people there will undoubtedly feel safer walking their sidewalks (being sure to stay on the sidewalks knowing that Officer Wilson is on the job, there to protect them.

                I'm sure Officer Wilson will be well received on the streets of Ferguson. What a hero.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:01pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      There's audio evidence (with some video not aimed at the actual murder) of a witness shouting at Wilson "He had his ****ing hands up".

      Plus, one of the so called anonymous 'witnesses' that the media gave a lot of attention to for defending Wilson wasn't actually there, which raises serious questions about it's credibility.

      That being said, a grand jury is NOT the case where you decide if someone is guilty or not. If there's conflicting witnesses and evidence you indict the person, and let the judge and jury figure out the truth at trial. You do not need a 100% rock solid case where there's zero doubt once so ever that the defendant is guilty in order to indict them.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        Because poor 'minorities' of dubious character have never blatantly lied to police officers, and certainly not when one of "they homiez" was just shot in the commission of an attempted murder.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

          Come on now. You might as well use the n-word here! Holding some witnesses to a higher standard than others based on some being homiez is problematic in itself.

          You using this kind of prejudice to make a judgement would actually be a good argument for getting it tried in court.

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    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:10pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      "Numerous witnesses (white and black) report that Michael Brown was charging toward the officer when he was shot 150 feet away from the vehicle."

      This ignores the ENTIRE POST YOU'RE COMMENTING UPON. The process by which grand juries work almost all the time is commonly altered when a policeman is the one facing potential charges. What you're stating is evidence that should ONLY be presented at trial, not in a grand jury setting. Grand jury settings are a one-sided account by the prosecutor SOLELY of the reasons why an indictment SHOULD be handed down, not why one should NOT. If you'd read the post, you'd know this.

      "With that kind of evidence from numerous eyewitnesses (and ballistics evidence consistent with that account), there is really no reason to go to trial. If you don't want to get shot, don't attack cops physically."

      Interesting thought. So is it any person who charges at a cop that should be shot at 12 different times while the shooter gets not even a trial to determine the veracity of his claims or of the worthiness of the testimony and evidence? Or is it only people who weight 280+ lbs? Or only 280+ lbs black men under a certain age? Or maybe they have to have committed a crime recently?

      Or might it JUST BE POSSIBLE that we expect police officers to be able to deal with criminals in a manner other than double-digit bullet-expenditures aimed at the head?

      Naaaaaaaaaah....

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:08pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      1. There's a reason we separate the functions of investigation and arrest (police) from trial and sentencing (judiciary). Police officers should not be judge, jury and executioner: they aren't trained for it, they aren't empowered to do it, and societies that allow them to be turn out to be horrible.

      2. Let's presume that your contention is correct -- even though it's contradicted by the evidence. A 280-lb man charges from 150 feet away. How long will it take him to cover that distance? A superb athlete in peak condition (e.g., a young NFL lineman whose body hasn't taken too many years of wear and tear yet) will take about 6 seconds to cover that distance. A normal human being will take considerably more. There was plenty of time for Darren Wilson to put his car in gear and drive away, ending the possibility of danger to himself and avoiding the need to discharge his weapon in the middle of the day in a residential area.

      He could then have then called for backup and returned, if he felt it necessary/desirable.

      This wasn't about his safety. This was about ego. Racist bully Wilson (yes, both of those terms have been substantiated by his past behavior and his ties to the KKK) issued an order and got some sass back, so he started the altercation. (Surely you don't think Mike Brown randomly decided to go after an armed cop for no reason.) Then he found himself confronted by someone who wouldn't be bullied, he got scared, and he shot Brown, not just enough times to end any possibility of danger to himself, but to kill him. (Note autopsy report on the location and angle of the fatal shot.)

      This is the frequent pattern: racist bully cop provokes a reaction, then whines like a little mewling coward: "but I was in feeeeaaaaaaar for my life" to justify executing a citizen. Again. Just like the pigs that shot a 12 year old boy in Cleveland this week. "Ooooooh we were scared!!"

      If you're that much of a coward, then don't be a cop. If you're afraid to take a bullet, then don't be a cop. If you're afraid to get in a fight, then don't be a cop.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 11:35pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        " There was plenty of time for Darren Wilson to put his car in gear and drive away, ending the possibility of danger to himself and avoiding the need to discharge his weapon in the middle of the day in a residential area.

        He could then have then called for backup and returned, if he felt it necessary/desirable."

        It doesn't work like that.

        Law enforcement use a kind of ladder, in lack of a better word, for force used. For example you start with words then commands then non lethal force and if all else fails lethal force. This is where the ladder comes in, you can only go upwards. After having pulled your gun you do not suddenly go back to asking nicely.

        In the scenario above you have already gone too far up the ladder to just get back in the car and drive away.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:47am

          Re: Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

          "In the scenario above you have already gone too far up the ladder to just get back in the car and drive away."

          Sure, if you're the kind of bullying moron that Darren Wilson has turned out to be. If your ego is tied up in your gun and you feel the need to execute an citizen to show your power and defend your tiny white racist dick, then yeah, you need to blow away a citizen with a mob-style killshot to the head, stand over his body like a predator over his prey, and then lie, lie, lie about it afterwards.

          But if you actually have a functioning brain and you actually take your oath of service seriously, then you should be able to realize that the fastest and easiest way to defuse a potentially lethal situation like this without discharging your weapon in the middle of a residential area in the middle of a day is to stand down.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

        his ties to the KKK


        [citation needed]

        I ran a search on this and could only find evidence of klansmen changing their profile pictures and making "I am Darren Wilson" statements. I saw no evidence that Wilson himself was/is a klansmen.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 5:14pm

      Re: 280 lb man charging at a cop

      There were also numerous witnesses who said otherwise...that's why a trial was needed in this instance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:08pm

    True enough in most cases. Grand Juries are typically empanelled to indict where the prosecutor feels it's a good case. All police involved shootings, however, are presented to a Grand Jury, regardless of whether there is any indication of wrongdoing or not. You really don't want to indict and criminally try every cop involved in a shooting do you? Or maybe you do....??

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      We already indict and criminally try every civilian involved in a shooting, so why should cops be exempt?

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      • identicon
        Paul Bailey, 26 Nov 2014 @ 3:12pm

        Re: Re:

        The assessment that "[w]e already indict and criminally try EVERY civilian involved in a shooting," (emphasis added) is incorrect. I have seen numerous examples on at least a monthly basis of civilians who used a firearm in self defense that were not indicted or tried in a court of law.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Grand Jury Intubation

    If you attack a police office, expect to get shot at best and die at worst, period.

    Post quote: "In this setting, McCulloch acted more as Wilson's defense attorney than the jurisdiction's prosecutor."

    This Grand Jury was forced down the DA's throat by the "injustice" crowd, not by any lawful process.

    You can't reasonably argue that ANYONE who attacks a store clerk, is reported to police who issued a BOLO and then attacks an armed police officer while resisting arrest for the BOLO to not get shot. That's reality, not some PC fantasy where things are twisted into the current mess.

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    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Grand Jury Intubation

      "while resisting arrest for the BOLO"
      Except, y'know, Darren Wilson claimed he didn't know that Brown was a robbery suspect... and his various other claims have been called into question...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re: Grand Jury Intubation

        The BOLO was released prior to any contact between Brown & Wilson. Clearly, Brown knew he had just robbed the store, so it's logical to argue that Brown suspected the office knew of the robbery.

        Brown was defiant and combative based on multiple witnesses via McCulloch's press conference yesterday.
        PBS's post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuupBHUGbYo

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Grand Jury Intubation

      Exactly. Why are we complaining about it being a "show trial," when the entire thing was all for show in the first place?

      The "injustice" crowd (goodname for them) failed to get the race riot they were trying for in the Trayvon Martin case, so now they're trying again. This grand jury hearing wasn't for the benefit of smart people like the author here, who understand the law; it was a bit of political theatre to clearly consider the evidence and show the agitators that they have no case.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:27pm

      Re: Grand Jury Intubation

      You don't have to be do anything 'threatening' to get killed by the police and there is more than enough evidence to support this fact.

      Your best course of action in this day an age is to avoid the police as if you would avoid a bad neighborhood.

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 26 Nov 2014 @ 2:30pm

      Re: Grand Jury Intubation

      Except that watching the full video of the store encounter it appears that Michael Brown paid for some cigarillos at the counter, didn't have enough money, attempted to return the extra cigarillos he couldn't afford, and was assaulted by the store owner (grabbed) as he reached over the counter to return them. He didn't shove the clerk until after he was assaulted. Maybe this is something that would have been debated during Wilson's trial, or Brown's trial if he had survived.

      And just maybe he might have been on edge after having already been assaulted once when facing a second assault by officer later that same evening. Maybe if he had been the one with a gun he would have been justified in shooting Wilson eleven times out of fear for his safety. Or does being 280 lbs, black, and poor automatically make a person a violent criminal no matter what evidence appears to show otherwise.

      Maybe this is another case of black people are looters, white people are finders.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:26pm

    If you attack a police office, expect to get shot at best and die at worst, period.

    haha, really? That's what the trial was meant to determine. You know, the one that never happened.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      Innocent until proven guilty.

      You got "proof" that M. Brown didn't attack the officer? Put it out there...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re:

        You got "proof" that M. Brown didn't attack the officer? Put it out there...


        haha, really? That's what the trial was meant to determine. You know, the one that never happened.

        /facepalm

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Never happened" because "no probable cause" for one was established genius. Thankfully, we all don't live your riddled brain of ignorance.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Never happened" because "no probable cause" for one was established

            The probable cause would be a dead man with conflicting eyewitness accounts for how man got dead. This is the bar for probable cause with which every citizen of this country is measured against.

            Why do you believe that a police officer's actions should warrant a different measuring stick?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The probable cause would be a dead man with conflicting eyewitness accounts for how man got dead.

              Stop. You're saying that a trial jury can convict based on nothing more than a dead body and conflicting accounts?

              In the grand jury, the standard of probable cause must be based on how the grand jury predicts the trial jury is going to react to the evidence.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Stop. You're saying that a trial jury can convict based on nothing more than a dead body and conflicting accounts?

                I said no such thing. The trial jury hears arguments and weighs evidence in order to reach a verdict. To get that far you need probable cause that a trial is needed, which is an extremely low bar to meet. A dead body and conflicting reports on how the body came to be dead more than meets that bar.
                In the grand jury, the standard of probable cause must be based on how the grand jury predicts the trial jury is going to react to the evidence.

                The grand jury does not have a crystal ball so they set the bar for indictments so low that ham sandwiches have been known to make it to trial. That's levity of course, but i think (hope) you get the point.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:55pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  ... they set the bar for indictments so low that ham sandwiches have been known to make it to trial.

                  Was the ham sadwich convicted?

                  It is an abuse and an outrage to drag a defendant to trial without an honest belief in obtaining a conviction.

                  If the end in bringing the defendant to trial is nothing more than the satisfaction of jail before bail, and to waste his resources on attorneys and costs before his eventual acquittal—that is a wrongful end.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:01pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    It is an abuse and an outrage to drag a defendant to trial without an honest belief in obtaining a conviction. If the end in bringing the defendant to trial is nothing more than the satisfaction of jail before bail, and to waste his resources on attorneys and costs before his eventual acquittal—that is a wrongful end.

                    Agreed, the whole system needs to be rethought. In the mean time however let's treat everyone - police and citizens - equally.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:07pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      In the mean time however let's treat everyone - police and citizens - equally.

                      The fact that some grand juries —elsewhere, or in the past, or even in the future— may be less than conscientious in honoring their oaths and obligations does not relieve any other individual grand juror from his own oath and duty.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:20pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        The fact that some grand juries —elsewhere, or in the past, or even in the future— may be less than conscientious in honoring their oaths and obligations does not relieve any other individual grand juror from his own oath and duty.

                        Uh no, what happened in this case is that the police officer got special treatment.--Treatment a citizen can neither expect nor receive. It is not the job of the grand jury to determine guilt or innocence, merely whether a trial is in order. Because the officer in question got special treatment from the grand jury the entire procedure was a kangaroo court farce that needs to be set aside and redone in the same manner it would be done for anyone else.

                        You can talk of oaths and obligations all you want but they are meaningless in this circumstance and until and unless this police officer is treated equally justice will never be served.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I don't believe there is or should be a difference however evidence shows that the killing was in self defense.

              There might still be a trial but I am sure the evidence that is available will show that the officer acted in self defense and so he should not be charged with a crime.

              It would be better for America to use a different case for proving police brutality and killing. Several incidents have happened in the past and I am sure more will happen in the future. This case is not one of them however.

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              • icon
                Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:05pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I don't believe there is or should be a difference however evidence shows that the killing was in self defense."

                People REALLY need to stop saying this. The entire point of the post is that our entire system is built on the idea that no evidence is valid evidence until it is put through an adversarial trial. You MIGHT mean to say that there isn't enough evidence to proceed to trial, but that isn't the same thing. What was released by the prosecutor was a naked evidence dump that has no context, not contests against it, and has gone through no adversarial process.

                As far as the law is concerned, it's meaningless in terms of assigning guilt or innocence to anyone at all....

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                There might still be a trial but I am sure the evidence that is available will show that the officer acted in self defense and so he should not be charged with a crime.

                No offense intended, but your assurances of what the evidence will show are worthless.

                It would be better for America to use a different case for proving police brutality and killing. Several incidents have happened in the past and I am sure more will happen in the future.

                I agree whole-heartily.

                This case is not one of them however.

                Let's let a jury determine that, shall we.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              because he is a dirty cop sticking up for another durty cop

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re:

        The man who is dead is "guilty" by your estimation and the man who is alive and killed him is "innocent" by your estimation.

        What we have here is a death of one man precipitated by another. What we do NOT know is who is guilty (if anyone is guilty) of what.

        If you want "innocent until proven guilty" then this must be applied to both men not just the one who actually survived.

        From the various presentations already given, one suspects that there is much more to the story than either side is giving or willing to give. However, we'll never actually know now.

        The ones who seem most honourable here are the family.

        The final point is that when one is given authority to do something, that person should be (must be) held to a much higher standard than those who are not in authority and should (must) be under much higher scrutiny by everyone. In the case here, it is quite obvious that the police officer in question is being placed in a position of much lower standard and much less scrutiny.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Out of 400 cases in the past 2 years involving 'police murdering unarmed civilians', only 15 officers have been convicted while most are still serving, even repeat offenders.

    Their badges pretty much grants them a license to kill and steal with very little repercussions.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:39pm

    10 Goto 20 . Benjamin Crump says that the prosecutor's behavior in this case was unusual because he didn't recommend any charges.

    20 Goto 30. That's not true.

    30 Goto 10. The only thing unusual is that the prosecutor didn't recommend any charges.

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  • identicon
    wec, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:40pm

    I know there must be evidence for and against the policeman. The problem I have with the Grand Jury system is that the prosecutor in 'civilian' cases would not put forth any evidence that might counter his evidence against the accused while in the 'Policeman' case both sides are presented which now makes it not Grand Jury but a jury deciding guilt or innocence.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      ...the Grand Jury system... ... the prosecutor...

      Shouldn't the grand jury also consider it relevant if the prosecutor really doesn't want to convict?

      Say the prosecutor brings a case before the grand jury, and the undertone is that he doesn't really want to try the case, or convict the defendant, but feels political pressure to do so anyhow. Shouldn't the grand jury take that political fact into account?

      Because, if the case does go to trial, and the prosecutor does a half-assed job in front of the trial jury, then that trial jury probably won't convict.

      If the trial jury probably won't convict, then it's an abuse to put the defendant throught the wringer of a trial.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Re:

        If the prosecution appears to lack the desire for a conviction, that's a sign that they need a different prosecutor, not a sign that no trial is needed.

        The entire job of the prosecution is to get a conviction, it's up to the defense to argue against that. A prosecutor arguing against a conviction is one showing a conflict of interest, indicating that they should be removed from the case.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:46pm

    I had higher standards for Techdirt before =\ this is sad.

    *Maybe* the reason LE is indicted less often is they have documentation, evidence, a duty to act, and training in all sorts of things like... the law.. legal use of force, and courtroom testimony. "Normal" people don't generally have those things, and have a bigger hurdle to jump to justify their actions without them.

    How bout instead of leaping to conclusions we look at the facts a bit more, that are just now being published. To me it seems reasonable that *maybe* cops are indicted less, not because they are cops, but because their actions are obviously and provably justifiable.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      "*Maybe* the reason LE is indicted less often is they have documentation, evidence, a duty to act, and training in all sorts of things like... the law.. legal use of force, and courtroom testimony. "Normal" people don't generally have those things, and have a bigger hurdle to jump to justify their actions without them."

      This statement is quite likely, but not the way you're arguing when you conclude: "because their actions are obviously and provably justifiable."

      Police officers write their documentation, are able to manufacture or suppress evidence as needed, are trained in how investigations work so they know the angles like how to avoid looking culpable, they know the law so they know what they can get away with, they know the prosecutors because they held them obtain convictions (and maybe even asset forfeitures...), they have lawyers who don't want to get on the bad side of cops they have to work with, politicians who don't want to seem soft on crime, and judges who used to be lawyers who didn't want to get on the bad side of cops, etc. etc.

      The deck is stacked in favor of cops. The justice system is built with an unspoken assumption that police officers are honest and honorable. When the ethics panels finally get around to kicking cops off the force for illegal activity, it's usually after the cop has been reprimanded and investigated and reviewed many times over and their list of injustices are often long and unprosecuted unless you can find a DA who wants to look hard on bad cops.

      Cops are human beings, subject to the same personality and character flaws as the rest of us. Your conclusion would require cops to suddenly become saints simply by becoming cops or else assume that only saints become cops and law enforcement hiring practices magically weed out unethical people.

      My brother-in-law is a pot-smoking, drunk-driving cop who offered me a beer in his own car while he was driving me around.

      My uncle was a racist cop in Texas who liked to beat black people for fun and brags about it to this day.

      Neither have ever faced charges. But, you know, maybe you're right. It's probably "because their actions are obviously and provably justifiable."

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re:

        "The deck is stacked in favor of cops. The justice system is built with an unspoken assumption that police officers are honest and honorable. When the ethics panels finally get around to kicking cops off the force for illegal activity, it's usually after the cop has been reprimanded and investigated and reviewed many times over and their list of injustices are often long and unprosecuted unless you can find a DA who wants to look hard on bad cops."

        Police who snitch on their colleges are made into national examples. Such is the case with Chris Dorner when he attempted to expose the corruption of the LA police. The public may have forgotten that by now, but law enforcement across the nation has made him in to a prime example of what happens when you snitch...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      *Maybe* the reason LE is indicted less often is they have documentation, evidence, a duty to act, and training in all sorts of things like... the law.. legal use of force, and courtroom testimony.
      Hah, good one, have a funny vote.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      To me it seems reasonable that *maybe* cops are indicted less, not because they are cops, but because their actions are obviously and provably justifiable.

      Provably justifiable? You mean like provable in a court of law via a trial?

      Too bad you can't quantify that statement with anything other than your opinion.

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  • identicon
    Hay Market Revisited, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Nothing burns down by it's self

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gzyd3u1Jh0

    It is starting, people remember what happened in Montgomery Alabama so many years ago, and see that nothing has changed, that the aristocratic are moving faster and faster to knights who's only purpose is to violate and harm people.

    from Seattle to ows to here things are going to get more violent count on it, America is one of the most armed societies in the world and people are getting very sick of the occupying armies.

    The reports I saw from last night was 150 shots fired, they will get more accurate and more pervasive, LA had unrest to yesterday, probably other places people are starting to be clear who their enemy is and it's not Al-Qaeda.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:55pm

    70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

    Not mentioned here, the prosecutor's bias was so well known that 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor to be put on the case.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/petition-against-prosecutor-ferguson-ca se-has-70-000-signatures-n186036

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:00pm

      Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

      Ferguson population is only 20K. I've see dozens of times people will sign any petition you set in front of them. Meaningless.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

        The police were even ordered from the federal government to cease all activity in blocking the press and within an hour of that order that arrested another member of the press...They just don't give a shit.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

          The federal government had neither any business nor jurisdiction in this matter.

          Their attempts to manipulate the grand jury and surrounding process were simply a cynically jaded attempt by an incompetent president to curry favour with the black demographic which is growing increasingly dissatisfied with his blatantly destructive policies.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

            Oh fuck off you racist POS.

            Anyone in their right mind knows that this is a 'class war' and not 'race war'.

            Are you really challenging me to exposing the PLETHORA of instances?

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            • identicon
              Mason Wheeler, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

              And so it begins. Before you go accusing people of racism, ask yourself one simple question.

              If Michael Brown had done exactly what he did, and gotten killed for it exactly the way he did, but he was white, do you honestly believe that any of this media circus would have happened?

              When's the last time you heard about anything like this happening in response to some stupid white thug attacking a policeman and getting what was coming to him? Because I can't think of a single such incident.

              There are really only two possible conclusions to draw from that. Either this is something that black people do and white people don't--which I don't believe for a second; stupidity and thuggery exist in all races--or these supposedly anti-racist crusaders are blatantly treating the same situation very differently depending on the race of the person involved. (Don't we have a word for that?)

              And just to build insanity upon insanity, when anyone dares to point this out and actually advocate for people to truly be treated equally regardless of race, he runs a pretty high risk of being labeled a racist for it!

              Just think about that for a moment...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 70,000+ Ferguson residents signed a petition asking for a different prosecutor

            The federal government had neither any business nor jurisdiction in this matter.

            Amendment XIV
            Section 5.

            The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

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  • icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Perhaps Michael Brown's family should have instilled in Michael that stealing a carton of cigarettes and then assaulting the store owner when the owner tried to stop him from leaving with the unpaid merchandise and then walking down the middle of a street, placing the lives of motorists at risk and refusing to listen to the commands of a police officer, then Michael Brown would not have lost his life.

    Once a thug, always a thug.

    The grand jury did the right thing.

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    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      kenichi : once an idiot, always an idiot...

      shoe pinching on the other foot, dingleberry ? ? ?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      So what you're saying is that his alleged behavior is his family's fault because they didn't do enough instilling?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      Remember that the next time you're waling down the street and are executed on the spot:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLiAWdq9pf0

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      "Perhaps Michael Brown's family should have instilled in Michael that stealing a carton of cigarettes and then assaulting the store owner when the owner tried to stop him from leaving with the unpaid merchandise and then walking down the middle of a street, placing the lives of motorists at risk and refusing to listen to the commands of a police officer, then Michael Brown would not have lost his life."

      Your comment suggests that these crimes are punishable by death at the hands of a policeman in the street. In which case you're a fucking idiot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Hay Market Revisted, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:25pm

        Re: Re:

        "Your comment suggests that these crimes are punishable by death at the hands of a policeman in the street. In which case you're a fucking idiot."

        Cops are worse than Pinkertons they are mercenaries period, there are no exceptions, they are state endorsed Pinkertons, worse than mafia enforcers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mason Wheeler, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:30pm

        Re: Re:

        OK, let's be a bit more specific. Perhaps Michael Brown's family should have instilled in Michael that physically assaulting a person who is capable of killing you is a crime punishable by death, because under US law, it is punishable by immediate summary execution, with no trial and no appeal.

        Of course, we don't generally call it that; we call it self-defense. But it's the law, and it's equally applicable whether or not the assault victim is a police officer.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ... unless the person physically assaulting you is a cop, in which case you're screwed.

          You either lie there and take it, and hope you don't end up in the hospital or morgue, or try and defend yourself, and almost certainly end up in the hospital and jail, assuming you're not killed on the spot for making the 'officer' 'fear for his life'.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, it's really quite something. Police can do whatever they want in any situation with almost total impunity, and if you try to defend yourself against a police action you're basically writing your own death warrant.

            With liberty and justice for all.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:02am

        Re: Re:

        He wasn't punished for his thievery. He was punished for the crime of assault against another human being with deadly intent in the moment. If you don't see how reaching for a gun is anything else, then you're the fucking idiot. I won't defend a thug because the color of his skin matches the color of my flag. You disgust me.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh wow, awesome! Hey everyone, this Anonymous Coward on the internet was there, he saw everything, he knows exactly what happened, and we can all take his word on it! No need for a trial, what a relief, thanks Anonymous Coward!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:29pm

      Re:

      Since there has been presentation that this is not the sequence of events, maybe you should take a leaf out of the book of justice - innocent until proven guilty.

      You are demonstrating that you are willing to be judge, jury and executioner without considering the actual evidence. There has been much hearsay (particularly by the law enforcement side). I have served as a juror for a murder case and from what I've seen so far, the law enforcement have acted in a manner that would indicate that they are hiding crucial evidence.

      At this time, there are two men who are being put on public trial, one whom is dead and one whom is alive and killed the other (of which there is no dispute). Who is guilty of what is unknown and both should be considered "innocent until proven guilty". However the actions by the law enforcement groups and the prosecutor are saying that the young black man is innocent with the law enforcement officer being guilty of murder.

      This is unfortunate because we will never know the real facts of this event now. Even if they changed their minds and placed the police officer on trial, there has been so much said and done that an unbiased jury would not be able to be found.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:29pm

    Michael Brown got what he deserved. Like my dad would always say: "karma is a bitch".

    Fact is, Michael Brown robbed a store and assaulted the store owner. Of course, liberals will cry about it and blame the store owner for getting robbed. I have no sympathy for Michael brown or his family because he obviously wasn't brought up and taught right from wrong. Just because someone has something you want doesn't mean you can take it without paying for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      I have no sympathy for Michael brown or his family because he obviously wasn't brought up and taught right from wrong.

      If the reason he died the way he did was because of the way he was brought up, then he's a victim and you should have sympathy for him. He never had a chance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      So again, let's just be clear: robbing a store is punishable by death?

      Here's hoping you run across your own Darren Wilson soon....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Panda, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:02pm

        Re: Re:

        Lets *actually* be clear here. He was not killed because he robbed a store. He was killed because he assaulted a cop by punching him repeatedly in the face, and attempting to take his weapon. He then charged the cop while reaching to his waistband.

        People keep calling Brown a "kid", but seem to forget he's 6'5" and 290 pounds. That is a BIG guy no matter what age... I would say he had two options, A: shoot, and go home at the end of the day.. or B: go hands on, probably lose, get beaten unconscious and shot with his own gun (Brown already tried to take it away)..

        So you go ahead process that in a couple seconds (probably less) and make your decision

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He was killed because he assaulted a cop by punching him repeatedly in the face, and attempting to take his weapon. He then charged the cop while reaching to his waistband."

          You don't know that, SPECIFICALLY because that testimony was never challenged at trial. Until it has been, that testimony is untested and invalid as a matter of determining guilt or innocence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          He was killed because he assaulted a cop by punching him repeatedly in the face, and attempting to take his weapon.

          Yeah, gonna need a [CITATION NEEDED] on that one, given the 'evidence'(an X-ray) that showed damage to the face was exposed as fraudulent, and there were apparently witnesses that stated that the officer just stood around for a few minutes after he'd killed the guy, with no apparent damage.

          Also, if he was really taking a beating like that, funny he never got it checked out at a hospital or something, and(and here's the really damning part), never filed an incident report.

          Got beat to the point where he feared for his life and had to kill someone, and yet never bothered to report it or get his injuries checked out? Yeah, that's not strange or suspicious. /s

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, how about that, it seems he might have gone to get his 'injuries' checked out after all. Here's the photos that were shown to the grand jury:

          http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/24/7279311/ferguson-darren-wilson-injuries

          Oh yes, he clearly took a heavy beating there, and they were so severe they went right past 'horrific bruises from a crazed attacker' to 'barely noticeable even from close range'.

          Keep in mind, here's how he described one of the blows:

          'Um, as I was holding it, and he came around, he came around with his arm extended, fist made, and went like that straight at my face with his...a full swing from his left hand.'

          So he supposedly took a full on punch to the right side of his face and yet... look at those pictures again, do you see any noticeable difference between the two sides of his face? Because I certainly can't.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re:

        There's no video evidence that he robbed a store mind you...

        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=56a_1407967110

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      "Fact is, Michael Brown robbed a store and assaulted the store owner. "

      Yes, he should be punished for the crimes he committed.

      "Of course, liberals will cry about it and blame the store owner for getting robbed."

      What do 'liberals' have anything to do with this? I'm not liberal.

      "I have no sympathy for Michael brown or his family because he obviously wasn't brought up and taught right from wrong."

      That kind of mentality is what's turning our nation into a third world country if not worse since more often than not, they disarm a suspect before taking them to justice, but not here in the US...Armed or not, your fucking dead.

      "ust because someone has something you want doesn't mean you can take it without paying for it."

      Yeah it does since we live in age where police have been granted the authority to not only murder innocents, but to rob us all through civil forfeitures.

      Get your head out of your ass man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      If your intent is to make conservatives look like knuckle dragging thugs, it's working.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JD, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Darren Wilson should get executed without a trial. Like my dad would always say: "karma is a bitch".

      Fact is, Darren Wilson killed an unarmed teenager. Of course, conservatives will cry about it and blame the teenager for getting killed. I have no sympathy for Darren Wilson or his family because he obviously wasn't brought up and taught right from wrong. Just because someone disrespects you doesn't mean you can kill them without a trial.

      Or maybe both should've been arrested and prosecuted by people who actually wanted to see them held accountable regardless of their skin color or background.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tracyanne (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:31pm

      You really are a dick

      Please explain how the theft of a pack of cigarettes justifies being shot and killed.

      Being punched out, yes I can see the Karma there. Being forced to smoke the entire pack, yes I can see the karma there. But being shot and killed, I don't see karma in action, I see a panicked cop, who didn't have the sense to call for back up when Brown was already a safe distance away and running, after the first two shots were fired inside the car.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      Facts are - we don't know what the facts are. So the only fact we do know is that you jump to conclusions about facts and don't consider the evidence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:56am

      Re:

      May the gods give you what you deserve.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:23am

      Karma is a bitch

      Just world hypothesis?

      (As an aside about 500K children who die from malaria each year might have strong words to say regarding this notion of Karma.)

      Since you don't actually know what happened (none of us do, really) it's a bit premature to decide that Michael Brown got what he deserved.

      But it's no longer Mr. Brown's problem, is it? It's ours problem.

      We can seek to change how things are. We can look at future Michael Browns and seek to improve their childhood lot. We can look at future Darren Wilsons and keep a closer watch on their abuses of power.

      Or we can choose to not, pretend that all is as it should be until someone else gets shot, and then suffer through the drama and the riots and the anguish all over again.

      That is how karma works.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

    When the defendant is a cop, there should be some special prosecutor to present the evidence to the grand jury. The current system is definitely broken because the police and the prosecutor's office are, essentially, on the same team. It's like investigating yourself and finding no fault.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:40pm

      Re:

      Like? It is pretty much exactly the same thing. No surprise that police find self innocent of wrongdoing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      Here's an idea: Try someone on their actions, not their position. Don't even mention that the accused is a cop, either to the grand jury or the 'regular' jury, let their actions be judged as they would for anyone else.

      If one person shoots another, or beats them, whether or not they are a cop should have absolutely no impact on whether or not they are guilty or justified in their actions, and the trial should reflect this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        I agree with this, as far as the grand jury and indictment process are concerned. However, the fact that a defendant is a policeman will almost certainly be relevant in the trial, as many laws specifically grant exceptions for certain actions to those in law enforcement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:58pm

    To kill a mockingbird

    Anyone else notice the similarities between the inside of that court and Harper Lee's book? It makes me depressed that it's been over half a century since Martin Luther King and this kind of shit. If anyone were to ever ask me about why I have so faith in humanity ever doing anything I'll simply point them to this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:05pm

    kenichi tanaka, being the contrarian jackass as usual.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ambrellite (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Innovative!

    Seems to me like turning the grand jury hearing process into a de-facto trial (minus the prosecution's adversary) gets past a lot of bureaucratic red tape. Full jury trials can take *years*! This grand jury passed down the prosecution's verdict in just 3 months and the end result even resembles due process if you squint. It's the greatest innovation in criminal justice since the plea bargain!

    Seriously, though, our justice system is broken, its overseers are blind to its failures, and if people aren't given redress for deprivations of justice, violent unrest is inevitable. History is full of such periods, and we may be headed into the worst one yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    madasahatter (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Double Jeopardy

    Something that is overlooked, the grand jury did not indict but did actually try the case. Wilson, until the statute of limitations expires, is at risk of being brought to trial. Double jeopardy only occurs when someone has been found not guilty at trial (petite jury).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:28am

    So what happens now?

    If Officer Darren Wilson is to be believed, and Michael Brown turned into a monster gorilla-bear on him, then he should be regaled as a hero and returned to duty immediately. Right?

    If something else happened, and we're pretty certain that something else happened, then this whole grand jury affair was intended to push Officer Wilson beyond the reach of justice, and it's obvious that the justice system is FUBAR. Right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:45am

    An armed aggressor kills an unarmed man. Shooting the unarmed man over six times. Multiple witnesses at the scene contradict Officer Willson's account of events. Yet, apparently there's not enough probable cause for an indictment.

    No accountability is how police brutality is born and raised.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:04pm

      The problem has had its day in the sun.

      The question remains:

      Can we change it? Do we?

      If not, do we proceed knowing that the promise of justice is a sham?

      Now that we can see how the court system can and will manipulate a jury to protect the privileged and condemn the dispossessed, do we continue to rely on the court system to serve justice?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul Bailey, 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:45am

    While there may be a disparity between this case and the general, relative ease with which indictments are handed out, it is worth noting that there is a big distinction that the article misses. Yes, it is true that grand juries almost always indict, but what is also true is that prosecutors generally never even bring something before a grand jury unless they are certain they have the requisite probable cause. The latter truth did not apply to this case. The case was so politically charged that the prosecutor was forced to bring the matter to the grand jury before completing an investigation (and establishing the certainty of probable cause to ensure the grand jury would return an indictment). Therefore, this case is not properly compared to norms within the Justice system for the determination of its outcome. Instead, this case must be viewed within a vacuum, based on its own merits and no others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:31am

    Yes, it is true that grand juries almost always indict, but what is also true is that prosecutors generally never even bring something before a grand jury unless they are certain they have the requisite probable cause. The latter truth did not apply to this case. The case was so politically charged that the prosecutor was forced to bring the matter to the grand jury before completing an investigation

    I was waiting for this argument to show up. The problem is that the prosecutor is on the same team as the police officers and as a result isn't and can't be considered a neutral party. He never should have been in charge of investigating this case because objectivity (either real or merely perceived by outsiders) would have been impossible to achieve.

    Yes, it is true that grand juries almost always indict, but what is also true is that prosecutors generally never even bring something before a grand jury unless they are certain they have the requisite probable cause. The latter truth did not apply to this case

    This is where your argument falls apart. We can't know whether or not the requisite probable cause was or could have been achieved because a prosecutor with ties to the police department was in charge and calling the shots.

    The entire thing needs to be retried in a different venue with neutral parties, and until that happens the points you made are null and void.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Paul Bailey, 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      That's an interesting perspective, but correct me if I am wrong, I was under the impression that the investigation was being run by both the Federal Government under the AG in conjunction with Ferguson authorities. I believe that the prosecutor stated that multiple times in his announcement, that the investigation was a joint effort. Yes, the Prosecutor ultimately presented the evidence to the grand jury, but the actual evidence gathering was not a "one man show." Additionally, I am aware that there is evidence that was not presented to the grand jury, but most of not all of what I have seen eluded to with that evidence was inadmissible under the rules of evidence for one reason or another (just a side note only tangentially related to the topic at hand).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re:

        ... the investigation was a joint effort.

        There are severe legal limits on the degree to which the Missouri grand jury and the federal grand juries may cooperate and share their investigations. In a nutshell: the two grand juries, which are subject to separate sovereigns, must proceed independently.

        It would be constitutional error of the highest order to subjugate the state grand jury into the service of the federal grand jury —or, even worse— vice versa.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Paul Bailey, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, the two grand juries are separate, but ultimately presented with whatever facts are produced from the joint investigation. Therefore, claiming that the evidence was tainted with a biased investigation is itself a logical flaw, unless the Federal Government was biased in its part of the investigation and in what it shared with Ferguson authorities. Now, having established that the investigation itself was unbiased (unlike as a previous comment purported), I return to my previous comment that this instance is separate from other grand jury indictments in that the prosecutor went to the grand jury before the completion of the investigation and knowing that he had probable cause. The only way to attempt to tie this case back into norms (since once again, the joint investigation cannot be considered biased as performed by two tiers of government) is to claim that the prosecutor purposefully withheld evidence discovered in the joint investigation from the grand jury. If that is the case, I ask where is the proof, and why is the Federal Government not complaining openly that evidence they helped to discover was withheld? Bear in mind, as I mentioned before, I am fully aware that there are two separate grand juries, I am not talking about that. I am talking about a joint investigation discovering the same evidence, in response to the accusation that "[the prosecutor] never should have been in charge of investigating this case because objectivity (either real or merely perceived by outsiders) would have been impossible to achieve."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Willard Seehorn (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:24pm

    Grand Jury

    There's a simple, four word equation that predicts shows whether a shooting is justified:

    Cop vs. Not a Cop = justified
    White Cop vs. Black person = justified
    any civilian vs. any cop = murder most foul!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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