* In a mere few days the arrest count has gone from 32 to 47 with more people injured.
** Retractions by Author
*** Article updates as story continues to develop (see bottom of article for updates)
According to KMOV-News, Michael Brown, 18 was shot and killed by Ferguson police officers over the weekend. According to a personal source of the victim, I have been advised that Michael was walking in the middle of the street minding his own business when police officers pulled up next to him in their squad car. At one point, an officer opened is driver's door and the next thing people knew, the victim was shot and killed by police. According to my source, the victim did not have a weapon of any kind. The 2 officers involved in the incident reported that the victim was reaching for one of the officer's gun but this has been called into question because the officer was sitting in the vehicle beginning to stand up with his gun in a holster to his right side and the officer being right handed. The gun would have been out of reach and the only justification for firing their weapons would be if either police officer felt threatened by bodily harm. The officer could have simply turned his waist away from the victim if this were the case or closed his door. Either way, there seems to be holes in the officers' accounts of what exactly led to the shooting of an unarmed teenager. Also, although reported as 18 by KMOV, according to my source, the victim was 17 just shy of his 18th birthday.
The shooting occurred Saturday and by Sunday night around 8pm, there was a candlelight vigil for the victim. However, at some point between the civil mannered vigil, a riot broke out in the city of Ferguson. Reportedly, there were over 30 individuals arrested from the altercation and within moments of the rioting, over 300 police officers from over a dozen police departments were on the scene. There were break-ins and vandalism of many business buildings and a local Quick Trip Gas Station was burned to the ground. Several officers were also injured during the riot with one officer injured by a brick thrown at him. Others were injured by broken glass from nearby stores.
Apparently, there were a group of people in a yellow pickup truck that opened fire at police officers in a Walmart parking lot but at the time, the truck escaped capture. Also, some people fired shots into the air at news and police helicopters. In addition, police were called to nearby houses and apartment buildings due to reports of rioting and vandalism. Another groups of people attempted to steal an ATM structure while others stole merchandise from local retailers. Tear gas was used to breakup the riot.
Less than 24 hours later, many people from the community took to the streets to protest and on top of that, the mischievous cyber terrorists known as 'Anonymous" took responsibility for hacking the city of Ferguson's government's database and accessing police and government officials' emails and other electronic files. In a public statement to CNN, they claimed that they were holding access to the database as long as the police do not interfere with the protestors.
At approximately, 2 pm today, President Obama arrived in Saint Louis and then at the Ferguson Police Department. The two police officers involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown have been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
Between the riots and protests, I am worried that this will be like Rodney King. Those who know me, know that I am in no way racist so please do not think that I am coming from that side because of the color of my skin. For what it's worth, I do believe that the officers profiled the victim and acted without thinking and made the wrong decision. If, the victim truly did reach for the officer's weapon as reported, then all the officers needed to do was step back, raise their guns and order the victim to lay down on the ground. Obviously, there was no weapon found on the victim so simple verbal commands were all they needed to do. But, then again I was not there. I would ask other questions such as was this possibly the result of Suicide-By-Cop where people are suicidal but cannot harm themselves so they act in ways to cause an officer to shoot and kill a person for them. I am interested in the autopsy report to find out if the victim was on any type of medications (prescribed or illegal) that could have led to his behaviors? But, in the end if, the victim was simply minding his own business and no medications were affecting his body chemistry, then yes; the police have some explaining to do.
That said, I do agree with the protesting but I cannot get behind the rioting and mayham. I realise that I am disagreeing here with many people including my source who is related to the victim but personally; I just do not believe that we (as a community) need to resort to violence and destruction to get our point across. This type of activity makes the community no better than the officers who have no idea what racial profiling is. I do stand behind the protesting if it is to place the Ferguson Police Department under federal review to investigate for any police officers with prejudice biases against specific races and ethnicities and then to terminate said police officers. At the same time, the city of Ferguson is a fraction in size of most of the municipalities in Saint Louis County. The police department itself needs to be enforced by Saint Louis County Police instead.
There is a local video that has been going viral in Facebook by 3 brave young men pleading for the community to turn away from the violent outrage and find peace if only a 'cease fire' while the investigation into the Michael Brown's shooting is concluded and even then to remain civil about it. I urge people to watch this video. I have personally reached out to one the men, Jeremi Farrar who has given me permission to attach their video to this article. To avoid any negative backlash to these men, I will not be linking their Facebook page to this article, only the video.
If God created everyone in his image, then Dr. Martin Luther King took a leap of faith to remind 'all of us' that we are all created by that same design. Here is to the Good Reverend for his preaching. It is just a shame that nearly 50-years later, and some people, still need to be reminded that "yes, we are all created equally in God's image.
Alleged witness accounts by the friend of Michael Brown, Dorian Johnson, 22, who was with him during the incident by the police officers
I have a couple of questions about the validity of this man's statements.
1) The news has reported that the victim was about 6' tall and about 300 pounds. So, from a sitting down position, how could the officer quickly reach the victim's necks and pull him in closer?
2) Unless a felony has been committed, there are procedures about shooting fleeing suspects and the officer could have called for backup. But, of course the blood trail will be drawn into evidence during the investigation.
3) How far away was the friend? Farther enough away not to get strangled or man handled by the officers, so farther enough not to hear anything? How is this man a witness; if involved in the alleged actions by the police officers, then why wasn't he arrested as person of interest?
4) other witness accounts suggest that michael brown egged on the cops and charged at him. At one point supposedly egging on the cops and also charging the cop and punching him multiple times until one eye was left sw poo llem shut.
5) if the police are shooting and you (the friend) did nothing wrong then why run?
Some of his choice of words seemed coached. Look I am not saying this didn't happen, only that it seems a bit far fetched to me. According to this witness, who was involved in the incident directly, he and Michael were walking down the middle of the street minding their own business when the police driving by them stopped and pulled in reverse and then blocked traffic in both directions. Next, the officer supposedly stated to both men to; "Get the F. on the sidewalk." While I suspect that there was some truth to that, I wonder if the officers asked them why they were walking in the middle of the street and not along the sidewalk but that is just more speculation. I do not understand the blocking of traffic in both directions. He stated that he advised the officer that they were about a minute from their 'destination.' The use of the word destination sounds a bit coached. I suspect that they stated to the officer that they were close to home or a friends, etc. NO matter; according to the man when the officer pulled his patrol car in reverse, it was in a manner in which it almost hit them. Well, first of all, if they were not in the middle of the street, this would not be the case; yet I have to wonder which way the two men were facing for the officer to turn his vehicle to block traffic and almost hit them?
And, this is where the witnesses accounts do not make sense. Michael Brown was said to be about 6 foot tall and about 300 pounds, yet according to Johnson, the officer went to open up his door but because Michael was standing so close to the police car, apparently the door ricochet back at the officer which only upset the officer. At which point, from a sitting position, the officer supposedly reached through his door window and grabbed Michael's door and then proceeded to choke him. By these accounts, the police officer would have needed to climb out through the car window when instead, he could have just backed up the police car. Nevertheless, apparently the officer reached only his arm through the window upwards to grab the neck of a 6 foot something, 300 pound individual and because Michael was struggling to get free, the officer supposedly attempted to drag Michael by his arm into the car through the window. At which point, Michael continued to struggle and then the officer pulled out his weapon and said, "I'll shoot you or I'm gonna shoot and in the same moment, the first shot went off and we looked at him and he was shot and there was blood coming from him and we took off running." Now, I am not denying that a shot was fired because there is evidence of this but by Johnson's accounts, the officer would have shot Michael through the car window. I would think that if a shot was fired and someone is injured by the shot, they would stop what they are doing and wait for EMS -- but to runaway is only going to aggravate the situation on both sides. According to Johnson, as they were running, the officer was attempting to get out of the car which suggests that yes; the officer shot through the car window.
Next, Johnson stated that the officer ran in pursuit of both men with the officer's gun drawn but that the officer did not see any weapons pointed at him. If this was the case, I do not understand why the police officer did not call for backup because typically there are rules against shooting fleeing suspects involved in a misdemeanor. There was no assault on the officer according to Johnson which meant no felony and the initial stop was for jaywalking which is a misdemeanor. By these accounts the officer took it to the next level. But again, I see many holes in Johnson's accounts. Also, he stated that after Michael was shot a second time, he put his hands in the air and kneeled down to surrender but then the police officer shot him several more times killing Michael. Johnson said that the officer fired his gun 7 times.
According to the news reports from multiple news outlets, there were two officers involved in the shooting, so where was the second police officer during this incident?
Whether true or not, I read that other witnesses in nearby homes also witnessed the incident but many claimed that Michael refused to listen to the police and then charged at the officer, and went for the officer's gun; while others stated that Michael charged at the officer and beat on the officer until his eye was swollen shut and the officer shot Michael out of fear for his life. Again, this is all speculation until the FBI's investigation and autopsy is completed. I am not suggesting that the officer's initial stop of the two men was not racially motivated which it could have been but I do have many questions about Johnson's testimony. Today, civil rights activist, Al Sharpton was in Saint Louis to defend Michael Brown's honor by painting him to be an angel, "Gentle Giant." This may be true of Michael Brown but is did he really know the victim to depict him as this or is he merely basing this information based on the word of the victims friends and family members?
Update as of 10:30 p.m., 8/13/14
** Despite my previous editorial that President Obama arrived in Saint Louis and then went to the Ferguson Police Department on Monday afternoon, was incorrect as my source could not recall where she read that information Monday afternoon.
I also retract Question #1 of my questioning of Johnson's witness testimony of how the officer allegedly reached through the car window from a sitting down position with the victim's height and weight of approximately 6', 300 pounds. It has come to my attention that all of the Ferguson Police patrol vehicles are trucks or SUVs. I am still interested in the autopsy report as to whether there were any drugs or prescription medication in the victim's system that could have altered his behavior that led to the initial incident. However, I would like to reiterate that police are not supposed to shoot at fleeing suspects during the commission of a misdemeanor which if the case for the initial law violation was in fact jaywalking. Even with resisting arrest, if this was the case, should not have come down to shooting the suspect. If indeed, the victim surrendered after fleeing and kneeled down on the ground with his hands up in the air, then the officer should have at the very least handcuffed Michael Brown. It is my expert opinion that the police officer executed the victim based on the validity of the following video and witness accounts.
VIDEO CLICK HERE (warning graphic)
Update as of 2:00 a.m., 8/16/14
Breaking News: The police releases the name of the police officer involved in the shooting and video evidence leading up to the events of the shooting.
Please refer to News Day's editorial for information by clicking here [X]
Once again, I would like to point out the many holes in Johnson's eye witness testimony of his accounts of what allegedly transpired between Brown and the officer. Brown claimed that both Michael Brown and he were walking along the street minding their own business and were basically doing nothing wrong. Yet, the surveillance video in which both Brown and Johnson were identified by the employee of a gas station where Brown was accused of stealing a case of cigars suggests that they were not as innocent as Johnson initially reported. In fact, in the video, it appears that Michael Brown grabbed the neck or shirt of the employee and then forcefully pushed him out of the way as they exited the store with the stolen merchandise. However, the police are not charging Johnson with a crime at this time.
I have to wonder whether or not the officer did in fact grab Brown by the neck and attempt to choke him or if this was Johnson merely recalling a memory (of Michael Brown grabbing the neck of the gas station employee) and to look innocent, he turned it around and stated that the police officer was the one who grabbed the victim by the neck.
According to the news report, the victim's uncle, Bernard Eqing questioned the validity of his nephew's involvement with the gas station robbery and the police officer's response to the initial call.
"If he's a robbery suspect, they would have had the lights on," Ewing said. "If you rob somebody, you would tell them, 'Get on the ground' or something, not, 'Get off the sidewalk.'"
-- Bernard Ewing, Michael Brown' uncle
Once again, we are interpreting these alleged sidewalk commands by the police officer through Johnson's testimony which may or may not be accurate reporting. With all of that said, I still feel that regardless of why the officer came into contact with Brown and Johnson supposedly based on a the robbery suspect's description and I still suspect that Brown resisted arrest and may have even charged at the officer causing the officer a swollen eye as previously reported by other witnesses; however, I still feel there could have been some racial tension by the officer and I completely believe that the officer executed the victim with excessive force and that the officer should be charged with some degree of murder.
The police officer involved in the shooting, Darren Wilson has worked for the Ferguson police department for 6-years and according to the police chief, the officer has never been reprimanded for disciplinary measures.
Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon declared a State of Emergency and has issued a Curfew for the city of Ferguson from Midnight -- 5 a.m. The tension between the protestors and the police have subsided slightly since the State Police were brought in to take charge of the security on the front lines. Some of the protesters have thanked members of the Missouri Troopers for their civil attempt to invoke communication more than a tactical presence. On the other hand, nearby store owners are in outrage because the police stood there and watched as they were continuously robbed. According to one State Trooper, "Sure, food and liquor have been stolen but no innocent lives were lost which could have been the result had they intervened. As curfew approached every night, the police warn protesters to vacate the streets or else they will be arrested.
Still, I have to wonder about the so called friend, Johnson, who was with Brown during the shooting incident that led to this explosive outcries. According to Johnson, they were minding their own business and had been doing nothing wrong which was a lie considering that they had just stolen a case of cigars from a nearby merchant. I also love how Johnson stated that the officer reached up to Brown, grabbed him by the neck and then tried to choke him and while there could be some truth to this testimony, I feel that Johnson mentioned the attempted choking incident because it was fresh in his memory from what Brown had done to the store clerk when he stole the merchandise. In the video, Brown is seen grabbing the neck/shirt of the store clerk as he tries to stop Brown from leaving with the stolen merchandise and then, Brown is seen pushing the clerk back by his neck/shirt with the appearance of, "He better not follow us!"
Also, now; the community and the family of Michael Brown and their attorney claim that the police released this video in an attempt to assassinate the victim's character when in reality, they had been asking for any and all evidence to be released. The truth is that yes; it does smear Brown's character but it also shows the type of person he was not described as by Rev. Al Sharpton; 'A gentle man.' There are rumors that Brown taunted the police officer and charged at him and then beat on the officer until his eye was swollen shut. This goes to motive that Johnson's witness accounts of them not doing anything wrong leading up to the events as pure conjecture. However, I do believe that the officer should have stopped and went from shooting mode to arrest mode the moment Brown stopped and raise his arms up. Although, now I wonder if he actually put his hands up and surrendered or if he slowed down running due to his gunshots and the officer was still chasing and shooting? Honestly, I am not sure at this point who to believe.
For video of theft and grabbing of store clerk, CLICK HERE [X]
Update as of 10:30 p.m., 8/17/14
Autopsy by nationally renowned NY medical examiner, Dr. Michael Baden, performed a secondary autopsy. Reportedly, Dr. Baden was reviewed the autopsy's of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy and has performed over 20,000 autopsies who is now 80-years-old.
For link to Autopsy information, CLICK HERE [X]
Saint Louis County Police Dispatcher: Video provided by the Cyber Hacker group known as "Anonymous"
The following is the radio calls by Saint Louis County Dispatch in follow up to 911 calls by bystanders. According to the St. Louis 911 Police Dispatcher, Ferguson Police called for assistance with crowd control but denied any knowledge of an officer involved shooting. CLICK HERE [X]