An audio tape of the shots fired at Michael Brown has sparked new discussions surrounding the death of the 18 year old. Some see the number of shots fired as support of police brutality and excessive force, others view the number of shots and the pause as an attempt to bring the young man to a halt.
A man engaged in a video chat unwittingly recorded the gunfire involved in the Michael Brown shooting CNN reported on Tuesday, August 26.. The man asked that his identity be withheld. The man retained an attorney and gave his consent to allow the tape to be given to the FBI. “CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the tape and has asked the FBI for confirmation of their interview with the man who made the recording.”
It will take time for the FBI to analyze the recording. CNN asked forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg to analyze the recording. Ginsberg said he detected at least 10 gunshots -- a cluster of six, followed by four.
Does this support the claims of excessive force? What does the pause in the gunfire mean? Two opinions have emerged.
"It's the pause that gives most concern in a police shooting, especially with an unarmed victim, because at this point Mr. Brown is defenseless -- he has no weapon," said attorney Chris Chestnut.
"To be fair, there could be other explanations for that pause," said attorney Van Jones, co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." "Maybe the officer will say, 'Well, I fired and he kept advancing, so I fired again.' "
A reasonable person may consider that the number of shots and the pause may signal an attempt to warn and slow down the youth. The officer Darren Wilson had been a police officer since 2009 and had no prior record of aggression. It is only based on assumption and hearsay that the police officer intended to use excessive force.
As we wait for the tape to be authenticated by the FBI, we also have hope that the tape may hold the truth. The FBI’s sophisticated audio equipment may be able to clean up the tape, as we see on CSI. If the foreground noise is eliminated, perhaps the background sounds can be enhanced. We may hear the conversation that occurred surrounding the shots fired at Michael Brown.