An Update on Ferguson

First, when they say that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, they ain’t kidding. For example, “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.”

Even with pre-indictment plea bargains, a grand jury no-billing is a very rare thing.

I was wrong about the DA not releasing the evidence from the grand jury proceedings, and it makes it even clearer that the fix was in.

During his testimony, Darren Wilson was allowed to blythly state the clearly racist trope that “Michael Brown looked like a demon:

St. Louis Public Radio published the full transcript of Wilson’s testimony Monday. The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office released evidence from the grand jury proceedings after it was announced that no charges would be filed against Wilson.


Wilson explained to jurors that in order to keep shielding his face from Brown’s punches, the only option available for him to defend himself was to pull out his gun. The officer struggled with Brown before he was able to fire the weapon, shattering glass from the police cruiser’s door panel.

After that first shot went off, Wilson testified that Brown stepped back and “looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

It appears that this is a variant of the “Magic Negro” trope that I was previously unaware of.

Then there was the evidence from “Witness #40”, in the form of a journal entry, which exactly verified Officer Wilson’s testimony, and dropped the N-word repeatedly.

The prosecution allowed this into evidence without any vetting or challenge from Prosecutor Robert McCulloch.

Also note that the ER report on Officer Wilson noted was in no distress when examined by doctors, that Wilson and Brown were the same size, and the medical examiner took no pictures because his camera battery was dead.

One final note: the behavior of prosecutor McCulloch was sufficiently odd, that both CNN and the New York Times noted that he behaved more like defense counsel than he did a prosecutor.

Furthermore, at the press conference announcing the grand jury decision, he appeared to have deliberately gone out of his way to sabotage any potential effort by the Department of Justice or a civil action by by publicly labeling witnesses who claimed that the shootings were not justified to be liars.

When juxtaposed with the fact that he appeared to have deliberately delayed the public release of the grand jury decision until a time calculated to maximize the possibility of civil unrest.

It might have been as a distraction from his document dump.

It might have been a way to dog-whistle his willingness to appease the racist sentiments of white voters in the county.

It might have been a fit of pique over having to convene a grand jury when he clearly did not want to do so.

In any case, I believe that a close investigation of the Saint Louis County Prosecutor’s office would reveal a pattern of ethically questionable actions, but it is clear that, with Eric Holder heading out the door and Barack Obama once again trying not to remind people that he is black, there will be no meaningful investigation of the prosecutor’s office.

Needless to say, I am appalled, though I am not surprised.

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