The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.
The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.
The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.
Well that destroys most of the narrative that we’ve been hearing for the past couple months. So much for the gentle giant who was running away or surrendering when he was shot for no reason. Right?
This is the first public account of Officer Wilson’s testimony to investigators, but it does not explain why, after he emerged from his vehicle, he fired at Mr. Brown multiple times. It contradicts some witness accounts, and it will not calm those who have been demanding to know why an unarmed man was shot a total of six times. Mr. Brown’s death continues to fuel anger and sometimes-violent protests.
When the evidence contradicts the narrative, the narrative wins.
But wait! There’s more!
In an interview, Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, dismissed Officer Wilson’s account of what happened in the S.U.V. that day.
“What the police say is not to be taken as gospel,” Mr. Crump said, adding that Officer Wilson should be indicted by the grand jury and his case sent to trial. “He can say what he wants to say in front of a jury. They can listen to all the evidence and the people can have it transparent so they know that the system works for everybody.”
He added: “The officer’s going to say whatever he’s going to say to justify killing an unarmed kid. Right now, they have this secret proceeding where nobody knows what’s happening and nobody knows what’s going on. No matter what happened in the car, Michael Brown ran away from him.”
Except that’s not how our system works.
Last but not least:
The grand jury has been meeting in Clayton, Mo., since Aug. 20. Robert P. McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor, has said that he expects a decision on probable cause by mid-November.
That would be next month – AFTER the election.
On Thursday, as the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testifies before Congress about the potential failings in the recent response to a case of Ebola infection on U.S. soil, much of the country is in panic mode. An increasing number of lawmakers are calling for a travel ban to the affected countries in West Africa, and some school districts are canceling class over fears that students will contract the deadly virus.
Some observers have noticed that the national response to the Ebola outbreak — which is ravaging several impoverished countries in West Africa, but which doesn’t pose much of a threat here at home — has been disproportionate compared to how the U.S. reacted to the recent spread of other infectious diseases.
“With Mad Cow disease (in Great Britain), you didn’t restrict travel; when you had bird flu in China you didn’t restrict travel,” Leo Mulbah, who heads up the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta, told the Detroit Free Press. “So why now?”
In his interview with the newspaper, Mulbah suggested it’s because countries like Liberia don’t have the same political or economic clout as countries in Europe or Asia. That’s certainly true. On top of that, however, there’s another dynamic that’s been gaining increasing attention over the past few weeks: The undercurrent of racial stereotypes and prejudice.
Thanks to Ebola, some xenophobic attitudes have been on full display recently. Last month, a cover of Newsweek used a chimp to illustrate a story about how bush meat imported from Africa could be a “back door for Ebola.” Lawmakers have suggested that Ebola-infected people may stream across the Mexico border. A community college in Texas stopped accepting perfectly healthy students of Nigerian and Liberian descent. Liberian immigrants who live in Texas are getting refused service at restaurants. There are a lot of comparisons being made to AIDS, the last scary disease to come out of Africa that gave rise to similar racial fears and stereotypes.
Plus, there are some very basic racial factors at play. The vast majority of the people who are suffering and dying from Ebola are black. The handful of people who are being flown to the U.S. to receive care at top hospitals, given an experimental Ebola drug, and ultimately recovering from the virus are white. This dynamic was not lost on the family members of the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., a Liberian man named Thomas E. Duncan. Along with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, they have criticized the Texas hospital where Duncan was treated, saying he received substandard care because he was a black man and an immigrant.
Just the other night at a cross-burning my friends and I were saying how we would be totally cool with Ebola if it came from England.
No, that didn’t come from Salon, but you were close. It came from ThinkProgress.
Mad Cow Disease resulted in the destruction of 4.4 million head of cattle and many countries banning British beef. Mad Cow disease is transmitted by eating infected tissue, not from touching or getting sneezed on by cows.