End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

Gender-Neutral Treatment - The Equal Rights Amendment

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

What We Know and Don't Know About the Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson

Written by Alex Altman | TIME

There's a lot we know about the death of Michael Brown and its aftermath, but many questions remain unanswered.

It’s been 11 days since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white policeman in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, the violent protests that followed have drawn national attention and flummoxed authorities and elected officials looking to lower the temperature. But we’re still missing a lot of key facts about the incident and the ongoing investigations. Despite a calmer night on Tuesday, no one knows when the nightly clashes will end.

Here’s a rundown of what we know—and what we don’t—about the turmoil playing out in this St. Louis suburb.

How did Wilson encounter Brown?

Shortly before noon on Aug. 9, Brown walked into Ferguson Market and Liquor, a convenience store on West Florissant Avenue. He was with a friend, 22-year-old Dorian Johnson. At approximately 11:51, according to a police report, an unidentified officer received a call that a robbery was in progress at the store. But the suspect, who a Brown family lawyer has acknowledged “appears to be” Brown from surveillance footage, was gone when the officer arrived.

Minutes later, Brown and Johnson turned onto Canfield Drive, where they came upon a second officer, Wilson, at 12:01 p.m. At that point, Wilson didn’t know Brown was suspected of committing the robbery minutes earlier, according to Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson. He just saw a pair of people blocking traffic. Ferguson police have provided conflicting reports on whether Wilson received information that Brown was a robbery suspect between the moment that the officer encountered Brown and the fatal shooting.

So what led to the shooting?

It’s unclear and witness accounts differ. What we know is that within about three minutes, Brown was dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso. Pictures show him sprawled face down in the middle of the street, with a trail of what appears to be blood seeping from his body.

Johnson has said that Wilson ordered them onto the sidewalk and when they didn’t move right away, the office pulled up to Brown. A struggle ensued, and in Johnson’s version of events, Brown was shot from inside the car before they both took off running with Wilson in pursuit. Johnson has said Wilson fired multiple times despite Brown having his hands up.

Other witnesses have provided conflicting accounts, alternately alleging that Brown was shot in the back or while on his knees in a posture of surrender. And Wilson’s version of events is even harder to ascertain, because he’s in hiding: He fled his St. Louis-area neighborhood a few days after shooting and hasn’t spoken publicly. Police have said Brown reached for Wilson’s gun and the shooting occurred during that struggle. It’s unclear why Brown was shot so many times.

Why has it taken so long for details of the shooting to come out?

Wilson’s name was withheld for almost a week out of concerns for his safety. Three dueling autopsies have either been conducted or ordered—the standard one by the local medical examiner, a private one requested by the family, and a third one ordered by federal authorities.

And federal and state authorities have mostly declined to comment on their pending investigations, while leaks have been kept to a minimum, likely to avoid fanning the cycle of violence that has roiled the city’s downtown streets.

Why has it taken so long for details of the shooting to come out?

Wilson’s name was withheld for almost a week out of concerns for his safety. Three dueling autopsies have either been conducted or ordered—the standard one by the local medical examiner, a private one requested by the family, and a third one ordered by federal authorities.

And federal and state authorities have mostly declined to comment on their pending investigations, while leaks have been kept to a minimum, likely to avoid fanning the cycle of violence that has roiled the city’s downtown streets.

Who’s trying to keep the peace in Ferguson?

On the demonstrators’ side, it’s a diverse collection of pastors, politicians, community leaders, black power groups, and many ordinary citizens who are disheartened by the way in which the violence has subverted the quest for justice. The vast majority of the protesters in the streets are peaceful—at least, until dark.

Riot-gear clad officers from the county and state highway patrol—now backed by the Missouri National Guard—have responded to provocations from protesters with tear gas, flash bangs, and other methods.

What happens next?

A St. Louis County grand jury will begin hearing evidence on Wednesday. But there’s no hard timetable on how long the whole process will take, and it could be weeks or months before the details of the investigation are know, the U.S. Attorney in Eastern Missouri told TIME Tuesday.

Link to the original article from TIME.

Read 5380 times Last modified on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 20:30

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Latest News

  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump +

    Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • 1

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.