The picture above is a still image of the arson that took place at the QuikTrip on W. Florissant in Ferguson, MO. I’ve discussed the story of why QuikTrip was specifically targeted before, but it’s so important to the nature of the conflict in Ferguson that I’ll tell it again. On 08/10/2014, a rumor was spread throughout the community. The story was that employees of the QuikTrip called the police due to Mike Brown shoplifting cigarillos. The response to this rumor can be seen immediately below:
The reality was that QuikTrip had nothing to do with Michael Brown and the corporate office released a statement to that effect. However, since the night the arson took place on 8/10/14, the protesters have not shown the least bit of remorse by continuing to show up at the ruins of this icon of their rush to judgment and violence. QuikTrip is the ultimate example of how the protesters do not care about the facts or finding out the truth.
According to the owner of Ferguson Market’s attorney, on 8/14, Ferguson police conducted a search warrant at Ferguson Market looking for footage of the robbery alleged to have been committed by Michael Brown. The owner complied with the warrant though he expressed fear that his business would be targeted as QuikTrip had been less than a week earlier. Ferguson Police and St. Louis County Police informed the owner that they would station officers near his business which they supposedly did until the command structure changed.
Capt. Ron Johnson with the Missouri State Highway Patrol was appointed to command of the rioting/looting/protesting response on 8/14/2014.
On 8/15/2014, Ferguson Police released the video showing Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson robbing Ferguson Market. Michael Brown is seen specifically assaulting the manager by grabbing near or on his throat. The community was able to determine that the location was Ferguson Market from the footage though the name was not mentioned during the press conference. Once again, feeling that the business was some how tangentially to blame for the death of Michael Brown, the looters ransacked the business. That night Capt. Johnson ordered all officers back to the CP and denied a direct request from the owner of Ferguson Market for help stopping his business from being looted.
Let’s set aside the validity of the QuikTrip rumor. Let’s set aside who reported the robbery from within the business. At what point was it randomly decided that any individual living or working within the Ferguson community had given up their right to call the police for help? What gives these protesters the right to punish businesses or private individuals working within these businesses, for having the gall to call the police for help? Other people, regardless of race, in other municipalities in the St. Louis area are not punished by their neighbors for calling the police when in trouble. Why does Ferguson get a pass?
The bottom line is that what happened to QuikTrip and Ferguson Market is, in no uncertain terms, witness tampering. For the record, Tampering with a Witness is defined by Missouri State Statute as:
- ” 575.270. 1. A person commits the crime of tampering with a witness if, with purpose to induce a witness or a prospective witness to disobey a subpoena or other legal process, or to absent himself or avoid subpoena or other legal process, or to withhold evidence, information or documents, or to testify falsely, he:
- (1) Threatens or causes harm to any person or property; or
- (2) Uses force, threats or deception; or
- (3) Offers, confers or agrees to confer any benefit, direct or indirect, upon such witness; or
- (4) Conveys any of the foregoing to another in furtherance of a conspiracy.
- A person commits the crime of “victim tampering” if, with purpose to do so, he prevents or dissuades or attempts to prevent or dissuade any person who has been a victim of any crime or a person who is acting on behalf of any such victim from:
- (1) Making any report of such victimization to any peace officer, or state, local or federal law enforcement officer or prosecuting agency or to any judge;
- (2) Causing a complaint, indictment or information to be sought and prosecuted or assisting in the prosecution thereof;
- (3) Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any person in connection with such victimization.
- Tampering with a witness in a prosecution, tampering with a witness with purpose to induce the witness to testify falsely, or victim tampering is a class C felony if the original charge is a felony. Otherwise, tampering with a witness or victim tampering is a class A misdemeanor. Persons convicted under this section shall not be eligible for parole.”
Consider for a minute what happened to QuikTrip and Ferguson Market. If these businesses, and the real community members they employ, were targeted due to their involvement in the case, what do you think they would do to Darren Wilson, the person directly responsible for the death of Michael Brown, justified or not. Thus the repeated death threats levied at Darren Wilson are given much more serious credibility. What’s more, the media has felt the need to release his address and report from his front lawn. This man is not safe. A quick search of Facebook revealed the following:
- “NEXT PROTEST SPOT. DARREN WILSON’S HOUSE. HE COOKING ON THE GRILL”
- “Better be gone”
- “…bring him back unarm him n shoot him.”
- “Fcck jail he should be dead also jail anit shit because u still get a change to wake up eat move around fcck that he need his life taken.”
- “Well, if a pig killed my loved one and justice wasn’t served, I’d feel rage like never before, and I’d want to kill the fucker so bad… oh god.”
- “Dumb ass has a huge target for all his false stunts he tried the pull. He knows what he did was wrong! That’s why he’s running , can’t run for long the whole world knows the pigs face.”
- “I will shoot cops now.”
- ” i would of went to jail cuz trust me if that was my son I’ll b either laying there with em for trying kill this piece of shirt officer or in jail for trying kill this piece of shit officer.”
- “They’ll pay attention when we start shooting back.”
- “lock his ass up with all Michale Brown’s kinfolk and hommies that’s locked up! put his ass on the same block wit em!”
- “That bitch should die.”
- “I don’t believe in killing anyone … But I do believe in torturing him for the rest of his life.. He deserves a serve punish.”
This is why Darren Wilson’s name was withheld until political pressure from Jefferson City demanded it be released.
I find it incredibly disingenuous that the same voices calling for either the death or conviction of Darren Wilson are also the same voices claiming that there has been a lack of transparency on the part of the police. If you already know the whole story, what more is there to say? What more evidence can be presented? Evidence isn’t simply around to confirm your preconceived notions. Case in point, the robbery video which led to the community and the media accusing Ferguson Police of attempting to blame the victim. If the police haven’t released enough information yet, how do you know who the victim is?
What’s more, not releasing information is a good way of confirming or discrediting eyewitness accounts. As such, the main witness identified thus far, Dorian Johnson and his story of Mike Brown being shot in the back, have been completely discredited by the family’s autopsy. In an unrelated example, if I’m working a case involving a stabbing murder and someone comes to me saying they saw everything, but state that the deceased was shot, I know they’re lying. It’s an investigative tactic and an important one.
For all I know at this point, Darren Wilson might be guilty of murder, but many in the community have already decided on this fact with nothing to go on but contradictory eyewitness testimony. Interestingly, this same rush to judgment led people into the streets from night one operating under the assumption that there would not be a fair investigation. The bottom line is that anyone calling for justice for Mike Brown but also indicating that our legal system is broken (and thus no legal justice can be achieved), are calling for one thing: Darren Wilson’s death.