In the coming weeks I’m going to be working my way through the various testimony to the Grand Jury in the case of the Michael Brown shooting. This is a significant undertaking seeing as the PDF that I downloaded from the New York Times is 4799 pages. The page references to follow are in reference to the greater PDF and not the page numbers in the individual transcript documents.
First up is:
Crime Scene Detective #1, St. Louis County Police
Summary of important topics:
- -Call was received at 1:00PM or 1300.
- -Gunshots were already fired by the community before Crime Scene arrived on scene on Canfield.
- -More shots were fired while Crime Scene was attempting to do a preliminary walk-through of the scene.
- -Ferguson Police Officers attempted to block Michael Brown’s body with their patrol cars.
- -Sheets were put up covering Michael Brown’s body at least as early as Crime Scene arrived.
- -Crime scene tape was pulled down and numerous individuals from the large angry crowd rushed the crime scene at one point.
- -People were shouting “Kill the Police” while officers attempted to move Michael Brown’s body. Even during this time, officers were respectful toward Michael Brown’s body at the expense of their own safety hoping that respect would prevent another “riot.”
- -153 feet existed between blood spatter to the east and Darren Wilson’s Tahoe. Michael Brown was in between the spatter and the vehicle indicating he stopped at the east periphery of the crime scene and returned. Pictured above.
- -12 shell casings were recovered in reference to Darren Wilson’s gun.
Q: And about what time did you receive a call that you were need to respond to the scene?
A: Shortly after 1:00 pm.
Q: And where were you when you got that call?
A: I was actually northbound on I-270 around Highway 40.
Q: So how long did you go directly to the scene?
A: Um, I switched my radio over to the muni north radio, which dispatches for the Ferguson area, not for Ferguson, but for the munis in that area. And I heard several reports of gunshots being fired near the crime scene, so I stopped and put my vest on.
Q: So after you did your walk-through, what’s the next thing you did?
A: Um, typically at that point we would go back, my van was parked on the west end of the crime scene just west of where Darren Wilson’s vehicle was at. We would go back there, I would prepare my video camera, you know, get a new memory card put in, write some notes down and at that point typically start my video walk-through of the scene.
Q: Is that what you did in this case?
A: No, ma’am.
Q: Why not?
A: As far as the exact times, I couldn’t tell you, but during this time when we were heading back to my car, another round of gunshots were fired and extremely close proximity to the crime scene. There was obviously a large crowd reacting to that as well as a police reaction to it. And the decision was made almost immediately to kind of hold, make sure that our crime scene is secured. I have to be able to concentrate what I’m looking at and trying to collect, versus trying to watch the crowd behind me that’s growing ever bigger and more angry by the minute.
A: You can see this is Officer Wilson’s car, down here you can see another Ferguson vehicle and another Ferguson vehicle down at the eastern end. Those are cars that were there when I showed up to start my investigation. So again, when I show up I try not to move anything because I photograph how I come into a scene. Those vehicles were not there at the time of the incident, they were placed there by Ferguson officers to help secure a crime and block views of Michael Brown’s body.
Q: So Michael Brown’s body is in between those two Ferguson police cars and those are SUVs correct?
A: Yes, Ma’am. And you can see the corner of an orange body screen between the two cars, that is something that I set up after my arrival to assist in blocking views.
Q: Why do you do that?
A: A number of reasons one, privacy. Two, seeing a dead body in the middle of the street is often disturbing to a lot of people. It is out of respect for the victim, out of respect for the family, out of respect for everyone to just kind of take away a visual sign of stress more than anything.
A: Image 68. Right before this image was taken, my chain of events kind of got scattered. I would have typically have continued photographing the vehicle and then once it was towed I would have taken a picture of where the vehicle was at right after it had been removed. Someone, I’m not sure who, be it family member or someone in the crowd, had tore down some crime scene tape and a few people ran into near the crime scene.
The decision was made then that we needed to stop our order of events, how we typically process a scene and we needed to get the body photographed and get the body moved immediately. Typically what you would see in the beginning of the photographs were I had the overall, the intermediate and close-up view of each individual piece of evidence, that got thrown out the window. We not quickly ran down, but we had a large crowd that had gathered now at the end of the crime scene near Michael Brown.
The apartment buildings that you can see on either side, one in front, there is one obviously behind me where I’m taking this picture. Those were filled with resident on the three stories of the stairwells. There were people on roofs, people had started to line the crime scene from the side not being blocked. What we decided on doing is the medical examiner, I think the fire department that was there had sheets and some tarps that we were going to use because the crowd at this point were starting to chant, kill the police, numerous other derogatory things toward everything about us. And we fully expected another, I don’t want to use the term riot, but an outburst once we did uncover the body and begin to move it.
We made the decision to use the sheets and tarps the best we could to blow the view of everybody that was trying their best to get in the crime scene and see what was going on. Several officers that were there, I would say probably 10 to 15 officers grabbed the body screens, sheets, and tarps, and not just held them up above their heads because the apartment buildings were very close to where we were at. It is hard to really get a perspective from this view how close those buildings were to the scene. We had people on the third floor apartments that could see straight down, and people on roofs that could see straight down. So we had people in close proximity of the perimeter of that body holding screens to try to block us while we’re working and still trying to protect the crime scene as well.
Q: So this blocking maneuver I’ll call that you did, was this done so that you were hiding some of the things that you were doing or was this done so you could avoid inciting the crowd with what they see when you remove the sheet?
A: It was strictly done to avoid any type of emotional response that we were expecting to happen when the body was uncovered.
Q: Now at this point, have you collected all of the evidence?
A: At that point we had collected everything that we had found. I had mentioned before in an ideal world you see the overall, intermediate and close-up view of each individual piece of evidence. The shell casings, the projectiles and some other items of evidence that were around the body in the chaos of the gunshots being fired near us, people tearing down our crime scene tape and coming in, those shots were missed, the photographs, the images, I’m sorry, were not taken prior to us picking up those items of evidence. We got them out of there to protect those pieces of evidence and just didn’t get photographs of them.
A: No. I walked from my crime scene van to where the body was that day no less than 50 times. Along with the other three detectives, my detective sergeant and countless other crimes against person homicide detectives, and no one saw any, no one noticed any, we looked, nothing was ever found between the officer’s car and where Michael Brown was.
Q: What’s the distance between the police car, the officer’s car and the body, do you know?
A: 153 feet 9 inches. It is noted on your diagram.
A: On the far right-hand side you can see two evidence bubbles labeled 19 and 20. If you look at the top part of this photo, I don’t know if it is blocked by the camera, you can see a large red stain here in the middle of the road, that was the location of Michael Brown’s head. Farther up the road here would be Darren Wilson’s car. So we are standing at the eastern end looking west. What these other items are, are two blood spatter patterns that are located farther east of Michael Brown’s body on the ground.
Q: But Michael Brown’s body is in between the blood spatter and Darren Wilson’s vehicle?
A: Yes, Ma’am.
Q: So blood spatter is farther east from the body?
A: Yes. These two spatter patterns are the farthest east evidence that we located.
Q: Now, so the total things, you seized all 12 shell casings, correct?