Dear Shaun King,
I’m sorry you’ve been so misinformed about what happened in Ferguson. As a public service, I’m going to clear up some misconceptions you and others apparently have in reference to the recent LATimes interview with Ferguson PD Interim Chief, Al Eickhoff.
“Lie #1. “It turns out the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ didn’t even happen.”
Truth: Actually, many witnesses stated, both to the grand jury, and in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Mike Brown, that Mike Brown fully and completely surrendered to Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson.”
Reality: I’ll just quote a portion of the DOJ report you apparently forgot to read.
“Witness accounts suggesting that Brown was standing still with his hands raised in an unambiguous signal of surrender when Wilson shot Brown are inconsistent with the physical evidence, are otherwise not credible because of internal inconsistencies, or are not credible because of inconsistencies with other credible evidence.
In contrast, Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions, if true, would establish that the shootings were not objectively unreasonable under the relevant Constitutional standards governing an officer’s use of deadly force. Multiple credible witnesses corroborate virtually every material aspect of Wilson’s account and are consistent with the physical evidence.”
“The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson after Brown turned around were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The physical evidence establishes that after he ran about 180 feet away from the SUV, Brown turned and faced Wilson, then moved toward Wilson until Wilson finally shot him in the head and killed him. According to Wilson, Brown balled or clenched his fists and “charged” forward, ignoring commands to stop. Knowing that Brown was much larger than him and that he had previously attempted to overpower him and take his gun, Wilson stated that he feared for his safety and fired at Brown.”
“Furthermore, there are no witnesses who could testify credibly that Wilson shot Brown while Brown was clearly attempting to surrender.”
“Crime scene photographs establish that Brown fell to the ground with his left hand at his waistband and his right hand at his side. Brown’s blood in the roadway demonstrates that Brown came forward at least 21.6 feet from the time he turned around toward Wilson.”
“Other witnesses who have suggested that Brown was shot with his hands up in surrender have either recanted their statements, such as Witnesses 119 and 125, provided inconsistent statements, such as Witness 124, or have provided accounts that are verifiably untrue, such as Witnesses 121, 139, and 132.”
For more information:
“Lie #2. “We got a lot of negative notoriety and it all stemmed from Michael Brown’s body having to [lie] on the parking lot for 41/2 hours. The reason he was there for so long was because of hostile fire against our officers. We could not get to Michael Brown’s body.”
Truth: Every single video from August 9th shows that police had full and complete access to Mike Brown’s body from the moment he fell on the ground until the moment he was taken away. Zero evidence whatsoever exists of any “hostile fire” against officers. It appears the chief means gunshots against the officers that day and that is a complete fabrication. No matter what, police and other law enforcement officials moved freely in and out of that crime scene non stop.”
Account of a Non-Police Employee Livery Driver:
STL County Crime Scene Officer
Grand Jury Testimony:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
DOJ Report: Witness 102
“Witness 102 did not stay on Canfield Drive long after the shooting, but rather started to leave the area after about five minutes because he felt uncomfortable. According to Witness 102, crowds of people had begun to gather, wrongly claiming the police shot Brown for no reason and that he had his hands up in surrender. Two black women approached Witness 102, mobile phones set to record, asking him to recount what he had witnessed. Witness 102 responded that they would not like what he had to say. The women responded with racial slurs, calling him names like “white motherfucker.”
“Lie #3: “I don’t think other people have paid protesters flying to their city.”
Truth: This is a multi-layered lie. First and foremost, 99% of protestors in Ferguson and in every city in America are local. Secondly, the chief is clearly watching Glenn Beck – who suggested that people, including myself and DeRay McKesson, are being paid by George Soros. We aren’t. It’s a fake conservative conspiracy theory and it’s sad to see the chief promoting it.”
While the source of the money is up for debate, the whole #CutTheCheck scandal goes to show how integral money is to the “movement.” I will agree with you that I think that the majority of the protesters in Ferguson were local to the region though perhaps not local to the city limits which I think is Eickhoff’s point.
“Lie #4: “Right now when you talk to people outside of our area, a lot of people believe Ferguson is a racist police department. Unfortunately, I can’t go into the [Department of Justice] report. I would have a field day with the DOJ report.”
Truth: The Department of Justice uncovered indisputable evidence of several tiers of racism – ranging from the ugliest racist emails imaginable to actual police practices of racism. The most egregious emails, seen here, did not come from some new random new recruits, but from the seasoned veteran captain and sergeant – alongside the clerk of courts. They are indisputably racist.”
Reality: A few stupid racist emails from years ago don’t establish trends even if they are reprehensible. Fortunately, for you, it also wouldn’t be right for anyone to conclude that you lacked the ability to conduct simple research based only upon this one DailyKos piece with so many falsehoods presented as “Truth.” I would need more posts, more evidence, to establish a trend. I certainly couldn’t extrapolate from a conclusion that you were unable to conduct simple research that everyone at DailyKos share in your inabilities. For more information on the problems with the DOJ report, please read:
“Lie #5: “But what I do tell them is do not believe everything in the DOJ report because the people doing the investigations are not policemen.”
Truth: First off, the overwhelming majority of the information inside of the Ferguson Report comes directly from the Ferguson Police Department itself (1). It wasn’t a novel, but a collection of reports and data and interviews of actual employees (2). Secondly, dozens of seasoned law enforcement officers and Department of Justice employees gathered the intelligence and compiled it in the report (3). They are imminently respectable (4). The notion that it can’t be believed because they didn’t author it is just strange.”
Reality: This is multi-tiered. I’ve inserted numerals above to keep track.
1.) While information was gathered from the Ferguson Police Department, that does not by itself presuppose that the information was gathered accurately or analyzed accurately. A large portion of the report, perhaps rising to the level of majority, is dedicated to anecdotal accounts of people gathered from town hall style meetings conducted by the DOJ typically at Florissant Valley Community College.
2.) Repeated references to anecdotal accounts of abuses disprove this claim.
3.) This is only true if you consider members of the DOJ’s Civil Rights division to be Law Enforcement Officers. From their town halls it would seem that they are lawyers and not LEOs though I can’t say that none of them have any Law Enforcement background.
4.) And yet you claimed that their conclusions in reference to Darren Wilson were lies in this very article?
“”We are looking to hire more minorities. But one thing I’m adamant about is that they meet certain standards and pass certain tests, background checks.”
Excuse me? Why even go there? Of course everybody has to pass tests and background checks – this much is obvious, but the chief infers something incredibly outrageous – which is that either African Americans can’t pass the tests or people expect him to give black candidates a pass of some kind. Nonsense.”
I realize that you don’t live in the St. Louis Region, so I’ll forgive your ignorance on this topic. The conversation on increasing minority applicants in Law Enforcement has led to some strange suggestions of lowered standards for minority applicants, such as forgiveness for minor criminal convictions. As evidence of a push to lower standards generally, St. Louis County recently eliminated, by waiver, a physical fitness test for any lateral applicants with prior law enforcement experience. This is why he went there.