Friday, August 22, 2014

Bet On Manslaughter Charges, Or No Charges At All

Editor's Note - I'm returning to The Garlic after my prolonged absence, due to the continuing battle with a chronic illness (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy {or a chronic case of Guillain–BarrĂ© Syndrome} - 4.5-years and still dealing with copious pain, cramping and major fasticulations, not to mention, 4.5-years of disrupted sleep).

Currently, for the past 10-months, after 22 different medications (which either did nothing, or gave me horrible side-effets), plus six-months of Intravenous Immunoglobulin treatment, I am on Morphine, which gives me some relief of the pain.

I hope to start posting regularly in the days, and weeks, ahead

The events of the past two weeks in Ferguson, Missouri has pulled me off the sidelines, as, clearly, there are two camps set up;

 1. That Michael Brown was an innocent young black man gunned down by police


2. Faux News and the Rightwing Freak Show standing behind the police, that the killing was justified.

It is clear, all the facts are not known of what transpired, and what facts are known, are being contested, primarily, by Faux News and the Rightwing Freak Show.

One major fact not known, and according to news reports today, is that the police officer who gunned down Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, hasn't even been interviewed yet by the police or District Attorney, so his side of the this story is still unknown.

What is known is;

Michael Brown, and Dorian Johnson were walking in the street and Officer Wilson drove by, telling them to "Get the fuck off the street", drove on, apparently noticed they were still in the street, and backed up (almost hitting them according to a witness)

Next, some sort of altercation between Brown and Wilson followed, with Wilson, alledgedly, grabbing or pulling at Brown, through the window of his patrol vehicle, and, alledgely, a gunshot going off.

That was followed by Brown and his companion running away, and Officer Wilson, apparently, getting out of his vehicle and following after them, alledgely firing his gun.

And here's where things get murky - some reports say Brown turned with his hands up, others have said Brown was charging, or moving toward Officer Wilson, at which point, Officer Wilson fired his gun, hitting Brown multilple times (6-8 times, acording to reports), including two bullets in Michael Brown's head.

I'm no Legal Scholar, and I don't play one on TV.

Considering the number of bullets that hit Michael Brown, one might expect that Officer Wilson is going to use the "Feared for Safety" defense.

Afterall, Michael Brown was black, and very large, something like 6'4" tall, and close to 300lbs.

Whoa, very scarey, right?

However, one fact that seems to be consistent is that, after the altercation, whatever it was, at the window of Officer Wilson's patrol vehicle, Brown and his companion ran away from the vehicle, and it was Officer Wilson who got out of the vehicle and pursued them.

(Not known, or at least, I haven't seen any reports, if, at that time, did Officer Wilson radio for back-up?)

That would make Officer Wilson the aggressor.

So, to get all Columbo here, Excuse me, one more question, but if Brown and his companion went running away, wasn't Officer Wilson in the safety of his vehicle?

He could have stayed there, until back-up arrived and then pursued Brown and his companion.

And more so, let's say, as then pro-police narrative has it that Brown, after being pulled by Officer Wilson, was going after Wilson's gun, and a gunshot went off in the vehicle.

I would think that would warrent Officer Wilson radioing in for back-up. That he would stay in the safety of his vehicle until help arrived.

But rather, the story goes, Wilson got out of his vehicle, pursued Brown and his companion, and only shot because Brown was "bum rushing him at full speed", while other witnesses say Brown had stopped and was turning with his hands raised, or in the process of raising them, when Wilson unload his bullets into him.

So, as we stated earlier, all the facts in this case haven't been aired.

And now, the Grand Jury has been convined, and, as we all know, the long-running joke is any District Attorney can get a ham sandwich indicted.

So, what narrative will win out?

1. That Brown struggled for the gun, ran, but than charged back at Officer Wilson, who had left his vehicle to pursue Brown?

2. Or that, after whatever the altercation at the window of the vehicle was, Brown and companion ran, Wilson got out his car and pursued, Brown stopped, raised his hands, and was gunned down like an animal?

Number One will, likely have the Grand Jury returning no indictment, that it will be ruled justifiable use of force.

Number Two may bring about a Manslaughter Charge, that, Officer Wilson was performing his duties as a police officer, and some force was required, but that he stepped over the line and used too much force, that it wasn't his intention to kill Michael Brown.

The District Attorney, being, essentially, on the same side of the Police (not to mention having to run for election) may be reluctant to bring a Murder Indictment against Officer Wilson (inlcuding, as reports have said, his father was a policeman, killed in the line-of-duty, by a black man).

I believe, much is going to rest on that Officer Wilson got out of his vehicle and pursued.

That, it would seem, take away any defense of being "in fear for his safety", making him the aggressor in this.

The Distict Attorney can split hairs, making it a Manslaughter Indictment, citing that Officer Wilson either didn't call, or wait, for back-up, and pursued, and while legally allowed to use force, used too much force, and must be held accountable for that.

That still is going to put him on the wrong side of the Police Force, who will yelp that he isn't the one to judge what kind of force to use, that he can't judge what it is like in the heat of performing one's duty, the split-second judgements a police officer has to make.

Fine, they have a right to express that opinion.

Just as much as people have the right to say that Officer Wilson wasn't justified in gunning down Michael Brown like a rabid animal, including firing two bullets into his head.

With shooting like that, hard to say he was trying to capture a suspect.

Paging Lady Justice ...