Beautiful, and terrible.
I think it’s worth pointing out that protesters in NYC are not just protesting Ferguson, they’re protesting police brutality and misconduct in all circumstances. We’ve had two incidents in NYC in the last few months that are just as serious, if not more so, than anything in Ferguson; the choking death of Eric Garner for selling cigarettes in Staten Island, and the shooting of Akai Gurley, an unarmed man accused of nothing but walking a stairwell in a housing project in NYC. As much as I want to sympathize with the family of Michael Brown, these protests are not about him, they’re about the pervasive and insidious racism and abuse towards minority populations all over the country.
Whatever is covered about the protests and especially the violence, let’s make sure we don’t think the anger is about the single death of Michael Brown, let’s make sure we understand that it’s about the systemic problem of police brutality and prosecutorial corruption.
OK. I just don’t get it. There has been contradictory evidence presented. Maybe Officer Wilson actually IS innocent! Maybe the shooting WAS justified! Why is this officer guilty until proven innocent – or even guilty even though proven innocent? There are several incidents each year where a police officer shoots an unarmed person. It seems that it only generates interest if the dead person is black and the police is white.
The fact of Wilson’s guilt or innocence should have been established in a trial. The prosecutor’s job was to convince the grand jury to indict Wilson so we could have that trial.
Instead, prosecutor Robert McCulloch made some highly irregular decisions—including taking it upon himself to present “both sides” of the case to the grand jury instead of just the probable cause against Wilson. (It’s not a prosecutor’s job to present the defendant’s case for him.) It’s actually very rare for a grand jury to decline to indict a suspect, and that has many people justifiably curious about just how hard McCulloch tried to do his job. Also consider:
- McCulloch’s father was a police officer who was killed on duty by a black suspect
- McCulloch had a close relationship with local law enforcement
Either of these factors might be reasonable cause for McCulloch to recuse himself from this particular case. Even if he was truly capable of approaching this case objectively, the public perception of possible bias is enough to damage the credibility of the whole process.
I have started reading eye witness interviews released by the grand jury. I wish more people would.
I think there is a problem in the US with unchecked police violence. I do not think, however, that the answer is to automatically assume that the next cop that shoots someone is guilty of misconduct.
Grand jury hearings are meant to determine whether there is enough evidence, or probable cause, to indict a criminal suspect. - See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/how-does-a-grand-jury-work.html#sthash.jZlpYog1.dpuf
There is no presumption of innocence in a grand jury hearing. The grand jury does not determine the truth of the matter, only whether there is sufficient question about the truth to send it to a regular jury trial.
I have answered this one for you before, so now I know you’re just trolling. There are not “several” incidents every year, there are hundreds. There are only “several” that actually show up on Fox News.
Are you not aware that two more unarmed black youths were shot dead in Saint Louis itself in the last few weeks? I think you know that, because if you were that uninformed, you probably wouldn’t care enough to comment on this thread.
Trolling does not improve the internet. Please stop.
Amen. And, thank you.
While I agree that the prosecutor may have had personal motivations, and it is not his job to present the defense’s side (the defense has an opportunity to present at a grand jury, but often don’t because it’s seen as pointless and risky) it would be wrong to characterize the prosecutor’s job as always to seek indictment. The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice - indictment when supported by fact. A defense attorney’s job, in contrast, is to zealously defend their client to the extent possible by law, not by fact. Sadly some prosecutors don’t see their job as seeking justice, and, for that matter, some defense attorneys don’t see their job as to defend. Instead the system becomes highly adversarial and, in the process, corrupted.
The circumstances around Michael Brown’s death are not clear enough to be a good example of a wrongfull police shooting. That’s why I suggest we not look at this one case, or the reaction in Ferguson or across the country as being about Michael Brown, but as a reaction to a systematic, pervasive problem of racism and police brutality.
Not indicted does not mean proven innocent. Let’s be clear about that, kevin.
The trouble is, there aren’t any “good” examples. Systemic racism is such an insidious problem because the very definition of “good” example changes when the victim is not white. People already aware of ingrained, pervasive racism are not the ones who need convincing.
Henry Cow, 1975
A prosecutor need not always seek indictment. The D.A. may look at the evidence and decline to press charges at all. However, once the decision to bring charges has been made then it is his job to actually try to get the suspect indicted, not to use the grand jury as a trial jury. In this matter Mr. McCulloch failed to do his job.
It’s supposed to be adversarial. Taken as a group, all sides are supposed to be working for the greater cause of justice and everybody is supposed to play by the rules to keep the process fair, but that doesn’t mean the prosecutor should go out of his way to tell the grand jury why the suspect might be innocent after all.
You, sir, are trolling. I was merely making the comment that the grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict. People cry for “Justice” Sorry, but justice is imperfect until we invent a machine that can read minds or a machine that can go back in time to provide video. Until then, all we have is evidence and eyewitness testimony. As we all know (or all should know), testimony of that type CAN be very unreliable. Two people seeing the same thing can present different stories.
And as to you telling me this before, I do not recall this. I have a life, and I do not live on BB, nor do I remember every story that I have read for the past year.
And as to your comment about Fox News, yes I follow them. I also follow CNN. One leans right, one leans left. I figure the truth is somewhere in between. It is the height of ignorance and folly to only follow one side of the story.
There are also cases that I have read about where a black police officer shot unarmed white suspects. Where is the outrage there? To me, any story that includes black/white is immediately suspect. Police officer shoots unarmed suspect – investigation required. The race of any of the parties should NOT be an important factor. Death is death, and murder is murder, no matter what the color of the parties involved.
Now, about your name-calling. Please shovel your steaming pile elsewhere.
Yet in this country, you are supposed to be presumed innocent! You do not need to be proven innocent – you need to be proven guilty.
No, Officer Wilson may very well be guilty, but that there is not enough evidence to prove this point. I willingly concede this fact. This is the nature of our system. People DO get away with murder for lack of evidence.
You think the truth is some amalgamation of what CNN and Fox report? On anything?
If you really think that CNN is non-partisan, I pity you. They DO lean to the left.
Well, it is better than just relying on one source. Every issue is complex – you do not just listen to one side of the story. Listening to two biased sources and trying to figure out what they have in common and what the differences are is a LOT better than just listening to one side of the story.
In general (not this case) a prosecutor can withdraw from the process at any point, and if evidence has come to light that makes it clear that a crime hasn’t been committed, it’s the obligation of the prosecutor to drop the charge. And yes, the system is supposed to be adversarial but the prosecutor has a special responsibility not to pursue charges that are not provable, or in cases where there hasn’t been a crime. It’s not supposed to be a level playing field; the prosecutor is supposed to use discretion, the defense attorney is not.
Now when it comes to this particular case, McCulloch does seem to have torpedoed the case and abdicated his role as a prosecutor. But I think he did it in a pretty transparent way rather than just not bringing charges. And he’s putting his “discretion” on display, so now it’s up to the voters and Bar Association to decide whether he did his job well enough to keep it, and it’s up to the American public to decide whether there was justice served.