I think conclusions about the circumstances of the shooting based on the number and placement of bullet wounds is highly speculative. First, to the number of shots; a gun is a deadly weapon and police are not trained to shoot to subdue or wound, they are trained to shoot to kill and to fire as many bullets as it takes to kill. Once the choice has been made (rightly or wrongly) to use deadly force, there can be only one conclusion.
As for the placement, especially on the top of the head, there is very little that can be drawn from that. A wound on the top of the head could be from instinctive ducking or falling just as easily as it could be from a person on their way to lying down and putting their hands behind their head. There is simply no way to know what happened from the placement of these wounds, and calling it "execution style" is not only drawing an incorrect conclusion, it's reckless.
I agree that this is pure speculation. And this is pretty clearly not "execution style", which most people would interpret as two to the back of the head at point blank range. It also should be noted that most police are not well-trained shooters, and this bears that out. A well-trained shooter would not have fired at Mr. Brown, because the background was obviously not clear - and even if they did, they would have fired two rounds center mass. If the target was hit six times, that probably means at least twice that many shots were actually fired, which makes it quite likely this was instinctive, rapid panic fire rather than controlled, aimed shooting.
Whew. I'm relieved. As long as it wasn't execution style, Wild volleys of gunfire in a residential neighborhood are just fine for police to let off, regardless if it was, in effect, an execution. Hmm, Come to think of it, firing squad executions wouldn't really have an execution style to them either...
Well, it's even less likely to be "execution style," as their lawyer claims, since: (a) there was no gunshot residue on the body; and (b) the downward trajectory of one bullet "shattered Mr. Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone." I don't know how you would execute someone like that (especially someone who is 6'4"), let alone without getting GSR on them. As the forensic pathologist hired by Mr. Brown's family said, "It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer."
If the words and terminology are irrelevant, then why did their lawyer use them and why was this specific language quoted by Bechizza? And none of the posts here are saying that what the police did was right.
That isn't true at all. If you shoot someone and they go down on the ground, you don't keep shooting at the fallen, still person. "Shoot to kill" as I said elsewhere, doesn't mean "If someone is bleeding out on the ground put two more in their head to make sure they are dead." It doesn't mean that once you start shooting you aren't allowed to go home until the death certificate is issued. It simply means shoot for center mass and don't try to minimize your chance of killing them.
"Execution style" is a loaded term for sure, but the relevant question is whether Michael Brown had thrown up his arms in surrender when he was fatally shot. There were two accounts of the shooting - the police one and the one witnesses gave. Since the initial police account was that they shot at fleeing suspects who had attempted to assault them. The witnesses say Michael Brown threw up his arms in the air in surrender and the police officer opened fire. Which of these two stories does six bullets into the front of the body match?
"Execution Style" may mean a specific pose to you, a pose which, SirCracked pointed out, is not the pose people shot in when they are actually executed. But I think people could be given leeway to use the term "Execution Style" to refer to any shooting of a person who has surrendered.
There's an account going around now (in FB groups that support the officer who shot Brown) that Brown had turned and was charging back when he was shot. First mention I saw of this narrative was right before the release of this medical report.
I don't know if that's accurate. It could fit the findings of bullet wounds to the right arm and head (if his arm was extended and head lowered in a charge). It could also be wishful thinking on the part of those who support the police in this.
Either way, it doesn't justify the volume of fire, the failure of the officer to account for his surroundings, or certainly the heavy-handed police response after the fact. But the wounds could support multiple scenarios, with either Brown or the officer as the "bad guy."
I just came here to say this - my husband is on the other side of the political fence from me and he told me this scenario last night. He said that if it is true that Brown was turning back toward the police, it would be considered a clean shoot.
I've heard quite a lot through him and books he leaves lying around about the emotional responses people have when they have to fire a weapon in an actual situation, and how people's perception of what is happening is tremendously distorted by the stress of the situation, and particularly the timing of events gets way out of whack with what you can see later on a camera. It sounds like a lot of officers do not get enough training to help them override the misperceptions they will have in an actual threat scenario. From what I have learned through him, the only time I'd ever want to fire a gun would be if I had seriously trained for a threat situation because when you are scared, you just don't see the world in a normal way, and then police officers have all kinds of legal concerns they have to keep in mind right at the moment of high stress to make sure it's a clean shot according to the law.
It's becoming less clear that he surrendered, since there is some evidence he may have been charging at the officer, which might also explain the downward trajectory.
If you really think that the lawyer was using "execution style" to simply refer to someone being shot after they surrendered, why is the placement in the top of the head important in showing it was "execution style," especially since there is no GSR on Brown?
Six bullets in the front definitely doesn't match Dorian Johnson's and Tiffany Mitchell's story that Brown was first shot in the back. And the reality is that there are more than two stories out there, and more than one "witness" story. There's also an overheard conversation on a cell-phone video taken shortly after the shooting where one guy said that he started to run, then turned around and started back towards the police car. You can hear it here. Then there's Ms. Mitchell saying that there was a scuffle through the window of the police car, which Mr. Johnson's initial story totally denies.
It's not like what happened is totally clear. And while this by no means justifies the killing of Mr. Brown, it's also not the case that because the police have acted odiously deceptive ways that the accounts given by his friend and some other eyewitnesses are completely accurate, either.
Well, based on the bullets hitting the lower side of his arm, in the diagram, it would seem that Brown's hands were up when he was shot.
police are not trained to shoot to subdue or wound, they are trained to shoot to kill and to fire as many bullets as it takes to kill.
I'm reminded of an article I read about a man with a handgun outside of the White House:
A man brandishing a gun just outside the White House grounds was shot in the leg and subdued by Secret Service agents.
So is your argument that the law enforcement officers in that case were improperly trained, or just bad at their job?
The elephant in the room is that all the wounds are in the front. Brown was clearly not running away from the officer. That completely obliterates the narrative. Was he charging the officer? Maybe. I have no idea. And, neither does any other member of the public at this point.
As to "execution style", at this stage in the proceedings that is an irresponsible allegation. Is it theoretically possible? Yes. But, to make that implication at this point is a clear indication that the author is more interested in condemning the police than ferreting out the facts. There are a number of circumstances that could result in a wound of that type. He could have been charging, head down. He could have been falling or twisting. As to the wound in the arm being evidence of having his hand raised, that is another unjustified conclusion. Is it possible. Yes. But, he may have flung his arm out running, or in reaction to being shot.
If, as has not been disputed, there was a physical confrontation at the vehicle, and if, as alleged, Brown was charging the officer, it is quite clear that shooting would have been justified.
As to the number of wounds, the police are trained to fire until the threat is neutralized. And, a century of analysis of combat has indicated that, once an officer, soldier, or person defending his or her life, starts shooting, it's common human nature to fire repeatedly. It happens. It's not a symptom of malice, or of evil.
It's possible that the officer erred. But, it's also realistically possible that the officer did not err. Hopefully time will reveal the truth. If the officer did shoot Brown in cold blood, then he deserves to be jailed. But, what if the shooting is justified? One thing is now indisputable. The witness who claimed that Brown was running away was lying.
The thing I find absolutely revolting is the rush to judgement. People have been shot. Businesses have been looted. A community is being traumatized far beyond the effects of the initial shooting. And, this is due to people jumping to conclusions and pushing their narrative. In citizens, it's lamentable. In the press, it's inexcusable.
Again, pure speculation. Even if it's true that the wounds indicate that his hands were up, there are lots of reasons that might explain his hands being up; surrendering, trying to block his body from the shots, holding them up in a menacing manner... A lot can be figured out from forensics, but not everything and it's best to leave any conclusions to the forensic scientists.
This assumes that "turning back towards the police" was not in fact complying with their order to turn around and put his hands up, or that he did so without actually menacing the officer. It's a perfectly normal reaction, for instance, to turn around when someone's shouting at you even if they are shouting "do not turn around" - especially if you don't think you've done anything wrong or that there's any reason that they would shoot you in broad daylight just for turning around.
I also take issue, not with you, but with the very phrase "it would be considered a clean shot" - this is the kind of language that reflects and reinforces law enforcement thinking "If I shoot this person, will I be able to justify it?" rather than what should be the thinking "Should I shoot this person?" or "Is this person actually a danger to me or anyone else?" If the training police receive or even the language they use is all about "you can justify shooting in this circumstance" then it only makes it more likely that officers will use deadly force whenever they can, instead of only when the must.
Probably bad at their job. Nobody is ever trained to aim at the leg to subdue a person brandishing a handgun. Center mass is where the shots go in any situation that justifies the use of deadly force. That's why you don't see a lot of legs on gun range shooting targets.
This alleges to be what Darren Wilson wrote to his facebook friends before deleting it. I have no evidence to it's veracity. I'm actually skeptical that if officer Wilson did have a FB that he wouldn't have changed his avatar pic.
From the article:
The police tell of an officer who was enforcing the minor violation of jaywalking, as Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson ignored the sidewalk and strolled down the middle of the road instead.
I've never see a person stopped for jaywalking nor met someone who was cited for it.
The police officer who claimed Brown was running away was lying. The police version of events was that the officer shot him while he was running away, not including anything that indicates that he turned around. The witness accounts I've read say he was shot at while running but then surrendered. This absolutely destroys the police version of events.
It's possible that a man would charge a police officer and the police officer would shoot him. But I think it's stretching plausibility just a bit that a police officer, having shot someone who charged him, would then lie and say he shot someone who was running away. If you shot yourself because someone was imminently physically threatening you (something you could get away with in many places even if you weren't police) why would you make up a story of how the shooting happened that 1) would be disproven later; and 2) puts the legitimacy of the shoot in greater question.
Look, no one has evidence to convict anyone in a court of law in front of me. But I think it's completely absurd to say that this report is not damning for the police officer who shot him. And yes, generally, people do tend to jump from "coverup" to the conclusion that someone did something wrong.
Yes, days after the incident, just before the release of a medical report that would prove his initial story was not true, the officer must have suddenly remembers that he shot Brown when brown turned around to charge him. "Oh yeah!" he said, "That guy was attacking me when I shot him. I forgot all about that."
Lending more credence to this story is the fact that black teenagers, upon seeing a gun pointed at them, to charge towards the gun.
I believe you missed Nylund's point: Yes, they most probably did not hit where they were aiming, but once the target was down and no longer posed a threat, they stopped shooting. You suggested that "shoot to kill" implies "keep shooting until dead".
To my completely untrained eyes, this looks anything but "execution style". It looks more like someone panic firing as they are pulling their gun, pulling to the left with every shot and not getting into proper firing position before pulling the trigger. The bullets are just raked across his right side and the wound on the top of the head was likely the last one, made as he was falling over from the pain and shock of getting shot 5 times in rapid succession.
I'm a little curious how big the mag is on a police issue pistol in Ferguson. I'd bet dollars to donuts that however big it was, it was empty by the time Mr. Brown hit the ground.
I have to agree. That wound could be in that position because Brown was toppling over just before it was fired. I think that calling it "execution style" is hyperbole at best.
This simply demonstrates the well-known liberal bias of independent autopsies.