Thursday, November 27, 2014

One-Chart Summary Of Every Ferguson Eyewitness' Grand Jury Testimony

Michael brown mother

A one-chart summary of every Ferguson eyewitness's grand jury testimony

Ferguson grand jury eyewitnesses
This great PBS NewsHour chart shows an analysis of the eyewitness testimony provided to the grand jury that investigated the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The chart shows many contradictions between some eyewitnesses — and lots of questions that went unanswered in different interviews.
There are two key points of near agreement: Brown was facing Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson as he was fired upon, and Brown did have his hands up during his final moments.
St. Louis County Attorney Robert McCulloch has questioned the validity of the eyewitness testimony. During a Monday night press conference, McCulloch said some of the witnesses changed their stories, and that the physical evidence disproved some of their claims.
Vox's Amanda Taub explained why this was so unusual for a prosecutor who has full control of the evidence presented to a grand jury:
If McCulloch believed that this evidence was not credible, then why did he present it to the grand jury? It is perhaps understandable that he would have presented evidence with only minor credibility issues, in order to let the grand jury evaluate it. But McCulloch referenced "witnesses" who had only heard about the shooting from their neighbors, or from the media. It is hard to imagine a reason why it would have been reasonable to present that evidence to the grand jury.
And if McCulloch didn't present that testimony to the grand jury, then why discuss it during the press conference? What would be the purpose of bringing it up at all? By attacking the credibility of the eyewitnesses to the shooting, most, if not all, of whom had been publicly critical of Wilson, McCulloch gave the impression that he was acting as an advocate for Wilson.
Whatever the case, the grand jury also didn't appear to buy into the testimony of the eyewitnesses — and they ultimately decided to let Wilson go without a trial.

What are the Ferguson protests about?

Michael Brown was an 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. Brown, who was college-bound and had no criminal record, was unarmed.
Brown's killing and the subsequent events in Ferguson have become a national controversy touching on much larger national issues of race, justice, and police violence.
The shooting almost immediately triggered protests in the St. Louis suburb, as demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against what many saw as yet another example of police brutality against young black men, for which Ferguson has a troubling record.
Michael brown motherTears roll down the cheek of Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown. 
The situation subsequently escalated and drew national attention when police reacted to protesters, even those acting peacefully, with military-grade equipment, such as armored vehicles, tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound cannons.
One of major demands of protesters was to get prosecutors to put Wilson on trial for the Brown shooting. But a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after three months of deliberations — in what many saw as a deeply flawed, biased investigation led by local officials with close ties to law enforcement.
The investigation into the shooting, inherently secretive grand jury proceedings, and subsequent reactions by local officials further worsened ties between local residents and their government, which is controlled by mostly white politicians despite Ferguson's majority black population.
The events in Ferguson captured national attention because, in many ways, they're indicative of the racial disparities many Americans, particularly minorities, see in the criminal justice system on a daily basis. While the specifics of the Brown shooting involve just one teen and one police officer in a small St. Louis suburb, the circumstances surrounding Brown's death replicate a fear commonly held by many parents — that black lives matter less, particularly in the face of increasingly heavily armed police who are carry tremendous legal freedom in whether they can shoot a suspect they merely perceive as dangerous.

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