Darren Wilson’s radio calls do not support a claim of self-defense

November 17, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Good morning:

Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 sometime between 12:02 pm, when he told dispatch, “Put me on Canfield with two. [an apparent reference to stopping Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson] And send me another car,” and 12:03 pm when someone posted a tweet about the shooting.

His radio calls do not support his claim of self-defense.

According to a timeline in the St.Louis Dispatch,

11:53 am

Police dispatcher reports a “stealing in progress” at the Ferguson Market.

11:53:19 am

Dispatcher reports that the suspect stole a box of Swisher cigars and describes him as a black male wearing a white T-shirt running toward QuikTrip.

11:57 pm

The dispatcher reports that the suspect is wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks and khaki shorts, and is accompanied by another man.

12:00 pm

Wilson reports that he’s back in service from the sick-baby call. He then asks the officers searching for the thieves – units 25 and 22 – if they need him.

12:00:07 pm

An unidentified officer broadcasts that the suspects had disappeared.

12:02 pm

Wilson says, “21. Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car.”

Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson has told authorities that before the radio call he had stopped to tell Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, to quit walking down the middle of the street. They kept walking, and he then realized that Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call.

12:02:41 pm

Unit 25 reports that he is about to arrive at Wilson’s location, saying he is “going out on Canfield” and accompanied by the sound of his racing engine.

12:02:48 pm

Unit 22 reports that he has arrived at the scene.

12:23 pm

Someone tweets about the shooting.

My Observations

1) The 911 caller reported a theft of a box of Swisher cigars, which is a misdemeanor shoplift, not a robbery.

2) Wilson’s statement to the dispatcher, “Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car,” does not indicate why he stopped the two people. For example, he may have intended to issue them citations for jaywalking and he may have called for backup as a precaution because the two boys had disobeyed him. His post-shooting explanation (i.e., that he realized Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call after they ignored his order to get out of the middle of the street) may or may not be true. I suspect he lied about that because he did not fill out an offense report explaining why he decided to stop them and the police chief publicly stated that Wilson did not know they were the two suspects.

3) Wilson shot and killed Brown sometime between 12:02 pm, when he asked for backup, and 12:03 pm, when someone tweeted about the shooting. I suspect it happened before 12:02:41, when the officer in vehicle 25 reported that he was going on Canfield and 12:02:48, when the officer in vehicle 22 reported that he had arrived at the scene and was out of his vehicle. Apparently, neither officer witnessed the shooting, so I am inferring that it happened before they arrived.

4) I am not convinced that Wilson suffered any injuries during his encounter with Brown. If so, they are not apparent in the videos from the police station.

5) I believe the most likely explanation for what happened is Wilson backed-up, stopped and pushed his door open intending to get out and confront the two boys. The door hit both boys and Brown pushed it back hitting Wilson in the head as he was attempting to get out. Wilson lost his temper and reached through the open window with his left hand grabbing and holding on to Brown’s arm as he drew his gun with his right hand and pointed it toward Brown. Brown attempted to prevent Wilson from shooting him but was unsuccessful as one of the two shots injured his right hand. This explanation is consistent with Dorian Johnson’s description of what happened and also consistent with the autopsy report and the presence of gunshot residue on Brown’s right hand.

6) Brown broke free from Wilson’s grip and ran away to avoid being shot a second time. Dorian Johnson also ran.

7) Wilson gave chase squeezing off shots at Brown.

8) Brown realized he was not going to get away, so he stopped, turned around and was raising his hands as he dropped to his knees to surrender.

9) Wilson kept shooting and finished him off as Brown was leaning forward looking at the ground as he dropped to his knees. This version is consistent with Brown’s injuries.

10) Brown’s body was about 100 feet from Wilson’s vehicle, which makes it extremely unlikely that he bull-rushed Wilson.

11) Finally, I do not believe a person who literally ran for his life after having been shot, would suddenly stop fleeing, turn around and bull-rush the shooter.

As I have said many times, there is probable cause to believe that Wilson intentionally shot and killed Brown in the heat of anger.

Wilson should be indicted and tried for murder.

Brown’s family and the people who live in Ferguson deserve no less.


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