Updated Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 3:45 p.m. EDT: Earlier today, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, who uncovered the U.S. District Court document this article was based on, tweeted the following:
Lowery understandably disagrees with some of the conclusions found in our original article. It is not unusual for two parties to hear testimony and reach two separate conclusions. To be fair, in reporting on the document, I intentionally didn’t read his analysis of the court papers, so as not to have my conclusions shaded by his interpretation.
Lowery goes on to point out a few places where he disagrees with the characterization of the facts.
We disagree. It may be a mistake or a subject of interpretation to assume that Michael Brown did not “reach for the gun” based on then-Police Officer Darren Wilson’s admission that Brown never tried to remove Wilson’s gun from the holster, but based on the definition of the word “try,” it is definitely within reason.
Lowery is correct. Wilson only concedes that he “grabbed for Michael Brown’s body” and “grabs for Michael Brown’s arm.” It does not speak to what happened before this.
Here is the crux of Lowery’s point, and where we actually agree: Lowery’s argument is that Wilson’s admissions do not contradict his grand jury testimony, and he is correct. Lowery is speaking to the facts of the case concerning Wilson’s testimony.
This article wasn’t about that.
This article addressed what everyone believed about the incident. It is clearly laid out in the first paragraph (see below). This article was about the general public’s perception about the Michael Brown case, how the image of Brown had been twisted to make him a police-attacking demon. How the general public believed that Wilson apprehended suspects on their way from a robbery and had to shoot the robber who reached for his gun.
Wilson had over a month with lawyers and counsel to either tell the truth or fabricate the details of what happened. Even when he testified, it was in secret, and he was questioned by prosecutors who had been his co-workers only a few weeks before. He will never face judgment for Brown’s murder as long as he lives. Meanwhile, in the eyes of America, Michael Brown died an 18-year-old, police-accosting criminal.
Lowery is 100 percent correct: I made assumptions. I did not tell the complete truth about the Michael Brown case. I did not give all the facts.
Because neither I nor Lowery knows them.
Here is the story of Michael Brown’s murder that we all believed: One sunny day in Ferguson, Mo., a huge behemoth of a man named Michael Brown walked into a convenience store; committed a strong-arm robbery, escaping with the invaluable loot of a pack of cigarillos; and while he was walking home, Darren Wilson, a brave cop responding to the robbery, stopped him.
When Wilson tried to detain Brown, Brown reached for the cop’s gun and the policeman shot him. But Brown wouldn’t quit, and the officer thought that Brown might have a weapon, so Wilson shot a few more times to stop Brown from harming him.
“What happened in Ferguson is that a man committed a robbery, attempted to assault a police officer, and the police officer—to save his life—shot him. The police officer did his duty. The officer should be commended for what he did.” —Rudy Giuliani on Fox News, March 12, 2015
Except none of that happened.
After a documentarian released video this past weekend that dispels the myth of the Mike Brown corner-store robbery, more information is emerging about the n-word-using patrolman who was accused of racial discrimination and excessive force even before he pumped at least six bullets into Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, killing him. New court papers reveal that Brown never tried to take the officer’s gun, never struck the officer and did not initiate any contact with Wilson, who was cleared of wrongdoing by a secret grand jury in November 2014.
As part of a civil suit filed last year against Wilson, a court document reveals some stunning admissions from the former Ferguson police officer. In a court docket filed Dec. 28, the cop who killed Brown admitted to using racial slurs, cursing at Brown before he was killed and grabbing him without provocation.
According to the document, Wilson acknowledges that he spotted Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson on Canfield Drive on Aug. 9. He will not admit that they were engaged in any criminal activity other than jaywalking. He pulled his police car over, blocking the path of the teenager and his friend.
The officer does not dispute the fact that he didn’t radio anyone before stopping the two pedestrians and telling Brown to “get the fuck back” after opening the police door. It is disputed whether the door ricocheted back into Wilson or whether Brown closed the door himself, but the policeman goes through the details of the encounter:
33. During this encounter you reached through the window.
34. During this encounter you grabbed for Michael Brown’s body.
35. During this encounter you grab for Michael Brown’s clothing
36. You eventually grabbed Michael Brown’s forearm
37. You eventually grabbed Michael Brown’s t-shirt
Let’s examine this:
Two men are walking down the street. A cop pulls in front of them, blocking their path. Instead of calling for backup or radioing in a traffic stop, he opens his car door and either Brown closes it or it ricochets off of Brown’s body. The officer then chooses to reach through his window and grab the suspect by his arm and body.
The next section of the document contains a stunning admission:
Wait a minute.
Wilson had a gun, and Brown is hanging inside the car. Brown does not reach for the officer’s gun, and the cop admits that Brown’s only weapon was his big scary, black self. The document goes on to show that—instead of reaching for his pepper spray, baton or Taser—Wilson pulled out his gun and admits to shooting Brown, even though Brown had not reached for his weapon or struck him.
The next part of the testimony will confound the conservatives who stated that Wilson did not shoot Brown in the back. Wilson admits that after the first shot, Brown started running away from him and he fired another shot, which missed Brown. Wilson basically admits that he fired at Brown and the bullet hit a building close by.
Wilson agrees that after the second bullet was fired, the teen turned around, faced the officer and—although Wilson was trained in “defensive tactics and techniques”—began shooting as soon as Brown started running toward him.
He fired 10 times.
After shooting Brown in the face, Wilson kept firing, shooting him again in the top of the head.
The deposition goes on to pose a series of questions to Wilson, revealing his past conduct as a police officer and the culture of the Ferguson Police Department as a whole:
I’m sure this news will comfort the family, friends and loved ones of Brown, who only got 18 years on this earth, while the man who shot him rests comfortably in the free house he bought with the $500,000 in donations he received from supporters, who rewarded him for shooting the teen. While the Brown family still mourns their son, Wilson spends most of his time with his wife, who helped him bag his gun as evidence after he shot Brown, and their brand-new child.