Rodney, Treyvon, Michael Brown and Us

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After a high speed car chase, five LA cops took positions around Rodney King. Four of them beat the crap out of him while the fifth just watched and made no attempt to intercede. The four were charged in state court with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. They were acquitted. Two of them subsequently went to prison following their convictions in federal court for civil rights violations. Apparently, along with King, some civil rights were beaten up by those thugs. The other three cops got away with savagely beating a defenseless man.

Armed only with a package of Skittles and a soft drink, Treyvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman, who claimed he was “standing his ground.” That, it seems, is the thing to do after identifying someone as a bad guy through positive identification of his hoodie, then stalking him. Zimmerman got away with murder.

Now Officer Darren Wilson has managed to avoid even a trial following his killing of Michael Brown.

When St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision and delivered his ass covering statement, I flashed on a video that was released shortly after Brown was killed. It showed two construction workers who just happened to be working next to the killing zone. They are shown yelling at Officer Wilson, saying, “His f****** hands were up.” Another voice yells, “He was no f****** threat at all.” These guys were clearly aghast that the cop kept shooting at a submissive and wounded Brown. BTW, they are white guys. It seems some white guys in Missouri know the difference between right and wrong. I’m wondering if any St. Louis County officials do.

We know that the prosecutor presented both sides of the case, the prosecution and the defense, to the grand jury, something that is pretty much never done. The prosecutor’s job is to get an indictment and that’s always – except this time – done by presenting only the incriminating evidence. And after Officer Wilson gave his contradictory, inconsistent and self-serving testimony, the prosecutors didn’t even cross-examine him. That’s not the path to an indictment. What was McCulloch thinking?

We know that McCulloch’s prosecutors gave no recommendation to the jury as to how to charge Officer Wilson. That is odd to the point of being singular. The prosecutor always directs the grand jury to the criminal charge that is sought. McCulloch just let the members of the jury fumble through their ignorance of the law and try to figure out what to do. Now, why would McCulloch be so passive and even neglectful in his duties?

Here’s Human Being 101:

1. When we don’t have all the information, we make up stuff to fill in the blanks, because we just can’t stand not knowing. For example, when some guy cuts you off in traffic, even though all you know is that you were cut off, you instantly “know” the mental limitations of that idiot.

2. When we are anxious, afraid or angry, the stuff we make up is always negative. Trust me on this. When your kid is out past curfew and you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling, you’re not thinking about the good time your kid is having. You’re wondering if you should call the police or the hospital emergency room.

Applying that understanding to the behavior of the prosecuting attorney, we can and probably do make up all sorts of stuff to explain what happened. My noggin goes directly to asking who benefits from this kind of sloppy prosecutorial behavior, this by a fellow with a reputation for being a strong prosecutor and also for having a racially – let’s call it “flexible” – history. This is the same guy who, when implored to appoint a special prosecutor in the Brown case in order to avoid both the substance and the appearance of bias, refused. Really, now, who benefits from that and from the deeply crappy and one-of-a-kind unusual prosecution?

I know who doesn’t benefit and it’s us, including the next unarmed kid who gets gunned down by a cop or a cop wanna be.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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2 Responses to Rodney, Treyvon, Michael Brown and Us
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I know that the info in this article is accurate as far as it goes; however, like all of the rest of us, it doesn’t have all of the information. Granted, the “story” told by Wilson was beyond self-serving in its final form (I say final form since it changed at least twice over the 3 months since the shooting of Michael Brown); it was downright creative.

    But the truth is as elusive as the variety of the fictions that were made up. What we, the general public, don’t know about this case as well as the Treyvon Martin case would fill volumes. Sticking to the Michael Brown case, IF there were witnesses, were they called to and did they testify before the grand jury? If not, why not? If so and if they testified to what the quotes say that they saw, how the Hell could the grand jury come back with no charges against Officer Wilson? In the patrol car or outside the car? How many shots were actually fired? How many rounds hit Michael Brown? At what angles? Where are the forensics? Why weren’t they reported?

    The list of questions goes on and on. Without the answers to these and the rest of the questions there is no way that the general public, and me in particular, can ever determine who did what to whom and with what provocation. It is certainly wrong to shoot an unarmed person but what if that person is attacking and/or trying to strangle the person with the gun? What if Brown was just walking toward the police car to explain what he was doing in that location? What if Wilson is a bigoted murderer and the grand jury just let him loose to kill another black or brown or yellow person? Too many what ifs.

    • JaxPolitix Reply

      The court has released thousands of pages of documentation from the grand jury proceedings and, as might be expected, they raise as many questions as they answer. For example, during his presentation announcing the verdict of the grand jury, prosecutor McCulloch made the point repeatedly that several eyewitness testimonies proved to be contradictory and even false. My reaction at the time was to question why the prosecution would bring unreliable witnesses before the grand jury and then expose them as unreliable. That doesn’t help the prosecution. Apparently, that prosecutorial behavior is detailed in those thousands of pages leaving us with the follow-on question, “Why?”