A Lot of Things About “Everything You Think You Know About the Death of Mike Brown Is Wrong” is Wrong. Here’s What’s Right.
Let me preface this.
The Michael Brown killing was the first police brutality case that I followed in-depth. I followed every update of this case, from the day it happened past the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. The conservative and police apologist narrative surrounding Mike Brown’s killing has always been pretty apparent to me as demonstrable bullshit.
So I was interested in the information that this article from The Root purported to have — revelatory documents completely dispelling key points of the story many use to justify Mike Brown’s death.
I read the piece with interest, and then clicked through to the source, a document that the author should have spent more time examining before he published. The supposed revelations of the Root piece turn out in fact to range from leaps of logic to blatant misreadings of the document.
After being called out by the reporter who uncovered the document, the author has since updated his piece with a weak, halfway mea culpa that doesn’t properly address the piece’s failures. He finishes it with:
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.
But simply making assumptions is far from the article’s only problems. Just for two examples:
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.
Wilson actually denies the opposite of this.
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, again, “admits” the opposite.
These are two incredibly critical points to the supposed revelation the Root author is trying to support here. It severely undermines the author’s credibility that he got them completely ass-backwards.
But does that mean that this tweet is correct?
Not quite; he just didn’t know he saw it.
This isn’t surprising. It requires several other parts to connect, but this document does contain a section which critically contradicts an important part of Darren Wilson’s story.
This seems like a fairly minor point, so why the objection? Why the invocation of attorney-client privilege? Well, this could be why:
More specifically blue dots #19 and #20:
This set of answers confirms the furthest that Brown ran before he turned around, and thus establishes the approximate distance that he came back:
Just to cement this, Wilson actually confirms the location with this part of his testimony:
So does this conflict with Wilson’s account of Mike Brown’s running at him? The claim that supposedly justified the actual shots that killed him?
It does when you add one more, heavily under-discussed piece of evidence:
That is, by all indications, the visualization of the last 10 shots Wilson fired at Brown away from the car, recorded by chance over a nearby voice chat. It’s 6.572 seconds long; the first 6 shots occur within two seconds, there’s a 3-second pause, and then the last 4 happen in the final 2 seconds.
According to Darren Wilson’s statements, Brown ran into the first six shots, barely even fazed by the hits and continuing this pace as Wilson began retreating, until he was killed by the last four shots.
So let’s place the distance from the blood to the body at~30 ft, as reported. Based on a combination of forensics and Wilson’s testimony, Brown traveled that in approximately 6.5 seconds, without stopping. That works out to 4.6 feet per second, or 3.2 miles per hour — a tenth above the overall average walking speed.
If Mike Brown had been strolling towards Darren Wilson, he could have covered 30 feet in 6.7 seconds. He would have covered that distance in 12 walking steps, if he’d had the overall average walking stride of 62 inches, or about 2.5 feet per step, rather than that of a 6'4" person.
None of this would be as damning if Wilson hadn’t told this lie the way he did — Brown starts running, he starts shooting, he pauses, Brown keeps running, he starts backing up and shooting. It might have been a reasonable conclusion that he saw Brown take a step, interpreted it as a charge, and started shooting, if it weren’t for that pause.
How long would it have taken Michael Brown to cover 30 feet at a brisk jog, say 6 miles an hour (13.2 feet per second)? About 2.5 seconds, on average. By Wilson’s own words, he didn’t begin firing until after Brown started running, and after he told Brown to get on the ground. And remember, he didn’t begin to step back until after the first volley of shots, and then issued another set of “get on the ground” commands before firing.
Even if we assume that Wilson could issue commands in half a second, if Brown was moving towards him at any sort of speed over that distance he would have been on top of him at the end of the first six shots, if not sooner. But he wasn’t.
I’ll leave you with a few other gems from the document: