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by Peter Moskos

December 17, 2014

The real Michael Brown

Yesterday I had a nice walk and dinner with a good group of cops who were to appear on CNN's Cops Under Fire about cops who have been involved in shootings. I also met Darren Wilson's lawyer. So I asked him a few things about Officer Wilson and Michael Brown.

The decisive evidence? Brown's actual skin on the slide and hammer of Wilson's gun -- pretty damning -- and blood on the street showing that Brown did indeed charge Wilson where Wilson said.

I also asked the lawyer about a picture and a video floating around the web that purport to show Michael Brown doing bad things. The picture is of Michael Brown with guns, drugs, and money. That *is* Michael Brown. [Correction, that is *not* Michael Brown.] The video of "Michael Brown" beating down a defenseless person is *not* Michael Brown.


David Woycechowsky said...

The decisive evidence? Brown's actual skin on the slide and hammer of Wilson's gun -- pretty damning -- and blood on the street showing that Brown did indeed charge Wilson . . .

This does sound like powerful evidence. Wish I had the same confidence in the integrity of this evidence as Wilson's lawyer does. Trial would have been good.

On another Brown related note: Finally watched the full video of the cigar stealing. While he did end up stealing cigars, it does not look like he set out to steal cigars. He certainly returned a lot more cigars to the shop's counter than he ended up stealing. And the pushing of the shopkeeper looks like it was more about establishing his prerogative to leave the store, than it was about getting away with the cigars that he was in the process of picking up off the floor when the shopkeeper went to block the exit.

Moskos said...

"He did not set out to steal cigars"? Now it sounds like you're just trolling. He was stealing cigars according the testimony of his friend!

David Woycechowsky said...

I said that he did end up stealing cigars. What looks like happened is that he was returning the cigars to the counter when the shopkeeper decided to block him in the store. More specifically, he returned both cigar boxes to the counter and was then picking fallen cigars up off the floor when the shopkeeper decided to block the door. At that point, it looks like Brown shifted gears and stopped picking cigars up off of the floor and pushed by the shopkeeper to get out of the store. He ended up walking out with a handful of cigars, but it looked like his primary intention was to get out of the store and not have the shopkeeper come chasing after him.

Not saying that Brown was in the right, but it doesn't look like he intended to steal cigars when he returned the two boxes and when he started picking cigars up off the floor.

You have to watch the unedited video (the 1'40" version, its on YouTube) to see this.

Moskos said...

I have watched the video. I also read the testimony. You know, where his friend says something like "I can't believe he was robbing those cigars!"

I also like how after Brown has a clear exit (after pushing the guy out of his way), Brown goes back at the store owner a bit, just to punk him. 'What you gonna do?'-style.

Look, I'll debate with you on a lot of issues. But I'm not going to waste any more time about whether or not Brown committed a robbery and assault in the store. Nor do I care what his intentions were when he first entered the story.

This is from his friend's testimony:

"Now, at this time I still didn't think that he was not going to pay for them…. It wasn't until he went back the second time and grabbed a handful of the single Cigarillos. Now first he grabbed the box and the store clerk did nothing, this time he was going back to grab the single Cigarillos. As he was coming back, the store clerk did a late response and he swung at his hand, but he missed because he was so late, he smacked the counter.

We were, the time where he snatched back and the store clerk missed, he kind of hit the top of some Cigarillos, which made some of them fall. And Big Mike turned to pick them up, and as he picked those up, he faced towards the door, that's when I know okay, something is not right here."

David Woycechowsky said...

Interested witness who doesn't want to be charged as with a robbery. Not real relevant to what Brown's intentions were.

And I don't think the shopkeeper would have been pushed if he wasn't blocking the exit. Whether the shopkeeper had a right to block the exit, at the time he blocked the exit, is an interesting legal question and may also be the reason that he did not report the theft. Shopkeeper's rights to arrest (and that is what we are talking about here) are pretty limited in most places.

I think Brown was angry at the shopkeeper for trying to block him in the store and didn't want him following him around the neighborhood.

bacchys said...

The picture with guns and money isn't Michael Brown. It's a fake started by a Kansas City cop named Marc Catron.


Ebenezer Scrooge said...

One of the biggest problems with the Ferguson mess is that it conflates several very different issues:
1. Was Officer Wilson guilty of a crime, or at least was there probable cause to that effect?
2. Is Ferguson a cesspit of structural racism?
3. Was Michael Brown a good guy (whatever that means)?
4. Was the official structure of Ferguson & St. Louis County out to whitewash Officer Wilson?
5. Is local law enforcement incompetent?
fwiw, my answers are:
1. Certainly not guilty for the first shot; for subsequent shots, see #4. I believe that this point is our host's main concern.
2. Yes.
3. Somewhere between choirboy and stone thug; not at either extreme.
4. Beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, just as it is possible to frame a guilty man, it is also possible to whitewash an innocent man.
5. Yes, again beyond a reasonable doubt.

Anonymous said...

So you let the libel stand? Snopes has the goods that it is a lie perpetrated by a cop.

Bill Cromer said...

David Woycechowsky has analyzed the video correctly. Allow me to take his analysis a step further.

The manager gave Brown the first box which he handed to Johnson. Then the manager told Brown he would have to pay for that box before he would give him another box. Brown was offended, and to make a point, he grabbed that second box and stepped back away from the counter. The box however opened during the scuffle and some pouches (cigars) fell out onto the floor.

Having made his point, Brown stepped forward and put the second box on the counter. Johnson, following his lead, put the first box on the counter. Moments later the manager removed both boxes from the counter [only the managers hand can be seen taking the boxes].

When Brown and Johnson start to leave, Brown noticed cigars on the floor and stoops down twice trying to recover them. There is no reason to believe, considering Brown and Johnson just put two boxes on the counter, that Brown was not going to put these pouches on the counter as well.

While Brown is down trying to pick up cigars on the floor - twelve seconds pass during this period - the manager gets his keys to the door, comes out from behind the counter, passes by Brown, and positions himself between Brown and the exit. NOTE HERE THAT BROWN WAS PICKING UP CIGARS ON THE FLOOR AND WAS NOT STEALING CIGARS!

When Brown stands up he is face to face with the manager and confronted with a fast developing possibility of being locked in the store. It’s illegal - false imprisonment - for the manager to stop Brown from leaving. It’s also illegal - assault - for the manager to put his on Browns chest, grab Browns hand which is on the bar that opens the door -here’s when Brown pushed the manager - or grab Browns elbow while Brown was walking out. The manager has pushed or grabbed Brown at least three times when Brown turned and walked toward him - his actions clearly saying, “Don’t put your hands on me again!“

Note: Watch the glass at back of store and see reflection of Brown pushing the clerk. Then see Brown push the clerk again eight seconds later. In other words, less then two seconds lapse from the time Brown stood up and moves toward the door and when Brown pushes the clerk. Meaning the clerk put his hand on Browns chest almost immediately when Brown stood up. The cops edited the video to make it look like Brown was not provoked or assaulted prior to pushing the clerk.

David Woycechowsky said...

In a criminal trial of Wilson, iould have been interesting to see whether they could have produced the party, or at least the 911 recording, of the person who allegedly called police about the strong arm robbery.

Bill Cromer said...

November article entitled "Darren Wilson's radio calls show fatal encounter was brief," has a 1153 report (911 call) where you can hear dispatcher in background asking caller, "A box of what?

David Woycechowsky said...

Thanks, Bill. I am glad that part is legit anyway.

Bill Cromer said...

Police reports are interesting:

(1) The video reveals Brown enter the store followed by Johnson. Brown approaches the register with Johnson standing behind him. XXXX can be seen in the background walking from the restroom to behind the counter. Brown hands a box of Swisher Sweets to Johnson. An apparent struggle or confrontation seems to take place with Brown. however it is obscured by a display case on the counter. Meanwhile, Johnson sets the box he was handed back on the counter. Brown turns away from the counter with another box of Swisher Sweets cigars and walks toward the exit door. XXXX then comes out from behind the counter, with what appears to be a set of keys in his hands. XXXX then stands between Brown and the exit door. Brown, still holding a box of Swisher Sweets in his right hand, grabs XXXX by his shirt with his left hand. Brown aggressively pulls XXXX in close to him and then immediately pushes him back into a display rack. Johnson continues out the door and out of camera frame. XXXX no longer between Brown and the door, stops and watches Brown as he walks toward the door. Brown then abruptly turns back around and advances on XXXX. Brown towers over XXXX appearing to intimidate him. Brown then turns back around and walks out of camera view.

(2) XXXX had just come out of the restroom and returned to the counter where she observed Brown tell XXXX, that he (Brown) wanted several boxes of cigars. As XXXX was placing the boxes on the counter, Brown grabbed a box of Swisher Sweet cigars and handed them to Johnson who was standing behind Brown. XXXX witnessed XXXX tell Brown that he had to pay for those cigars first. That is when Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets and turned to leave the store. XXXX then calls “911.” Meanwhile, XXXX comes out from behind the counter and attempts to stop Brown from leaving. According to XXXX, XXXX was trying to lock the door until Brown returned the merchandise to him. That is when Brown grabbed XXXX by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back into a display rack. XXXX backed away and Brown and Johnson exited the store with the cigars.

Anonymous said...

Pete, Your a saint for allowing trolls who know nothing about law enforcement, legal matters, and police tactics spew venom and hatred with zero common sense. Police respond to radio calls. He robbed the store of cigars, but even if he hadn't as some of the trolls state, it came in as a robbery and the officers have to handle it accordingly. Wow...

David Woycechowsky said...

The police report does not match the video. zProbably a case of faulty witness perception, but the police had the video.

Bottom line: it was deceptive of police to release the video at the time, and in the manner, that they did.

Bill Cromer said...

The police report said a woman clerk “calls 911” and told police Brown stole “a box of cigars.” Later, while talking to police in person, she said “Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets..”

The same police report, after viewing the video, mentions cigars twice: (1) “Brown turns away from the counter with another box of Swisher Sweets cigars and walks toward the exit door.” (2) “Brown, still holding a box of Swisher Sweets in his right hand, grabs XXXX by his shirt with his left hand.”

To discredit Brown further, and promote their accusation of a strong arm robbery - the public wouldn’t swallow this lie if they said Brown had stolen two dollars worth of cigars and not a $50.00 box. - they edit the video to make it look as though Brown had not been assaulted by the store owner before he pushed him out of the way.

The store owner could be racist toward black people, angry at Brown for grabbing a box out of his hands, harbor ill will toward people who steal from his store, or whatever pray tell was going on in his head. Regardless .... he set Brown up to get busted for stealing cigars when, fact was, Brown had not stolen any cigars. Hell, he went through the motions after removing two boxes of cigars from the counter while Brown was stooped down on the floor. We’ve all heard this one before:

Pete: “You stole from my kin.”
Everett: “Who was fixin to betray us.”
Pete: “You didn’t know that at the time!”
Everett: “So I browed it till I did know.”
Pete: “That don’t make no sense!”

Here in Trollville we call this sort of thing lying! And you go to Hell for lying same as you do for stealing!

Carlos David Aguilar said...

Taking the testimony of Brown's scumbag friend, they had game planned in the morning to set out and go get blunts so they could Hollow them out and fill them with weed, the blunts are usually flavored giving it a nice taste and they're also very conducive to holding a lot of chronic. They're very popular the hood but they are more expensive. Brown was broke that morning & but Demetrius or whatever your friend's name was offered to pay for the blunts.As they walked in round immediately started grabbing the Blunts his friend was surprised because he was willing to pay. Bottom line Michael Brown wanted to steal those he was a budding hard ass trying to make a name for himself in the hood, that's why he must hold the little store clerk and gave him the faint what you to do body language. Weed smoking too much of it you can't handle it him seeing gangsters glorified his neighborhood being called The Gentle Giant all those years, getting into rap and cultivating wannabee tough guy attitude, Michael Brown was on a mission prove himself to the Hood,he was down for the set. He Warren Moore had one more accomplishment for the day. Walk down the middle of the street like an asshole after you just strong-armed a liquor store then when a cop comes up to you and tells you to get on the sidewalk, you tell them to go fuck themselves. When that Officer pulls around to cut you off, the officer tries to leave his vehicle and brown best rates the situation to a whole nother level by slamming the door of Wilson's on him.

This all goes to a new mentality in the hood and the ghetto. There's always been a disrespect for life in these areas but not like today there is a total lack of humanity with so many of the gang bangers I see today. The rules there was a certain amount of respect that for cops children were off-limits, certain family members like grandmothers and grandfather, but now you have 14 15 year olds killing each other in the most heinous ways over nothing. Somebody looked at somebody's girl too long, a shoulder was bumbed on the sidewalk, etc. Now these purveyors who use the most vicious forms of violence are the first to drop dimes,and the first to cry out a confession, then call for their mommy.

The hood has changed since I spent my formative years in Sherman Heights Barrio. There's absolutely no honor, no respect, and a lack of humanity I've never seen in some of our oldest cities.