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Food for thought. 

 

 

Martinot and Sexton ‘3—Instructor at the Center for Interdisciplinary Programs at San Francisco State University, AND Director, African American Studies School of Humanities Associate Professor, African American Studies School of Humanities Associate Professor, Film & Media Studies School of Humanities Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Ethnic Studies M.A., University of California, Berkeley, Ethnic Studies A.B., University of New Hampshire, History | Economics

(Steve and Jared, “The Avant-garde of White Supremacy,” http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~marto/avantguard.htm)

There were local movements in each of these cities to protest acts of police murder and in each case the respective city governments were solicited to take appropriate action. Under conventional definitions of the government, we seem to be restricted to calling upon it for protection from its own agents. But what are we doing when we demonstrate against police brutality, and find ourselves tacitly calling upon the government to help us do so? These notions of the state as the arbiter of justice and the police as the unaccountable arbiters of lethal violence are two sides of the same coin. Narrow understandings of mere racism are proving themselves impoverished because they cannot see this fundamental relationship. What is needed is the development of a radical critique of the structure of the coin. There are two possibilities: first, police violence is a deviation from the rules governing police procedures in general. Second, these various forms of violence (e.g., racial profiling, street murders, terrorism) are the rule itself as standard operation procedure. For instance, when the protest movements made public statements they expressed an understanding of police violence as the rule of the day and not as a shocking exception. However, when it came time to formulate practical proposals to change the fundamental nature of policing, all they could come up with concretely were more oversight committees, litigation, and civilian review boards ("with teeth"), none of which lived up to the collective intuition about what the police were actually doing. The protest movements’ readings of these events didn’t seem able to bridge the gap to the programmatic. The language in which we articulate our analyses doesn’t seem to allow for alternatives in practice. Even those who take seriously the second possibility (violence as a rule) find that the language of alternatives and the terms of relevance are constantly dragged into the political discourse they seek to oppose, namely, that the system works and is capable of reform. After the exposure of the LAPD’s videotaped beating of Rodney King, after the rebellions of 1992, police violence only became more rampant and more brazen across the country. After the "Justice for Diallo" movement in NYC, the police murders multiplied, and police arrogance increased. It was as if the anti-racist campaigns (or uprisings) against police violence were co-opted by the police to augment their violence, rather than effectively closing it down as they had explicitly intended. In the wake of countless exposés, the prison industrial complex has only expanded; the reportage on the racist operations of capital punishment and the legal system more generally have become absorbed in the acceleration of execution rates. Why do things get worse after each hard fought revelation? Where do we locate the genius of the system? Something is left out of the account; it runs through our fingers, escaping our grasp. If the spectacle of police violence does, in fact, operate according to a rule of its own (as the anti-violence movements argue), what does this suggest about the social institutions that generate it and which it represents despite persistent official disavowals? First, the relationship between police violence and the social institution of policing is structural, rather than incidental or contingent (i.e., an unfortunate but minor part of the job). Second, the cultural content of the actual policing that we face is to be a law unto itself, not the socially responsible institution it claims to be in its disavowals. Third, a question: is this paradigm of policing a methodology for a form of social organization? If so, of what are the police the avant-garde? They prowl, categorizing and profiling, often turning those profiles into murder violence without (serious) fear of being called to account, all the while claiming impunity. What jars the imagination is not the fact of impunity itself, but the realization that they are simply people working a job, a job they secured by making an application at the personnel office. In events such as the shooting of Amadou Diallo, the true excessiveness is not in the massiveness of the shooting, but in the fact that these cops were there on the street looking for this event in the first place, as a matter of routine business. This spectacular evil is encased in a more inarticulable evil of banality, namely, that the state assigns certain individuals to (well-paying) jobs as hunters of human beings, a furtive protocol for which this shooting is simply the effect. But they do more than prowl. They make problematic the whole notion of social responsibility such that we no longer know if the police are responsible to the judiciary and local administration or if the city is actually responsible to them, duty bound by impunity itself. To the extent to which the police are a law unto themselves, the latter would have to be the case. This unaccountable vector of inverted social responsibility would resonate in the operating procedures in upper levels of civil administration as well. That is, civil governmental structures would act in accordance with the paradigm of policing—wanton violence legitimized by strict conformity to procedural regulations. For instance, consider the recent case of a 12 year old African-American boy sentenced to prison for life without parole for having killed a 6 year old African-American girl while acting out the moves he had seen in professional wrestling matches on TV. In demanding this sentence, the prosecutor argued that the boy was a permanent menace to society, and had killed the girl out of extreme malice and consciousness of what he was doing. A 12 year old child, yet Lionel Tate was given life without parole. In the name of social sanctity, the judicial system successfully terrorized yet another human being, his friends, and relatives by carrying its proceduralism to the limit. The corporate media did the rest; several "commentators" ridiculed Tate's claim to have imitated wrestling moves, rewriting his statement as a disreputable excuse: "pro wrestling made me do it." (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/25/01) Thus, they transformed his naïve awareness of bodies into intentional weaponry and cunning. One could surmise, with greater justification than surmising the malice of the child, that the prosecutor made a significant career step by getting this high-profile conviction. Beyond the promotion he would secure for a job well done, beyond the mechanical performance of official outrage and the cynicism exhibited in playing the role, what animus drove the prosecutor to demand such a sentence? In the face of the prosecution’s sanctimonious excess, those who bear witness to Tate’s suffering have only inarticulate outrage to offer as consolation. With recourse only to the usual rhetorical expletives about racism, the procedural ritualism of this white supremacist operation has confronted them with the absence of a real means of discerning the judiciary’s dissimulated machinations. The prosecutor was the banal functionary of a civil structure, a paradigmatic exercise of wanton violence that parades as moral rectitude but whose source is the paradigm of policing. All attempts to explain the malicious standard operating procedure of US white supremacy find themselves hamstrung by conceptual inadequacy; it remains describable, but not comprehensible. The story can be told, as the 41 bullets fired to slaughter Diallo can be counted, but the ethical meaning remains beyond the discursive resources of civil society, outside the framework for thinkable thought. It is, of course, possible to speak out against such white supremacist violence as immoral, as illegal, even unconstitutional. But the impossibility of thinking through to the ethical dimension has a hidden structural effect. For those who are not racially profiled or tortured when arrested, who are not tried and sentenced with the presumption of guilt, who are not shot reaching for their identification, all of this is imminently ignorable. Between the inability to see and the refusal to acknowledge, a mode of social organization is being cultivated for which the paradigm of policing is the cutting edge. We shall have to look beyond racialized police violence to see its logic. The impunity of racist police violence is the first implication of its ignorability to white civil society. The ignorability of police impunity is what renders it inarticulable outside of that hegemonic formation. If ethics is possible for white civil society within its social discourses, it is rendered irrelevant to the systematic violence deployed against the outside precisely because it is ignorable. Indeed, that ignorability becomes the condition of possibility for the ethical coherence of the inside. The dichotomy between a white ethical dimension and its irrelevance to the violence of police profiling is the very structure of racialization today. It is a twin structure, a regime of violence that operates in two registers, terror and the seduction into the fraudulent ethics of social order; a double economy of terror, structured by a ritual of incessant performance. And into the gap between them, common sense, which cannot account for the double register or twin structure of this ritual, disappears into incomprehensibility. The language of common sense, through which we bespeak our social world in the most common way, leaves us speechless before the enormity of the usual, of the business of civil procedures. Part II: The Problem with the Problem (Spectacle & Banality) The dichotomy between white ethics and its irrelevance to the violence of police profiling is not dialectical; the two are incommensurable. Whenever one attempts to speak about the paradigm of policing, one is forced back into a discussion of particular events—high-profile police homicides and their related courtroom battles, for instance. The spectacular event camouflages the operation of police law as contempt, as terror, its occupation of neighborhoods; the secret of police law is the fact that there is no recourse to the disruption of people’s lives by these activities. In fact, to focus on the spectacular event of police violence is to deploy (and thereby reaffirm) the logic of police profiling itself. Yet, we can’t avoid this logic once we submit to the demand to provide examples or images of the paradigm. As a result, the attempt to articulate the paradigm of policing renders itself non-paradigmatic, reaffirms the logic of police profiling, and thereby reduces itself to the fraudulent ethics by which white civil society rationalizes its existence. Examples cannot represent the spectrum of contemporary white supremacy from the subtle (e.g., the inability to get a taxi) to the extreme (e.g. the de facto martial law occupation of many black and brown neighborhoods), all of which has become structural and everyday. As in the case of spectacular police violence, producing examples of more subtle (if obvious) forms of "institutional racism" (e.g., continuing discriminatory trends in housing, education, employment, etc.) has the same effect of reducing the paradigm to the non-paradigmatic. The logic of this journalistic approach generates nonchalance in contemporary race talk such that sensational reportage about the supposedly hidden residues of a persistent racism disables analysis. Both the spectacular and the subtle, against which people can unite in their desire for justice, remain the masks behind which the daily operations of white supremacist terror proceed. Most theories of white supremacy seek to plumb the depths of its excessiveness, beyond the ordinary; they miss the fact that racism is a mundane affair. The fundamental excess of the paradigm of policing which infuses this culture is wholly banal. Those theories overlook that fact in favor of extant extravagance, spectacle, or the ‘deep psychology’ of rogue elements and become complicit in perpetuating white supremacy. The reality is an invidious ethos of excess that, instead, constitutes the surface of everything in this society. For some time now, the intellectual quest for racism’s supposedly hidden meaning has afforded a refuge from confrontations with this banality, even its possible acknowledgement. The most egregious aspect of this banality is our tacit acquiescence to the rules of race and power, to the legitimacy white supremacy says it has, regardless of their total violation of reason and comprehensibility. Our "tacit acquiescence" is the real silent source of white supremacist tenacity and power. As William C. Harris, II wrote in the aftermath of Tyisha Miller’s murder by the police: It is heartbreaking to be an American citizen and have to say this, but I do have to say this. We have almost, and I stress almost, become accustomed to police shooting innocent, unarmed, young, black males. That in itself is bad enough, and one was at one time inclined to think it couldn't get any worse, but it gets worse…. Now we have police killing our young black females. It can't get any worse than that. Harris is right; yet he also sells himself out because he acquiesces in the process of decrying acquiescence. He does not draw the line between respect for persons and impunity. He continues: "Even if she grabbed a gun, was it necessary to shoot at her twenty-seven times? I know it’s less than 41, but that's still too many times to shoot at a sleeping female—black, brown, yellow or white" (emphasis added). Why isn’t one bullet too many times to shoot anybody? It is the job of the spectacular (and sensational reports about the subtle) to draw attention away from the banality of police murder as standard operating procedure. Spectacle is a form of camouflage. It does not conceal anything; it simply renders it unrecognizable. One looks at it and does not see it. It appears in disguise. Harris, for example, looks at acquiescence and cannot see it. Camouflage is a relationship between the one dissimulating their appearance and the one who is fooled, who looks and cannot see. Like racialization as a system of meanings assigned to the body, police spectacle is itself the form of appearance of this banality. Their endless assault reflects the idea that race is a social envelope, a system of social categorization dropped over the heads of people like clothes. Police impunity serves to distinguish between the racial uniform itself and the elsewhere that mandates it. They constitute the distinction between those whose human being is put permanently in question and those for whom it goes without saying. Police spectacle is not the effect of the racial uniform; rather, it is the police uniform that is producing re-racialization.

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Burning down buildings, looting stores, and shooting are not appropriate responses. 

What is an appropriate response?

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What is an appropriate response?

Peaceful protests. Coordinated calls for change. Burning down people's businesses and livelihoods won't accomplish anything except further oppression. Stealing 50" TV's is not "justice." There were people protesting peacefully who blocked I-44. These people made their message clear without violence or destruction. On the other hand, there were people capitalizing on the chaos to loot and destroy. Those who defend these actions by claiming they're somehow justice are making a mockery of the wishes of Brown's family.

Edited by SnarkosaurusRex
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If the spectacle of police violence does, in fact, operate according to a rule of its own (as the anti-violence movements argue), what does this suggest about the social institutions that generate it and which it represents despite persistent official disavowals? First, the relationship between police violence and the social institution of policing is structural, rather than incidental or contingent (i.e., an unfortunate but minor part of the job). Second, the cultural content of the actual policing that we face is to be a law unto itself, not the socially responsible institution it claims to be in its disavowals.

 

This argument is kinda dumb, but it's the centerpiece of the entire card above, because without it they don't show that examining mundane racism is the key to stopping police violence. It's dumb because neither of these two conclusions follow from the previous sentence (or any of the sentences before it). Also, since police in many other countries manage to do significantly better than ours at avoiding violence, I think it's clear they're wrong to believe that the violent "hunting" of minorities is something intrinsic to the social and institutional role of policing. (In general, any assertion that X pattern of behavior is necessarily intrinsic to a certain social group will probably be wrong - it's really academically lazy to just assert that US police are obviously intrinsically racist as proven by their past actions.) IMO a better explanation of the legitimization of police violence is a model where most police officers are slightly racist and violent, some are extremely racist and violent, and a significant minority are not racist or violent, and when the worse officers do bad things the other officers almost unanimously shield them from criticism due to in-group bias and personal incentives.

 

I do think challenging mundane racism probably would help reduce police violence. But other options like increased accountability are good too, the claim that only the examination of mundane racism allows for successful change is incorrect. It's true that focusing only on spectacles is bad, and probably even true that there's too much focus on spectacles and not enough on the mundane right now, but the absolute categorical statements made in that card go too far beyond this.

Edited by Chaos
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"Looting" is an overstated trope used to delegitimize Black suffering and grief in response to the murder of a Black male. The amount and extent of "looting" are gratuitously over-reported by the same media who suggest that Ferguson isn't about race. Condemning their people-of-color-blindness necessarily involves questioning their representations of looting because people aren't racist in a vacuum. The law recognizes that people under extreme emotional and mental distress should be absolved of a degree of culpability when killing (see, inter alia, Model Penal Code 2.10[3].). The people of Ferguson watched the unlawful slaughter of a Black teenager, and then watched the institutions that purport to protect them fail to do. Instead, those institutions protected the killer. Not only is a violent outburst of misery and pain morally understandable, it is legally cognizable as a reasonable response. This discussion should not devolve into policing (literally) the proper boundaries of Black mourning. Instead, it should look to the injustice responsible for the Black mourning in the first place. 

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Oh, and there are reports that much of the violence is celebratory violence by KKK members rather than members of the Black community. Which suggests presumptive attribution of the looting to Black people echoes the same presumption of criminality and guilt that underpin modern anti-Blackness. 

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Burning down buildings, looting stores, and shooting are not appropriate responses.

 

Sorry-forgot our forum had its own arbiter for what an appropriate response is
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Oh, and there are reports that much of the violence is celebratory violence by KKK members rather than members of the Black community. Which suggests presumptive attribution of the looting to Black people echoes the same presumption of criminality and guilt that underpin modern anti-Blackness. 

 

Do you have a source? 

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Burning down buildings, looting stores, and shooting are not appropriate responses. 

 

Even if this is true, all other modes of protest have failed. People have nothing left.

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"Looting" is an overstated trope used to delegitimize Black suffering and grief in response to the murder of a Black male. The amount and extent of "looting" are gratuitously over-reported by the same media who suggest that Ferguson isn't about race. Condemning their people-of-color-blindness necessarily involves questioning their representations of looting because people aren't racist in a vacuum. The law recognizes that people under extreme emotional and mental distress should be absolved of a degree of culpability when killing (see, inter alia, Model Penal Code 2.10[3].). The people of Ferguson watched the unlawful slaughter of a Black teenager, and then watched the institutions that purport to protect them fail to do. Instead, those institutions protected the killer. Not only is a violent outburst of misery and pain morally understandable, it is legally cognizable as a reasonable response. This discussion should not devolve into policing (literally) the proper boundaries of Black mourning. Instead, it should look to the injustice responsible for the Black mourning in the first place.

 

Except the difference is that if you watch the news coverage live you can see people running into stores and running out with stuff from in the stores. I don't know what angles the national news gave, but the local news cameras footage showed quite a few examples of looting (on camera, I don't just mean "reported") . Granted, I agree that the focus should be placed elsewhere, but I'll develop that argument further down.

 

You say that the response shouldn't be "policed," but

1) Quite a bit of what is happening isn't as a response to the verdict in and of itself, but there are people taking advantage of the lack of police engagement.

2) In the cases of looting that did take place, how does that constitute an act of mourning? If this is supposed to a community responding to a white supremacist institution, then why were businesses owned by black folks and members of that community burned? I'm being genuine when I ask these questions because I don't see the connection.

3) There can and were peaceful demonstrations. People came together to block the interstate, but caused no damage. Others marched in the street and made clear their grief and discontent with the decision but caused no harm. I fail to see how burning down businesses and public storage sites is supposed to somehow inspire more change than a demonstration that protests the law without outright breaking it.

 

You say the discussion should instead be focused on the Justice of the system, yet even if we posit that all of the actions involving varying means of destruction are take to be protests then the sheer spectacle of that response is what detracts attention from the issue you wish to interrogate. The news coverage and the popular discussion (which will shape how this is remembered in the public consciousness) will now not be on what can and must be done to change an institution, but on the gratuity of the response. I know you don't care for debate jargon in these situations, but a "turn" seems the best way to put it.

 

Furthermore, the more destructive elements of the response only further entrench racist ideas of the black community among those who aren't aware of the nature of the institution of the United States in relation to institutional racism. Local responses among many in the white community were quite racist, because from their point of view they didn't see it as grief, but as the black community being prone to violence. (I do not endorse these ideas at all so don't even think about trying to draw a connection between me and some of those responses). Again, to put it in debater speak, the response has been coopted by those on the racist right to justify their world view. If we do want this discussion to be about change, then it's probably important to win the public consciousness the protests, and the most likely way to achieve that is along the lines of the marches and other peaceful activities offer the best opportunity for change--particularly because they keep things focused on the issue. If you look at history, the civil rights campaign was founded on these principles, and that movement generated significant change in legal codes.

 

Sorry-forgot our forum had its own arbiter for what an appropriate response is

This is still a debate forum is it not? Instead of acting like you sit on some high horse replete with sarcastic responses how about you advance an argument here?

 

Even if this is true, all other modes of protest have failed. People have nothing left.

Really? I'm guessing the national coverage must have been different then, because I saw more than one example of a successful peaceful protest, but as the night went on these actions were "crowded out" so to speak by responses that have come to apparently characterize the entire response to the verdict.

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"Looting" is an overstated trope used to delegitimize Black suffering and grief in response to the murder of a Black male. The amount and extent of "looting" are gratuitously over-reported by the same media who suggest that Ferguson isn't about race. Condemning their people-of-color-blindness necessarily involves questioning their representations of looting because people aren't racist in a vacuum. The law recognizes that people under extreme emotional and mental distress should be absolved of a degree of culpability when killing (see, inter alia, Model Penal Code 2.10[3].). The people of Ferguson watched the unlawful slaughter of a Black teenager, and then watched the institutions that purport to protect them fail to do. Instead, those institutions protected the killer. Not only is a violent outburst of misery and pain morally understandable, it is legally cognizable as a reasonable response. This discussion should not devolve into policing (literally) the proper boundaries of Black mourning. Instead, it should look to the injustice responsible for the Black mourning in the first place. 

 

The idea that we are not allowed to "police" other people's responses to tragedy is stupid. Would you still defend that argument if someone burned down the White House tomorrow out of sympathetic anger? Someone's emotional state can justify treating them with leniency for legal crimes or moral failings, but that doesn't mean that any form of judgement is automatically and intrinsically bad and neither does it mean that all reactions to injustice are excusable.

 

It's true looting is an overstated trope in general, but I disagree its purpose is to delegitimize black grief. The media doesn't wake up each morning and plot how it's going to rub salt in the wound of systemic racism. The reports of looting's purpose is to get people paying money to the news stations to watch what's happening. Having received this news, there are then some people who use the reports of looting as a way to score points for their political party or favored policy recommendations (the Left is not innocent of this, although the Right does it more blatantly). There are indeed also some people who use the news to support racism and to delegitimize black grief, but describing that as the main purpose of the news is misleading. The news that riots and looting are happening now is worthwhile information even to non racists.

 

Your analysis fails to examine any details about Ferguson specifically. What you've claimed in your above paragraph could serve as a defense for just about any black reactions to just about any injustice in just about any location in the past hundred years. It is far too generic, and it proves too much. A strong suspicion that the media is exaggerating reports of misbehavior is justified and that's a suspicion I have myself, but it's something that needs to be confirmed or denied by looking at the specific facts of this situation. Right now, we don't have enough evidence to justify insulting other people for naively believing the racist anti-black media propaganda. In this specific case, it's looking like the amount of unjustified violence is quite high.

 

Finally, I don't think the motivations of looters are like you describe. I am doubtful that most of them knew Michael Brown as family or as a close friend. Michael Brown's death is not a personal tragedy to them. It is instead a symbol to them of the injustice they've faced in their own lives within a system that doesn't provide equality of opportunity. The looting is opportunistic (and note the appropriateness of that word); people are immorally attempting to seize by force a portion of the material wellbeing they justly feel they ought to have received in the first place. So I agree it's not just evil greed that propels looters, there is an element of justice involved in their actions, but nonetheless greed for material goods is an essential part of their motivations - otherwise they would demonstrate their displeasure in other ways. Additionally, some of the looters are probably just criminals who would have done terrible things regardless of the jury's decision. It's not as though the town is populated solely by angelically innocent paragons, it has good people and bad people just like anyplace else.

Edited by Chaos
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While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now.

http://news.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/live-updates-from-ferguson-on-the-grand-jury-decision-in-michael-brown-shooting/?_r=0

 

So, that's hopefully going to turn out well. But I'm pessimistic. Anyone know how often federal inquiries contradict the local decision?

 

Transcript of the jury thing can be found here: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/11/24/ferguson-assets/grand-jury-testimony.pdf

Edited by Chaos

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But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

 

- MLK, Grosse Pointe High School - March 14, 1968

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Most people were protesting peacefully just a few hundred people who looted, do not represent the entire community which condemned the violence and dissented without the need of resorting to violence. The looting and stealing they've done from mostly fellow black businesses is wrong. However the fact that there was no indictment was equally bad with there being no justice for Brown's family. Race is still a very sensitive and controversial issue.

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...if you read through the transcript, the decision is ridiculous. Grand juries must merely find "probable cause" that a disputed question of material fact relating to the charges exists. You don't even have to come down on Mike Brown's side to acknowledge that Wilson's injuries are far less severe than they would be if Wilson's story was accurate. The same is true of when Wilson first started shooting; there's material eyewitness disagreement over how close Mike Brown was. The mere fact of disagreement over that is - as a matter of law - sufficient to trigger an indictment.

 

Wilson wasn't asked to explain his inconsistencies by a prosecutor who gave him a gentle cross examination. I've conducted harder crosses than that. Prosecutors also typically don't to put on defense witnesses (eg the potential defendant Wilson) because their job is to secure an indictment. It would be like an aff also reading a disad against itself and going "eh judge ya could vote aff ya could vote neg. up to you". That doesn't sound like any debater and it shouldn't have sounded like that shitbag prosecutor.

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...if you read through the transcript, the decision is ridiculous. Grand juries must merely find "probable cause" that a disputed question of material fact relating to the charges exists. You don't even have to come down on Mike Brown's side to acknowledge that Wilson's injuries are far less severe than they would be if Wilson's story was accurate. The same is true of when Wilson first started shooting; there's material eyewitness disagreement over how close Mike Brown was. The mere fact of disagreement over that is - as a matter of law - sufficient to trigger an indictment.

 

Wilson wasn't asked to explain his inconsistencies by a prosecutor who gave him a gentle cross examination. I've conducted harder crosses than that. Prosecutors also typically don't to put on defense witnesses (eg the potential defendant Wilson) because their job is to secure an indictment. It would be like an aff also reading a disad against itself and going "eh judge ya could vote aff ya could vote neg. up to you". That doesn't sound like any debater and it shouldn't have sounded like that shitbag prosecutor.

I absolutely agree with Snarf here.  Prosecutors tend to have an enormous bias when trying to secure an indictment against a police officer, which is why only a couple of of every thousand cases fail to secure an indictment, EXCEPT in the case of a police officer, where the statistics are substantially different.  

 

I also agree that the fact that there was disagreement merited an indictment.  The burden is ridiculously low for the prosecutor.  They're not looking for a conviction, but rather just a justification for going to trial at all.  My personal opinion is that the shooting was most likely justified (although I'll be perfectly honest that I haven't yet carefully combed through all of the evidence yet) but just the fact that there were eyewitnesses who disagreed, as well as the fact that the degree of Wilson's injuries, and the distance from which Brown was shot, etc. all prove, at least to me, that this is an issue for a jury to decide at trial.

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Now to play devils advocate I have recently read evidence saying that through a ballistics test Mike Brown was 8 or 9 INCHES away from Wilson this is very abnormal also he was not shot in the head until the last shot the officer did not have a gun and was going to be killed or beaten by an almost 300 pound 6 foot 5 man. Whether he was black or white this did not matter one could say this is not similar to Trayvon's case this was just an officer about the beat or worse who was afraid and might have responded to harshly. As he was not carrying a tazer to stun Michael the gun was his only way to protect himself. A reasoning for why he was so close to the officer was he may have been high on PCP a drug that causes to become aggressive and is nearly impossible to detect in the bloodstream.People have very sensitive opinions about this issue but we need to look at the evidence and think rationally rather than fight over issues.  There has to be enough doubt that Brown was killed by Wilson for wrong reasons for their to be trial there just was not any what many on the opposition would say.

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Also more evidence released Brown's body was found right outside of the car door, and that the ballistics test showed he was in a charging position while being shot at.

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There has to be enough doubt that Brown was killed by Wilson for wrong reasons for their to be trial there just was not any what many on the opposition would say.

That is just not correct.  This is an indictment, not a trial.  Any doubt at all is justification for the case going to trial.  That's why I said above that the burden of proof should be incredibly low.  The prosecution doesn't have to prove ANYTHING until a trial, all they have to do is show there is doubt.  I think that it is pretty self-evident that there was doubt as to what exactly happened.  Just the fact that there are different eyewitnesses saying different things means that it should be up to a jury to distinguish the truth in these competing statements, not the grand jury.

Edited by MartyP

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Exactly I agree that a trial would sort the case out I am just trying to advance the debate by switching sides. However one could say that the doubt was not high enough for their to be a trial ,and what was presented was hard evidence against Mike Brown with there being little evidence in support of him. They looked at three months worth of EVIDENCE again this is not just someones opinion we need to see how even African American eyewitnesses were saying he was threatening and charging the police officer. I am sorry but their is no sufficient evidence that Wilson should go to trial just because he was doing his job. Even if he went to trial with lost of time and money lost it would come out to the verdict of Not Guilty so the evidence has been presented and their is no point of going forward.

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