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Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Updates (From the Top) on Ferguson Crisis

10:00   Crime reporter for St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets, @ChristineDByers.  "Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting
Now, this could be the usual police backing police with claim to media.  On the other hand, it's possible that there are witnesses from the neighborhood who have not appeared on TV (possibly afraid to do this) but have told story to police or now FBI.  We will see.

Photog released (see below).  Olson: "I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job”

6:30 CNN: Another journo arrested in Ferguson, photog apparently.  Chris Olson  from top firm Getty and didn't move quickly enough to...move.  He took perhaps most published photo from Ferguson--seen left, though the "Fuck the Police" on mailbox cropped...After some cameras caught arrests this afternoon that seemed excessive.  Videos on TV show Olson in black shirt and black cap, led away in cuffs and cameras around neck.  

4:30 p.m.    Apparently alleged friend of Wilson on radio today, woman named "Josie,"  claims that his defense will be that Brown "bum's rushed" him.  Officer tried to get out of car and Brown slammed door, then reached for and got his gun, and somehow gun went off.  Then Brown fled, but turned around, taunted Wilson and then "bum's rushed" giving Wilson no choice--in this view--to shoot him 5 or 6 times.   My question: I've seen account by "Josie" cited a dozen times on MSNBC and CNN today without any indication that they checked that she was for real.  Maybe they did, but oddly I have not heard once "we have confirmed..."

A commenter below posted link to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year about claims that the man who is assisting Dr. Michael Baden in his autopsy and forensics work on this case has inflated his credentials and done some other sketchy things. Here's how Parcells responded at length.

Curfew lifted after numerous groups call unconstitutional etc.

1:10 p.m.    Media persist in claiming that Officer Wilson had "clean record" and nothing in his "disciplinary" file.  As this shows, that means little, due to way files kept--and fact that even if never disciplined that doesn't mean he has nerve been accused of using excessive force or profiling or anything else.  Given what we know, what are odds that Wilson would be "disciplined" by Ferguson PD for almost anything?

Media report that local county medical examiner confirms that Brown hit by "multiple shots" to head and chest.  Why they are not saying more? Wash Post source says examiner found 6 to 8 wounds, all due to shots from front,  and Brown had marijuana in system.

12:00 p.m. CNN reporter talked to friend of Officer Wilson:  claims he has no "racist" tendencies, spoke with him and Wilson is "struggling" but say he's "safe."

@ChrisHayes:  "Just talked to 3 ministers who helped lead the march on the police staging area who all directly contradict official police account." Interviews will air tonight.

Obama to be briefed by Holder at 1:15 on Ferguson.  But federal autopsy has not yet started. 

Press conference at church on autopsy, will live-blog here. Lead attorney Crump starts it off.  Baden is there with Prof. Sean Parcells who assisted him.  Crump: at least number of shots could have been released on day one. He says autopsy shows what witnesses claimed is true.

Then second attorney Parks is on, talks about the two head shots. "Why would he be shot on top of his head, a 6-foot-4 man?"  That alone enough to arrest cop. 

Baden (he's 80 but still appears very sharp):  two autopsies not unusual but a third, federal one, very rare. He praises reputation of local medical examiner and says her autopsy probably fine.

Parcells for details: describes 6 entry wounds plus odd path of one that may have gone through eye and out the clavicle.  Key: wound to inside part of arm consistent with him walking away--or putting hands up.  Heads shot "most likely" the last two.

Baden taking questions:  repeats found no shots close but needs to see clothing.  Three bullets found in body but need to see x-rays.   Local autopsy may come out "today or three or four months from now."   Asked if any signs of of struggle: "there weren't," but needs to see any injuries claimed by cop.  "No evidence of a struggle." Baden predicts local autopsy will be very similar.   She can release any time--but can be halted by local prosecutor for months.  He couldn't do toxicology because blood gone by time he did autopsy..."All of the gunshot wounds survivable except for the two to the head."  Citizen audience angry that two head shots did not lead to immediate arrest of cop. 
Another witness on CNN with new cellphone video of immediate aftermath of shooting.  She is yet another who says she saw tussle at car, Brown running, Wilson shooting and grazing Brown, who then turns and shot many times.  She appears quite credible...Don Lemon interviews 4 volunteers from nearby towns who come every morning to clean up streets (including one white kid) and complain about small criminal element causing trouble. 

Gov. Jay Nixon, citing last night's conflicts--and exaggerating a bit--orders National Guard to Ferguson...As I tweeted late last night, police arrested another couple reporters, threatened to shoot another and mace Chris Hayes. ...This morning on TV local congressman says he has "no confidence" in local police investigation. ... Terrific column by the great (on and off the court) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Time. 

Press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET on the Brown autopsy with Baden, and lawyers (re:  six shots from the front etc.).  Questions may include what the shot to the top of the head indicates since Brown was half a foot or more taller than Wilson (was he indeed on his knees when shot?) and the claim that another entered his right eye--and exited through his collarbone, suggesting a shot directly from above--or something..."One of the bullets shattered Mr. Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired." Would only work if bent way over on knees--or shot while falling forward after earlier shot.

MSNBC report on their site says police had to rescue McDonald's staffers there after site "taken over."  Looting  elseqwhere and a fire and more.

John Oliver with another great segment last night on Ferguson and police militarization.


Anonymous said...

Greg--the *Post-Dispatch* linked to a 2013 story it ran about Shawn Parcells, the number two on the private autopsy arranged by the Brown family's attorney. Short version: Parcells is not a "Prof." nor an M.D. He runs a private forensics company, with *PD* story reporting complaints about his work. Not sure if this diminishes what Dr. Baden has to say. Link here to 2013 story:


Elizabeth Ferrari said...

Earlier today I read that protesters went into McD's to get milk to alleviate tear gas in eyes. Post said, "remember this when the media claims McD's was looted". :(

Anonymous said...

Great post Greg, and thanks so much for the link to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Time Magazine, which is not a place I tend to look to for this much truth.

His calling it class warfare and not racism is spot on. His argument brings some sense to what seems to be Obama's detachment from Ferguson. I guess Obama only gets emotional when bankers suffer.