Ferguson In Flames
By Matthew Vadum
Grand jurors in Ferguson, Mo., refused to indict local police officer Darren Wilson yesterday, heroically resisting pressure from President Obama on down to lynch an innocent police officer who fought off a violent attacker.
The decision is infuriating left-wingers across America because it rebuts the underlying assumption they embrace which is that white police racism caused the death of Michael Brown, a young black thug who tried to seize Wilson’s gun in an attempt to do the officer harm.
As fresh rioting was already underway in the St. Louis area, the decision also angered President Obama who could barely contain his hostility in a disgraceful, unprecedented television appearance following the release of the announcement about the non-indictments. Obama urged activists to refrain from using violence. The president himself bears direct responsibility for fomenting the combustible situation, however.
The county’s elected prosecuting attorney, Robert McCulloch, calmly explained the process in detail last night that the grand jury employed in choosing not to return indictments in five potential charges from first-degree murder to lesser offenses.
McCulloch is a white Democrat who has come under heavy fire from race-baiting members of his own political party. His partisans hate him because he does not share their antipathy for police officers, and presumably, because he is the wrong color. McCulloch easily secured the Democratic nomination for his office in a primary election four days before Brown was killed. In that contest, he handily beat former state public defender Leslie T. Broadnax, a black woman, by a margin of 71.4 percent to 28.6 percent.
McCulloch said many witnesses gave testimony that was not believable. Witnesses fabricated events, admitted they were in error, clung to discredited factual accounts, or gave evidence inconsistent with the physical evidence.
McCulloch said grand jurors were “the only people who heard every witness … and every piece of evidence.”
“These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process,” he said. The grand jury consisted of nine whites and three blacks and was meeting every week since Aug. 20 to hear evidence in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. The panel convened for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.
Perhaps in a conciliatory gesture to those who wanted Wilson strung up, McCulloch referred to the death of Brown and the events surrounding it as tragic. Obama too used the word tragic.
But that is the wrong word.
Recall that Brown, an 18-year-old black male, was killed in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9 by white police officer Darren Wilson after he attacked Wilson and tried to grab his handgun. Brown’s defenders characterize him as a gentle giant even though a few minutes earlier he was captured on video committing a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, roughing up a much smaller clerk in the process. At autopsy Brown’s height was 6′ 5″ and his weight was 289 lbs. As previously reported, autopsy results were consistent with witness accounts that Brown reached for Wilson’s gun during their fateful altercation.
Brown’s death was not tragic. He was a villain. The evidence shows that he initiated potentially deadly force against an officer of the law and suffered the consequences of his actions. Grand jurors only needed a little bit of evidence to indict Officer Wilson. The evidence needed only to establish that probable cause existed to charge Wilson with a crime. The prosecution couldn’t even satisfy that low legal bar. The Wilson case may never have made it to a grand jury at all were it not for the antics of left-wing racial grievance groups working with and taking directions from the Obama administration.
The decision not to indict Wilson is not a tragedy. Far from it. The decision is just, proof that the grand jury system that was created to prevent governments from railroading unpopular defendants still works.
The tragedy is that Wilson had to be subjected to a three-month-long circus in which he was wrongfully accused of being a racist, murdering cop. He was demonized in the media day in and day out, a process that continues in the nation’s newsrooms even after last night’s announcement.