Michael Brown: A Criminal and a Thug
By Matthew Vadum
As the media-sanctioned rioting, bloodshed and looting continue in Ferguson, Missouri, evidence is emerging that police shooting victim Michael Brown wasn’t the upstanding citizen that many on the Left have claimed him to be.
All of this is happening as mobs have been attacking cops with Molotov cocktails and destroying community infrastructure. Some blacks in the region are reportedly randomly assaulting non-blacks as collective payback for what happened to Brown. Looting and property destruction are rampant. Scores of people have been arrested. Aircraft were ordered to fly at least 3,000 feet over Ferguson airspace after police said their helicopters were fired on from the ground.
A curfew was imposed, and the state’s feckless Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, stripped local police of some of their responsibilities, replacing them with state highway patrolmen. This, predictably, led to more looting of stores and all the things that usually happen when an angry, violent mob is rewarded for its bad behavior.
Through it all, the Left is out in force in Ferguson, trying to make a bad situation worse. The criminal elements of the city have been emboldened by martyrized accounts of Brown, and have carried out a campaign of destruction against the civil order under the banner of “no justice, no peace.”
As happened in the Trayvon Martin case two years ago, the hulking, nearly 300-lbs. Brown has been portrayed as an innocent doe-eyed angel unfairly cut down by evil police as a promising future awaited him. In Brown’s case, he was said to be just days away from heading off to college.
But as one blogger observed, in this age of ubiquitous social media, the 18-year-old African-American man left behind,
“a cache of rap songs … that contain pretty much what you’d expect out of modern rap – lots of boasting about murdering, taking drugs, drinking, and sex with hos.”
In one of them labeled “Free$tyle Big’Mike,” one performer raps, “My favorite part’s when they bodies hit the ground. I soak ‘em up like I’m wringin’ out a sponge.”
The fact that Brown liked performing thug music obviously doesn’t by itself make him a thug, but it does provide insight into his state of mind. The same can be said for the photographs that have surfaced of Brown posing like a tough guy, making gestures with his hands that some say are gang signs.
But what Brown did before he was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, whose home and address were publicized by a reporter despite ceaseless death threats against the officer, offers compelling insight into what made Brown tick.
Evidence is now available that shows that Brown tried to wrest a gun away from a policeman and that he was ordered to freeze before he charged Darren Wilson and was shot. Some have suggested Brown was high on drugs at the time and that made him especially aggressive but a toxicology report on his body won’t be available for weeks.
Before the shooting incident last weekend, Brown used violence and the threat of more violence to steal. With an accomplice, he knocked over a convenience store, bullying victims with his prodigious size and weight. (Incidentally, the owner of the store told the Washington Post he fears that his customers will murder him and that he begged reporters not to suggest that he called the police on Brown.)
An official incident report about the robbery was released Friday by Ferguson police, over the vehement but ultimately groundless objections of left-wing politicians, including the Missouri governor and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. History shows that leftist office holders aren’t too concerned about getting to the bottom of a matter when their supporters are in the streets calling for blood. If the documentation in question helped make the case that the local police were cold-blooded, murdering racists, those same politicians would be loudly demanding its release.
The report in question identifies Brown and his 22-year-old friend Darren Johnson as suspects in the Aug. 9 robbery that took place minutes before Brown’s death.
According to the report, police responded to a call about “stealing in progress” at a convenience store. The stolen item was a $48.99 box of Swisher Sweets cigars. Marijuana users are known to hollow out such cigars and use them to smoke drugs.
A man identified as Brown was captured in store surveillance stills having a physical confrontation with a much smaller store employee who tried to lock the doors of the establishment to prevent the men from departing with the stolen item.
The 6’ 4”, 292-pound Brown took the employee by his shirt and pushed him back into some merchandise. As Brown moved toward the door, he then turned around and moved toward the worker “appearing to intimidate him.” After that Brown disappears from the camera footage.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson made the video of the robbery available Friday, explaining that state law forced him to act. Reporters had demanded the footage under the Freedom of Information Act, Jackson said.
The Obama administration sought to suppress the release of the inconvenient footage by pressuring the department not to release it to the public. Pandering for votes, Gov. Jay Nixon said Sunday he “deeply” disagreed with the decision by Ferguson police to release the robbery video.
The recording was made public “Number one to attempt in essence to disparage the character [of Brown] in the middle of a process like this is not right,” Nixon said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
So, first local police were condemned for not being sufficiently transparent; then after they released a key piece of evidence they were condemned for being too transparent.
Gov. Nixon then claimed that releasing the video was too painful for his constituents. “And secondarily it did put the community and, quite frankly, the region and the nation on alert again,” he said.
Of the week-old case, Nixon said, “These are old wounds, these are deep wounds in these communities and that action was not helpful.” Of course, by the governor’s reasoning the local police have no right to make the case that they are not murderers while they are being indicted by the frenzied Ferguson community, media and political Left.
Gov. Nixon again pushed emotional buttons, playing to the mob. “When you see your son gunned down in the street and then you see a police chief begin an attempt to attack his character, that’s just not the way to operate and we’ve made that clear to everyone,” he said.
This means Nixon believes that Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton, who have been making campaign stops in Ferguson, have every right to be heard while the local police at the heart of the case should just remain silent and take whatever abuse is hurled at them.
Sharpton, the perpetrator of the infamous Tawana Brawley hoax and a close ally of President Obama, also weighed in on the release of the video.
“Michael Brown is gone,” he said in St. Louis yesterday. “You can run whatever video you want. He is not on trial. America is on trial!”
“I have never in all my years seen something as offensive and insulting as a police chief releasing a tape of a young man trying to smear him before we even have his funeral.”
However, the more we learn about the nature of the crime and of Brown’s character, the clearer it is to see who should really be on trial: The likes of Al Sharpton and the race-hate industry, whose lies are fueling a vicious war against civil society in Ferguson.
Meanwhile, an autopsy performed by famed pathologist Dr. Michael M. Baden, former chief medical examiner for New York City, determined that Brown was not shot in the back as some have claimed. In particular, the autopsy contradicts the “eye witness” account of one left-wing media darling, Tiffany Mitchell, who claimed on MSNBC that Officer Wilson was pursuing Brown as he ran away and that Brown was shot in the back as he fled.
The autopsy report concluded that Brown was shot six times. One bullet penetrated his right eye, proceeding through his face, leaving through his jaw and then entering his collarbone. The final two shots in his head were probably the last ones fired.
Brown, who otherwise appeared to be healthy, would have died as a result of the shooting even if he had been transported immediately to a hospital, Baden said.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Baden told the New York Times after completing the private four-hour autopsy yesterday. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
Baden stressed that he was not assigning blame for the death or justifying what was done the day of Brown’s death.
But Benjamin L. Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, tried to use the new forensic evidence to bolster the case that the young man was a victim of police brutality.
“The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,” Crump said. “We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight.”
Of course the fact that a suspect was shot repeatedly and all over his body doesn’t necessarily demonstrate “brazen disregard” or that the individual was summarily executed by a police officer. It more likely indicates that the shooter, rightly or wrongly, believed that the suspect posed a danger to his life. And the fact that a suspect was “unarmed” doesn’t necessarily have much probative value in a case in which the individual allegedly tried to gain control of a police officer’s firearm.
Crump covered travel expenses for Baden and an assistant to Missouri, retaining the two for the procedure. Baden waived his customary $10,000 fee, the newspaper reports.
This autopsy and an official county autopsy apparently aren’t enough. Now Eric Holder’s spokesman says the “extraordinary circumstances” — whatever those may be — require that a federal autopsy be conducted. Forty FBI agents have also reportedly gone door-to-door in Ferguson in an attempt to gather evidence in an ongoing civil rights investigation related to the shooting.
And they’ll keep digging until they find evidence that vindicates the mob and the left-wing media and the community organizers from Chicago who have descended on Ferguson in order to make an example of the innocent people who live there.