Looting Breaks Out In Ferguson After Grand Jury Refuses Charges Against Wilson

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.45.44 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.45.10 AMYesterday, I ran a column discussing the curious sight of rioters and looters demanding “justice” when what they are really describing is mob justice in Ferguson, Missouri. I noted that the evidence did not support the initial claims of the shooting of Michael Brown and that demonstrations are not substitutes for demonstrated evidence in a criminal case. The response, however, to the declination of charges has been precisely what President Obama and the Brown family sought to avoid in their public comments. In perhaps the most symbolic incident, Ferguson Market and Liquor, the store that Michael Brown robbed before he was killed, was looted by people demanding “justice” for Brown.

A security camera captured Brown strong arming the store owner after stealing from the store:

Regardless of how one views the evidence of the shooting, the store owner was clearly strong armed by Brown and did nothing beyond being the victim of a reported crime. However, he now has a ransacked store and is somehow blamed for the killing.

The media filmed as people carted out stolen merchandise out of the store last night:

The discussion of the resulting looting and rioting often seemed a bit too enabling and relativistic. There is no rationale connection between ransacking stores and seeking justice, a point that President Obama made eloquently last night as did the Brown family (though reportedly with the exception of Brown’s stepfather). Indeed, some “meanings” drawn from the incident extended all the way to federalism principles.

While St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch detailed the evidence including testimony from African-American witnesses who refuted accounts of Michael Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, and onlookers Piaget Cranshaw and Tiffany Mitchell. He was not shot in his back and was initially shot in a struggle with Wilson in (or partially in) the police vehicle. Nevertheless, the verdict was denounced by various commentators, including MSNBC contributor Michelle Bernard who called Brown the latest “casualty” of what seems to be nationwide “war on black boys.” Bernard curiously blamed federalism and state rights for part of the problem, saying that people see this case and say “we don’t want to hear about states rights.” She also calls on the Justice Department to “get involved” and “intervene.”

However, the Justice Department has intervened and reportedly also found no basis for charges in the case under civil rights provisions. If those accounts are accurate, the declination of such charges may trigger no violence by those who define justice as not a guaranteed process but a guaranteed punishment.

333 thoughts on “Looting Breaks Out In Ferguson After Grand Jury Refuses Charges Against Wilson”

  1. Not sure which post to post this: About the strange behavior of officers after they killed Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner


    I know the ‘right; will say “it’s from Dailykos” so without merit but note they have clicks for the original cites which is not Kos.

    (NY paper, The Guardian as just 2 of the clicks)

  2. My previous commentary is the result of more Cosmopolitans than I should ever even walk by. Please take it with the humor and laughter intended. I had such a wonderful time!

  3. Do they put additives in the food at Harvard? Extremely high doses of ego enhancement. A tiny disc placed at the appropriate position that tells the brain to shut down, coming next is not worth your time. Play tapes into your brain when you sleep saying “you are the smartest person in the room.” They’ve not perfected the “get out of my way” disc, because mother’s commandments are incredibly strong. When testing the disc on the dumb, works beautifully. Too beautifully, it creates seriously close to violence at a moments notice. They occasionally develop tics, however correction is easy.

    Then the race fuss. It refuses to comply on some skin colors, and terribly hesitant on others. Whites, of course, as God meant it, sail in with ease. There really is no need to worry about climate change. One of our “top drawer” candidates is just a smidgen from being #1. The private board is only a front. They don’t know they never made the grade. They just have tiny, but wonderful, orgasms when the ruler of all things (you fill in the blank, this creates useless results, and due to the terror that someone might read yours, is in a lockbox, never to be seen) walks into the room.

    It’s one failure is not being able to be at ease with those without a penis. There is actually an epidemic, worldwide. Many things have been attempted, but no cigar. Gay marriage was to be the elixir, but someone pointed out that there would be no one to pick up the reins eventually. Not to worry, many solutions are in constant use. We anticipate all will be well the first Tuesday in November, 2016. That is not always the case (don’t mention 2000, ever) but that blip created a little tear in the system, instantly resolved. The memory of it will disappear on November 1, 2016.

    Flag your flag, hide your money, bury jewelry, silver, all things that will always have value (not your Graduate of Harvard ring).

    God bless us all, aaannndd God Bless The United States of America!!!

  4. So, now we know what they teach at Harvard.

    Well, Harvard has taught at least twenty Supreme Court justices, but I’m not sure that is what you meant.

  5. Fortunately, in the case of Simpson, we were able to judge the prosecutions sympathies for ourselves. I don’t recall their summation explaining the ‘acceptable’ defenses for the crime in as much granular detail as McC. But there the prosecution was truly advocating for the people and not the people’s employee.

    As to legal scholars, Feldman from Harvard said: “It looks like he wanted to create the appearance that there had been a public trial when in fact there hadn’t been,” Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman told The New York Times. According to Feldman, it seemed “that the prosecutor didn’t want an indictment—and didn’t want to be blamed for not getting one.”

    1. zedalis – an yet Branca thinks that since the defense was self-defense you have to hear from the shooter. Wilson testified for four hours without a lawyer before the Grand Jury.
      Basically, what Feldman is saying is that he would have gone the other way with the Grand Jury and would have been happy to get a true bill on a ham sandwich. So, now we know what they teach at Harvard.

  6. Paul – So, Paul, African American lawyers are somehow less able to judge legal precedence than caucasian lawyers? Does their race preclude reason and if so does this bias not also preclude that of white lawyers?

    1. zedalis – I think what we have is bias. For instance, we know that as a group, whites thought OJ was guilty and blacks thought OJ was not guilty.
      However, there is no legal precedence that was broken. A variety of legal scholars have been heard on this issue. The vaunted liberal link to Scalia is not on point as they say.

  7. The comments on this thread have been disappointing. Lawyers arguing about GJ decision without examining the evidence. Legal decisions by any jury should be respected. Now seeing a Bar Association adding their two cents is even more unprofessional.

    My history as a juror:

    I was acosted by a prosecutor after a hung jury. I didn’t want to talk with him, but he insisted, and people responsible for my privacy ignored me. So he asked some questions and said “no comment.” I then sought out the defense attorney and told him that I had said nothing to the prosecutor. He told me the charges might be dropped because this was the second trial; it would be a waste unless they got more evidence. Also told him feel free to tell the prosecuting attorney my opinion. We hung because one woman who swore she could evaluate what a policemen said with no bias against the defendant. Then insisted he must be guilty, because the officer said so. The following week I contacted the judge in charge of judges that month and recommended she be removed from the pool. He told me judges would know to excuse her if police testimony was involved, but if not she could stay. I wasn’t completely satisfied with that because her “calculus” was questionable. So I called the defense attorney and suggested he let her “problem” be known. He thanked me.

    Demeaning other attorneys about performance is one thing. The Grand Jury had all the evidence and made their decision. I hope the black people on that jury speak out about the process and shut this second-guessing down.

    Bush/Gore ballots have been recounted close to 300 times by agencies all over the world. Bush won! He will be the most elected President in history!

  8. The National Bar Association is questioning how the Grand Jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted and tried for the shooting death of Michael Brown. National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes expresses her sincere disappointment with the outcome of the Grand Jury’s decision but has made it abundantly clear that the National Bar Association stands firm and will be calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue federal charges against officer Darren Wilson. “We will not rest until Michael Brown and his family has justice” states Pamela Meanes, President of the National Bar Association.

    1. zedalis – The National Bar Association is made up of African-American attorneys. I am thinking, from the tenor of the statement, that they are for lynching and a trial afterwards.

  9. Sandi, that’s a difficult number to derive. First thing is who is asking the question? These days, the people asking the question believe that every cop is a bad cop, so there is a built-in bias. Second thing is how the data is accumulated. Simple test: How many good cops did you hear about this week? Not many, because being good isn’t news worthy.

    Let’s use an analogy. We all heard about Ray Rice and Adrian Petersen, two NFL players who committed violent crimes. But we didn’t hear about the hundreds of other NFL players who didn’t commit crimes, and who are generous with their time and money. We shouldn’t judge them by the things Rice and Petersen did, right?

    It’s not at all unreasonable to believe that the very great majority of cops are good people who do excellent work, sometimes in difficult circumstances.

  10. Haz, my question to Inga was how many bad cops, I.e., percentage? There are some cities where the laws are broken constantly. If I had to face the part of society that is really garbage every day, my goal would be stay alive. NYC’s police force excelled through Guilianai and Bloomberg. The tough neighborhoods welcomed them and their neighborhoods were safer. Now deBlasio is turning back the clock. A shame.

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