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. I can’t read all of this now, got to brine the bird.

    That street in a Ferguson should have had tanks in the middle of the street. No one should have been allowed in. The National a Guard could have “borrowed” the tanks. I was appalled seeing young children there.

    Since this seems to be the most active subject on this blog, I will say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and those you love.

  2. Question: Did Michael Brown not place himself in danger by assaulting a uniformed police officer?

    It is the uniform that should be respected, not feared, if you just comply with simple directions, that in themselves are not injurious, and don’t try to make a point on the street. If you feel your civil rights were denied by those instructions, you have legitimate venues to address that. Physical assault is not one of them.

  3. Justice Scalia on the purpose of a Grand Jury:

    “It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.”


  4. Case in point:

    Smerconish: I want to see the testimony of witnesses under oath in front of that grand jury. And I want to know the police officer’s account because we haven’t even heard it.

    IGNORANT PROTESTER Bassem Masri: I can believe what I wanna believe. I don’t care what any of em got to say. I know what happened. Darren Wilson did not have to execute anybody….

  5. I cannot think of any other time in history when so many people protested not only out of ignorance, but an indignant ignorance of facts.

    Idiocy on parade.

  6. I still recall vividly the time period I was subject to a US Army AR 15-6 investigation (to determine criminality) and field grade board of inquiry preliminary to a possible Article 32, UCMJ investigation subsequently. It was not pleasant, but the officers in charge took all evidence, even the spurious (which is always presented in an AR 15-6 investigation), and determined that I and one other sergeant were not guilty of any malfeasance…however they “adjourned” the proceedings rather than declare a result…mainly because the real malfeasance was by officers 06 and 07 and above who gave the orders we sergeants obeyed. They were never called back. I did NOT care…I was able to rotate home and free of suspicion…which was my goal. Not all legal proceedings seem fair” however, if honest, they result in fair results, even if tainted by a adjournment. My innocence was more important to me than some one else’s guilt….which swept in to the political world which sergeants do not have much sway. The following orders defense rarely works, but it did that time.

    Such things effect your life and your reputation, and that is never pleasant. However, the”system” has served me well over the years and I am grateful for that. Really grateful. Sometimes you just have to know the limitations you face and move on…don’t make it in to a vendetta.

  7. If you watch the Darren Wilson interview with the greek guy on ABC you will probably all agree that he is credible and a likeable guy. He and the new bride are moving to Ferguson and he is going to run for Mayor. Folks of both racial persuasion will support him because he does not represent the racial divide but instead the depolarization which we need and indeed have in Ferguson. Outsiders like Big AL Sharptongue cannot vote in Ferguson. Oh, they can vote with their mouths and feet but not at the polls. The Brown family is in dire straights because their source of Aid To Dependent Children is now gone with the death of Junior. Or do they have other kids? Does Big Brown work? Does mom Brown work? Have they ever worked? If they sue the City can the State intervene to recoup some of the welfare money and food stamp money? It is time for the folks of Ferguson to go to Big AL’s neighborhood and burn his liquor store and cigar store. Since they don’t have auto part stores the mob could burn the subway station down for Big AL’s house. His church too but some say that he doesn’t really have one.
    So here it is: Wilson for Mayor. Big AL for State Fair.

  8. Been too busy to stop in much lately. Yesterday, I saw a comment by Nick somewhere upthread that said, in effect, that District Attorney McCulloch let in too much testimony from people who had an agenda in favor of Wilson. McCulloch admitted in the press conference that some of the witnesses he put before the Grand Jury were obvious liars who had not witnessed anything.

    I am on my way out of town, so I don’t have time to dig around looking for the comment, but do recall that part of Nick’s comment. I don’t agree with Nick on very many things, but he was right. The DA basically presented the Grand Jury with a huge dump of irrelevant stuff, including witnesses with obvious agendas. He did not do the judicial process any favors by doing that, and by his actions, kept the evidence from being tested in a public trial. I have seen DA offices deliberately “throw” cases and take what in boxing is called “a dive.”

    That’s how it is done.

    Had it gone to trial, Wilson would have been provided excellent defense lawyers, and I honestly believe he could have received a fair trial. Now, unless the DOJ has a civil rights trial on the facts, the public will never get to see the actual evidence tested in a courtroom.

    The Celtic Lassie was in night class when the (in)famous press conference was held. She has been focused on school, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else, so had not been keeping up with national news. She came in from class with the speaker on her smart phone blaring, asking, “What is going on in St. Louis? Something big is going down in St. Louis.”

    Somebody had sent her a text message to tune into the St. Louis County Police Department dispatcher. Radio traffic sounded worse than air traffic control during peak traffic hour at O’Hare. She said she was glad she wasn’t there.

    So am I.

    1. Chuck – there are two ways to run a grand jury. This DA selected the investigative route. In that route a lot of evidence is let in the does not seem relevant to you but is relevant to the grand jury. They are the ones who make the decision, not you, not me. They sifted through the evidence and made their decision. Some 5000 pages. Glad it was not me.

  9. OT: Darren, I have been told by another off line that you fixed the WordPress random black hole problem. My thanks to you for taking the time to accomplish that. Good job.

  10. ABC interview Video…. Officer Darren Wilson speaks. Michael Brown’s father doesn’t want you to see this video. Brown’s father was interviewed on the NBC Today show by Matt Lauer 11/26/14.
    How can the Brown family want peace and revenge at the same time?

    Darren Wilson should consider filing a counter lawsuit against the Brown’s and their attorney.

  11. rcocean its easy to stick to a template when the template is obvious.

    The Law Enforcement arm of our society has an edge in all criminal proceedings and as was shown here even the state prosecutor manipulated the system to control the evidence for an indictment.

    Our system is broken and favors the rich and shields certain segments of society. No one knows for sure exactly what happened in this incident but requiring the use of body cameras and drug testing officers after an incident like this would go along way to restoring trust among the tax payers.

    People not just black are fed up and are taking to arms to protect the common good. Mistrust breeds anger and anger breeds violence. Once that is released no matter how many troops and armed guards are activated it will not do any good to protect court buildings and police headquarters. If you don’t believe me just look what has been done in other places across the world.

  12. You have to give liberals and the MSM credit once they establish a template they stick to it. First, Trayvon and now the Gentle Giant. The next one will be cut and paste.

  13. “The New York Times has published Officer Wilson’s home address. After the bounty place on him and his family.

    Spike Lee is expected to publish his wrong phone number tomorrow.

  14. Schulte<<"…I really don’t remember calling anyone a troll lately"

    You are correct and you have my apologies for the accusation. I hope you won't consider my apology a backhanded one if I tell you that I had confused you with Spinelli in this instance.

  15. Schulte <<< "…calling names is part of the Alinsky pattern. It is important to isolate those they do not agree with."

    This must be why you so sparingly apply the appelation "troll" to anyone that doesn't hew to your level of acerbic intolerance. Alinsky has nothing on you.

    1. zedalis – I really don’t remember calling anyone a troll lately. I remember saying a few new posters might he from the WH and here to support the President. After a few ad hominem attacks and Alinsky style attacks they have not been back.
      Clearly you have read Alinsky if you are comparing me to him. Frankly, you have yet to taste the beginning level of my acerbic intolerance. JT and I have an agreement, if I keep my side he lets me continue to blog..

  16. Paul,
    Nothing about the zedalis comments are offensive. They are throwaway lines when they have nothing else. Once someone goes there they’ve lost the edge and cannot recover.

    Seriously, Squeeky has worked this person over just like she has ‘Sybil’; I sincerely doubt anyone would succeed at flaming her. 😉

  17. Begging your pardon Mr. Berry but it’s the Professors “sometimes” interesting version of reality that brought many of us to follow his blog and your version is clearly in a free fall now that it’s been grubered. Enjoy the ride. 😉

  18. Squeeky <<< "…and then you go and call me FAT!!!"

    Tell me, what else was in that comment that made you think it was about you? You've tipped the hand of your self-assesment…that's gotta sting, no?

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