Warren And Harris Accuse Cleared Ferguson Officer Of Murder

Facts are often strangers to politicians who want to trigger emotive responses in targeted groups. The problem is when good politics make for bad law. That seems to be the case with Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren who have declared that Michael Brown was murdered five years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. The problem is that their statements would mean that Officer Darren Wilson is a murderer. However, Wilson was cleared in the shooting, including an exoneration by the Obama Administration. Wilson could conceivably claim defamation but the standard is quite high for a public figure.

Three months after the shooting, a grand jury rejected an indictment of Wilson. Later a report released by President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice found that Wilson most likely had reason to fear for his life in using lethal force. That latter conclusion followed a controversial decision by Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene before the completion of the local investigation. Some of us raised the concern that the intervention of Obama and Holder signaled a strong desire for federal charges. However, the Justice Department found no credible evidence of murder.

The DOJ concluded:

Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson, March 4, 2015: As detailed throughout this report, the evidence does not establish that the shots fired by Wilson were objectively unreasonable under federal law. The physical evidence establishes that Wilson shot Brown once in the hand, at close range, while Wilson sat in his police SUV, struggling with Brown for control of Wilson’s gun. Wilson then shot Brown several more times from a distance of at least two feet after Brown ran away from Wilson and then turned and faced him. There are no witness accounts that federal prosecutors, and likewise a jury, would credit to support the conclusion that Wilson fired at Brown from behind. With the exception of the two wounds to Brown’s right arm, which indicate neither bullet trajectory nor the direction in which Brown was moving when he was struck, the medical examiners’ reports are in agreement that the entry wounds from the latter gunshots were to the front of Brown’s body, establishing that Brown was facing Wilson when these shots were fired. This includes the fatal shot to the top of Brown’s head. The physical evidence also establishes that Brown moved forward toward Wilson after he turned around to face him. The physical evidence is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses.

Nevertheless, Harris wrote: “Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.”

Warren tweeted that “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.”

The non-profit website factcheck.org and the Washington Post have both chastised Warren and Harris for their statements.

While both Harris and Warren have criticized Trump for ignoring his own Justice Department and politicizing the legal process, these allegations of murder would seem to raise the same concerns. What would be interesting is if Wilson elects to sue for defamation. This could be defended as opinion. However, even under the New York Times v. Sullivan standard, there are cases to be made for “actual malice,” which is defined as either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard of the truth.Wilson could claim that the statements constitute reckless disregard of the truth as established by the Obama Administration and the grand jury.

What is interesting is that both Warren and Harris are rejecting the results of the state and federal legal systems, including the judgment of professionals at the Justice Department in the case. They have criticized Trump for the same type of dismissive approach to legal standards.

What do you think?

267 thoughts on “Warren And Harris Accuse Cleared Ferguson Officer Of Murder”

  1. Officer Darren Wilson was and continues to be the victim and these 2 candidates are only too eager to victimize him further for what they believe is political gain. The officer was cleared by an investigation locally only to have a 2nd one by Eric Holder. Both agreed the facts backed the officers account of the incident that he was attacked, the hands up don’t shoot was a blatant lie. Yet this officer had to resign and move for his own safety due to the racial emotions stoked by politicians.
    Disgusting when it happened and even more so when these 2 would bring this up when it was knowingly false.

  2. Perhaps Warren, Harris and Natacha have that one grandmother…

    When my grandmother read the newspaper, she would sometimes blurt, ‘It’s a crime!’ in response to a story,” said Ben Trachtenberg, a University of Missouri law professor. “Everyone present realized that she did not literally mean that someone described in the article had violated a criminal statute. It seems at least possible that (Harris and Warren) wished to convey a sentiment like my grandmother once did and did not intend to apply the criminal law of Missouri as one might on a law school exam.
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/politifact-should-have-the-courage-to-tell-the-truth/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Monday%20through%20Friday%202019-08-15&utm_term=NRDaily-Smart

  3. when did the left ever little stuff like facts and truth enter into one of their inexplicable garbage mouth sessions. This is the group tht goes forth every day knowing it’s OK to l lie, cheat and steal.

    1. The lead starts out Warren and Harris cleared the police officer. How did they do that? Seems to me they were attempting to clear themselves of a false charge and/or slander charge.

    2. Michael, you follow Donald Trump. Obviously you don’t know what a lie is or love them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

        1. Paul, It’s kind of embarrassing to demonstrate how thoroughly you’ve been trained by a con man, down to learning the phrases.

          1. There’s no indication that Mr. Schulte has used Hill’s phrases.
            Con Man Hill’s phrases are distinct from anything Mr. Schulte writes.

  4. I look forward to reading their obits — political or otherwise. They are despicable liars and rabble-rousers who, in a sane world, would be disqualified from any public office.

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