I maintain that, under the legal system and the legal standards, the Ferguson grand jury did not have probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson. That should prompt a discussion as to whether the legal system is sufficient to take care of what is clearly a national problem — the prevalence of cop-on-black violence.
But that discussion is for another day I write here to point out one aspect of Officer Darren Wilson’s actions in his confrontation with Michael Brown that hasn’t received much attention.
By his own admission, Wilson got out of his car and chased Brown, who he knew was unarmed. Wilson said that he fired several shots when Brown supposedly turned and charged him. By his own admission, Wilson missed Brown with some of the shots. Then he fired again, another series of shots, some of which missed and some of which hit Brown, killing him. “I don’t know how many I shot,” Wilson told the grand jury, “I just know I shot it.” We can hope that “it” means the gun and not Brown.
This all took place in the middle of the day at the Canfield Green Apartments, a public housing project in Ferguson that has far, far more than its fair share of crime and poverty. Wilson killed Brown on August 9, a little after noon. It was a summer day; school didn’t start until August 25. So in the middle of a housing project, with apartments and people all around, Officer Darren Wilson made the tactical decision to fire wildly at an unarmed man who was posing no threat to anyone except him.
As many have said, Wilson could have gotten back in his SUV and awaited backup. But, no matter what you think happened, we know that Wilson decided the best course of action was to fire ten bullets, no matter who might get hurt. We also know that some of those shots hit the apartment buildings around Wilson and Brown. And we know that Wilson is pretty damn lucky he didn’t hurt or kill anyone else while he was firing his gun over and over.
We need more black police and better police training. Not only on issues of race, but issues relating to the use of deadly force.
Exhibit A is Darren Wilson. Exhibit B is this:
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland police officer fatally shot Tamir Rice immediately after leaving his moving patrol car while his partner stayed at the wheel, surveillance video shows.
The video showed Wednesday by police captures the Saturday afternoon shooting at a West Side recreation center in which 12-year-old Rice was shot.
The video contains no audio.
A rookie officer pulled the trigger, said Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.
Police were sent to the Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. when someone called 9-1-1 to report a “guy with a gun pointing it at people.”
The caller told dispatchers twice that the gun was “probably fake,” but that detail was not relayed to the responding officers, Follmer said.