Yes indeed, this was the week, Monday to be precise, that the St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury, was to render whether or not to indict Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of Michael Brown this past October.
And sure enough this past Monday evening, the St. Louis county district attorney, Robert McCulloch, in excruciating detail explained all that he presented to the grand jury and told the world that they will not indict the White police officer in the shooting death of the Black youth on August 9 of this year.
And the reaction ended up being the dreckstorm of the 21st century.
It appears that from the start of what should have been a tragic but routine story, everything surrounding it was problematic from the start.
No question that Mr. Wilson did kill Mr. Brown. But that is the only thing that all agree about.
As Mr. McCulloch said in his statement, it was within minutes that social media caught wind of it and the information being provided was muddled at best. But the seemingly damning piece of "eyewitness" accounts came from the friend that was accompanying Mr. Brown on the fateful night, Dorian Johnson. It was Mr. Johnson who claimed that Mr. Brown was being harassed and that his friend did escape a scuffle with Mr. Wilson. According to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Brown turned around and raised his hands as if to surrender and then, Mr. Wilson played shooting gallery with Mr. Brown. An unarmed Mr. Brown.
Only, that is not quite what happened.
Let's look at Mr. McCulloch's statement regarding the so-called hands up of surrender:
The description of how Mr. Brown hands, raised his hands, or the position of his hands, is not consistent among the witnesses. Some describe his hands as being out to his sides, some said in front of him with palms up, others said his hands were raised by his head or by his shoulders. Still others describe his hands is being in a running position or in fists.
Only Mr. Johnson still insists that Mr. Brown had his hands up in the air as if he was surrendering as he went towards Mr. Wilson.
Thus, again according to the statement of Mr. McCullogh, Mr. Wilson feared for his life as he had already endured being roughed-up by Mr. Brown. That is when he started shooting for he did not know if Mr. Brown had a weapon or not.
That is the basic story.
But a lot of what happened after that was the dreckstorm on steroids.
Clearly, no one thought that it would have been a good idea to at the very least cover-up Mr. Brown's body as the immediate investigation was taking place. As people were believing that Mr. Brown was trying to surrender to Mr. Wilson, they also saw this as a sign of disrespect. And I agree.
But now this was becoming a cause celebre. The likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were beginning to sink their fangs into another case of a White cop killing a Black kid indiscriminately. The town of Ferguson itself was a town of change for only about 25 years ago it was a majority White town and now the majority was Black. Yet the police department was overwhelmingly White. Now I am never certain about whether it matters that law enforcement and or firefighters and the like have to absolutely reflect the make up of any community. But in this case, the fact is there were very few Black officers.
So, many of the people of Ferguson were beginning to think, hm, there must be something to it. Mr. Wilson was merely suspended pending an investigation per the law. There was a build up of hostility and there was days of a show of force fit for a third-world nation. The reason is that little was done and when it was done, it was too late. Eventually, the Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, appointed a member of the Missouri highway patrol, Capt. Ron Johnson, as a point man to coordinate a better response from the Ferguson police department, the St. Louis County police (there is no sheriff as in almost all other counties in the United States.) and the Missouri highway patrol. Now to many, myself included, Capt. Johnson seemed to be way to accommodating to people meaning to cause trouble. But, what he was trying to do in the best way possible is to stop the dreckstorm from an all out explosion. and he did a decent job under horrible circumstances.
In my estimation, the Ferguson police and St. Louis County police were in over their head. They had no clue that by then this was, to coin a phrase, a big f---ing deal. It was not their finest moments.
But many were complaining that the grand jury, which was convened on August 23, was taking a long time. And there was a reason for it.
No doubt that Mr. McCulloch could have avoided such a circus. He had the power himself to charge Mr. Wilson with one of four potential charges, the most serious being first degree murder all the way down to involuntary manslaughter.
So why didn't Mr. McCulloch do that?
I will state that this is pure speculation on my part, but Mr. McCulloch looked at very similar cases around the United States. Although the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin was not a case involving a police officer, it was the most recent case of a White shooting of an unarmed Black youth. We all know what happened with that one. And what could he charge him with? It is clear that it would be all but impossible to charge with first degree murder as that means having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Wilson premeditated, or planned, to kill Mr. Brown. Involuntary manslaughter would be the minimal charge and even if convicted, also not an overwhelming possibility, Mr. Wilson probably would serve less than 10 years.
In other words, Mr. McCulloch handed it off to the county grand jury. But not in a usual way.
As Mr. McCulloch noted, there was mountains of evidence, 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses and the police officer facing charges, Mr. Wilson and over 4,700 pages of transcript for all to see. And the grand jury came back with the only decision that it could.
No true bill, or no indictment on any charges.
But to add insult to incompetence, Mr. McCulloch thought, gee, I'll make my statement at 8pm on Monday evening. Maybe all those wanting to stir up trouble will be tucked away in bed.
I know that everything is earlier in the Central Time Zone. All television shows in prime time is 7pm to 10pm unlike the coastal time zones, which are from 8pm to 11pm. You know for all the farmers and the like.
But the fact is that it was known that there was a decision in the early afternoon. Yet Mr. McCulloch made his announcement while the buildup of potential anger only had more time to grow.
And of course the dreckstorm blew its lid and it was on.
Businesses were looted throughout the city and cars and buildings were set ablaze. It was a full-fledged riot. Little if anything was done to stop it. In fact, Gov. Nixon had deployed the state national guard to the region. Where were they? Sure as hell not doing a damn thing to stop the conflagration.
Later that evening, St. Louis county police chief, Jon Belmar and Capt. Johnson of the highway patrol expressed, I can't believe that I am writing this, shock that the events escalated to full-scale rioting.
Are those two kidding?!
I am but a humble blogger in Pasadena, California and just doing a cursory look around the internet and they would know that trouble was going to be made by every race-huckster extremists along with far-left allies. Hell, even pro-Palestinians were gonna hijack it and link the events of Ferguson to their cause.
But Laurel and Hardy, well they just could not believe it.
And the dreckstorm went nationwide and has even disrupted the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday.
Now a little more background I chose to save to this point of the post.
Mr. Brown was not just harassed then killed by Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson heard a radio call of a robbery at a convinence store. As he was finishing up another call, he heard another call with a description of the suspect. And then, he saw Mr. Brown.
A video later surfaced from the convenience store showing Mr. Brown with Swisher Sweet cigars and shoving and pushing a clerk trying to stop him from stealing the cigars.
Mr. Brown after three separate autopsies and blood samples was shown to have marijuana in his system.
Going back to the robbery, Swisher Sweets are also known as blunts and used to smoke marijuana.
There is A+B=C.
Mr. Wilson never knew if Mr. Brown was armed or not until after the shooting.
A question was brought up where was there a taser gun? Mr. Wilson said that he did not have a taser gun.
Now while we are given the impression that all the elected officials involved were eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll, raaaaacist (remember, there are five a's in raaaaacist!) Republicans, that is not true. Every elected official involved, the governor, Mr. Nixon, the St. Louis county DA, Mr. McCulloch, all the county elected officials and the city council of Ferguson were all Democrats.
Darren Wilson has resigned from the Ferguson police department and I doubt he will ever be involved in law enforcement again.
Could things have been done differently? Possibly but that is requiring a great deal of hindsight. Is systemic racism involved in this case? Doubtful as I see it. A crime was committed and there is no doubt a chain of events took place that probably would have turned out the same way no matter the race of those involved.
The one thing is certain.
That Ferguson, a town few heard of before August 9, 2014, sure has caused one helluva dreckstorm.
*Dreckstorm-dreck is a Yiddish word. A kinder way of saying s*it. Thus, a kinder way of saying a S*itstorm.