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Gopi Patel

Michael Brown

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On August 9, 2014, 18 year old Michael Brown was fatally shot multiple times by Officer
Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Following up to their violent encounter, Brown and his
friend had gone to a convenience store where Brown then stole some cigarillos. As office Wilson
was doing his regular patrol, he noticed the two boys walking in the middle of the road, so he
drove up next to the boys and asked them to move over to the side of the road. Upon realizing
that Brown matched the description of the alleged thief from security cameras from the
convenience store, he called headquarters and proceeded to pursue Brown. An altercation ensues
after Officer Wilson positions his patrol vehicle to block the two boys as well as traffic. After this
moment, the recounts of what followed prove to be contradictory depending on who is asked.
According to the official police reports, a fight broke out between Officer Wilson and Brown,
who was standing at the window of the vehicle. Officer Wilson fired two shots from inside the
vehicle, one likely grazing Browns thumb, and the other missing him. Several witnesses
reported seeing an altercation in the S.U.V. between Officer Wilson and Brown. Some said
Brown punched Officer Wilson while Brown was partly inside the vehicle. At least one witness
said no part of Brown was ever inside the vehicle. In his own court testimony, Officer Wilson
said that Brown reached into the vehicle and fought for his gun. With these conflicting reports,
its important to note that the examiners found Browns blood or other DNA outside the drivers
door, inside the drivers door, outside the left rear passenger door, on Officer Wilsons shirt and
weapon, and the upper left thigh of Officer Wilsons pants. Moments before his death, some
witnesses said that Brown had his hands in the air. Several others said that he did not raise his
hands at all or that he raised them briefly, then dropped them and turned toward the officer.
Incongruous tales are normal, as are altercations such as this one, but what stood out in this

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instance happens to be the races of the two key people. Michael Brown was a black male, while
Office Darren Wilson was a white male patrolling in the southern region of America.
Once news spread of what occurred in what may have been a racially motivated crime,
riots and protests quickly spread across Ferguson and other parts of America. Because of this, the
case rapidly reached a celebrity status, and was sent to the grand jury. In the meantime, Officer
Darren Wilson received numerous death threats and needed to be protected just as any other
celebrity would have been. A St. Louis County grand jury decided in November not to indict
Officer Wilson in connection with the shooting of Michael Brown. Its task was to determine
whether there was probable cause to believe that Officer Wilson should be charged with a crime,
and if so, which one. A case that received this much publicity would be put under the top tier of
the Wedding Cake Model Theory as a celebrated case. The way these types of cases are
undertaken is not typical of the operations of the criminal justice system. Because they are such
high-profile cases, there are factors that need to be taken into consideration that do not exist in
more typical criminal cases. Amongst other things the security detail assigned to this case had to
take greater care in order to protect Officer Wilson, as well as all the other people involved in
this case. In addition, I think that it was beneficial for the American people that this case carried
a spotlight because shooting such as this one occur on a daily basis, and sadly most go unnoticed.
Not only does it shed a light onto what may have been a racially motivated crime, but it also
warns us to uphold the law because it was created to better serve and protect the rights of
American citizen.

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Ferguson protests: What we know about

Michael Brown's last minutes

25 November 2014

From the sectionUS & Canada

What happened in the encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael
Brown? Here is a look at what is known and what remains to be discovered.
Three minutes - that is how long it took from the time Officer Darren Wilson confronted
teenager Michael Brown at 12:01, and 12:04 when other officers arrived on the scene to
find Brown dead.
Those three minutes, and the fallout that followed, have been the source of protests,
headlines and general unrest in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. But what
exactly happened in that time is still a source of confusion.

How many times was Michael Brown shot?

According to an autopsy conducted at the request of Brown's family, the teenager was
shot at least six times, including twice in the head and four times in his right arm.
The autopsy, conducted by private pathologist Dr Baden, also revealed that Brown could
have sustained two additional re-entry wounds.
According to Dr Michael Baden, Brown was killed by one of the bullets that struck the
top of his head and entered his skull.
Details leaked from the official county autopsy published in the St Louis PostDispatch in October also reported that Brown had been shot six times.

Do the autopsies show who was at fault?

The private autopsy commissioned by Brown's family and the leaked official county
autopsy report appear to give different accounts of what happened.
Forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells, who assisted Dr Baden in the family's autopsy, said
that one of the gunshot wounds to Brown's arm could have occurred as he had his
hands up, but it remains unclear if that was the case.
This particular arm wound could have been sustained while Brown had his back to the
officer or while he was facing the officer with his arms in a defensive position.

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Dr Baden said that there was no gunshot powder residue on Brown's skin, indicating
that he was shot from more than 2ft (.6m) away, although the exact distance between
Brown and Mr Wilson at the time of the shooting remains unknown.
But the official county autopsy report appears to contradict this.
The report said Mr Brown had residue "consistent with products that are discharged
from the barrel of a firearm" on his thumb, indicating he had been shot in the hand at
close range.
This could support Mr Wilson's account of a struggle in the patrol car during which Mr
Brown reached for his weapon before he was shot and killed.

How does this compare with witness

Dorian Johnson, Mr Brown's friend who was with him during the shooting, said that the
confrontation began as a scuffle at the police car window with Mr Wilson still seated
inside. Mr Wilson fired his weapon out the window of the vehicle, said Mr Johnson, and
the two teenagers took off running down the street.
While Mr Brown was running away from Mr Wilson, Mr Johnson says that his friend was
shot once from behind and then turned to face the police officer while raising his arms
in the air. According to Mr Johnson, the officer fired several more shots at Mr Brown
before he fell to the ground.
Tiffany Mitchell, another eyewitness, recalled a similar narrative in an interview on
CNN. She said that Mr Brown briefly struggled with Mr Wilson while he was still seated
in the police car.
During the struggle, Ms Mitchell says that the officer shot his gun through the window.
Following the first gunshot, Mr Brown ran down the street, and the officer got out of his
vehicle and shot again, alleges Ms Mitchell.
But the Washington Post has reported that a number of unnamed black witnesses
have provided testimony to the St Louis county grand jury supporting Mr Wilson's
account of events.
The newspaper said seven or eight African American eyewitnesses have provided
testimony consistent with Mr Wilson's account, but none have spoken publicly out of
fear for their safety.

What have the authorities said so far?

The day after the shooting, St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters
that Mr Brown or Mr Johnson allegedly pushed Officer Wilson back into his car as he was
trying to get out, and proceeded to physically assault the officer. At some point, they
struggled over Mr Wilson's weapon. A shot was fired in the car, at which point the officer
got out of vehicle, and shot Mr Brown.
There have been a number of unofficial statements detailing Mr Wilson's version of
events in the media, including the description given to a local radio station by a woman
who identified herself as "Josie".

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According to Josie, when Mr Wilson tried to get out of his car, Brown pushed him back in,
and punched him in the face. Mr Wilson reached for his gun, but Brown grabbed it.
When Mr Wilson pushed Brown away, the gun went off inside the car.
Josie said Brown then ran off and taunted Mr Wilson when he told the teenager to
freeze. Brown then rushed at the officer at full speed, which is when he was shot dead.
CNN has reported that Josie's account matches with the account given by Mr Wilson to
the St Louis grand jury.