Think of the children of Ferguson, Missouri UPDATED

UPDATE: All six project fully funded as of Nov 25. Thanks everyone!

I am not surprised but I am disappointed. The grand jury convened to consider the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by Darrin Wilson has decided there are no grounds for a trial.

There is one tiny, but undeniably tangible, thing that I can do to register my feelings from afar.

Searching by Zip Code 63135 at Donors Choose I found quite a few hits on project proposals from the teachers of Ferguson.

I invite you to join me in donating to help the school children of Ferguson further their education.

Mrs. Hicks' third grade classroom at Ferguson Central Elementary needs a rug for children to sit on for circle time. A rug.

Mr. Eye has to teach children at Ferguson Middle school in two classrooms at once.

Now my students in my second room have to cram around the doorway or in the other room and watch my instruction and then go back and try to remember how it was done unlike the students who can see the board form their seats and can follow along with instruction as I go through group activities. I utilize this method of instruction 50% of the time as the other 50% is project based. My students who are in a separate room because of space problems are at a disadvantage and have less time to work as they have to ask questions multiple times because they can not follow along as I give instruction, tips, and address concerns.

Mr Eye is asking for a little technological upgrading to help the poor unfortunate kids trying to learn in these circumstances. It's the US in 2014 people.

Ms. Milliano's Books project at Walnut Grove Elementary School is one that will knock you down with its topicality.

The students in our school come from low socioeconomic households, usually headed by single mothers. Many of our students are not exposed to matter and events on a national or global level. Most of the students in our building have little contact with kids their age beyond those in our school district.
...
We would use these news magazines to increase awareness of global and national current events, and promote discussion on how such events impact them. We will use the math series to demonstrate the importance and use of math in everyday life. Most importantly we will use the magazines to show the lives and accomplishments of people of their own age.


Update: ONWARD!

Mrs. Randoll's students at Walnut Grove Elementary School need help learning math.

I am so excited about these number and shape manipulatives because they are items my students can, and will, use each day. My students will use these during Math Work Stations to build math skills such as: number identification, rote counting, number fluency, and sorting.

Mrs. Linder's Technology project at Airport Elementary School in Berkeley, MO is devoted to children with significant challenges in addition to underfunded school systems and general socio-economic disparity.

I work with students with Individualized Eduction Plans with a variety of diagnoses including Autism, Intellectual Disability, ADHD, and many others. We work on skills to be successful in the school setting such as handwriting, cutting, feeding, and self care skills. These students are multi-sensory learners who benefit from repetition and learning in a variety of ways.

...and just like the circle time rug, I'm tearing up again. Help if you can.

The cello has the most beautiful sound of all the strings. Mrs. Burke's music program at Berkeley Middle School could use a rack to secure the instruments. And dare she ask? A new upright bass?

Our school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District serves mostly students who are below the poverty line. They rarely have their own instruments. Young musicians use district instruments, some of which have been in the district since the 80's. They rent them for $25.00/year. Some continue to rent instruments for the 10 years that they are in the orchestra program. This is difficult for many of our parents.

91 responses so far

  • Sue says:

    What an excellent idea! I've donated, and posted the link on my Facebook. Thank you!!

  • louis says:

    dm,

    a question. is it possible to make a single donation to be divided equally among the 6 projects mentioned in your post?. pls, give instructions. thanks

  • drugmonkey says:

    Some of them are already funded. You can keep adding smaller donations to individual projects, they get put into a shopping cart type of thing familiar from online shopping at various sites and then you check out with a single payment, if that helps.

  • louis says:

    thanks. i'll do it later on today.

  • doctor chick says:

    Thanks for sharing - and in general for being so cognizant of privilege and using it for good! Sent in a donation and posted on the ubiquitous FB.

  • Omer says:

    This seems great. I donated already. Thanks Drug Monkey. 🙂

  • Jonathan says:

    It's more productive than my plan of throwing bricks at things, so I donated.

  • STL postdoc, not disgruntled yet says:

    Great suggestions. 🙂 That was just the kick I needed to send some $ to someone who needs it and to bombard my friends' news feeds with suggestions to donate a bit as well.

    Also--for those of you not in the area, most of the schools around here are closed today and tomorrow (mostly because of the unrest and not because of the holiday), which means a lot of the kids who are usually in school aren't getting breakfast or lunch. The food pantries were hit hard from the first round of things in August and are still struggling a bit. If you can't find your favorite project to fund in the links above, consider the food pantries as well (St. Stephen's has a great one that serves much of the Ferguson area).

    http://saint-stephens.info/collaboration/our-community-the-vine/food-pantry/

    http://stlfoodbank.org/

  • STL postdoc, not disgruntled yet says:

    Great suggestion. 🙂 It was just the kick I needed to send some $ to someone who needs it, and to bombard my friends' news feeds with suggestions to do the same.

    Also, for those not in the area--most of the schools around here are closed today and tomorrow because of the unrest. This means that there are lots of kiddos who aren't getting breakfast and lunch today. The food pantries were hit pretty hard in August and are still struggling a bit, so if your favorite project has been funded completely, consider sending some funds to the food pantries in the area:

    http://saint-stephens.info/collaboration/our-community-the-vine/food-pantry/

    http://stlfoodbank.org/

  • Mikka says:

    What kind of fucked up system drives ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICES to BEGGING just to cover their most basic roles?

    Here's what bugs me: Low taxes + tax deductions for donations = Only the causes that rich people care about get funded. Not the general public interest.

    Throwing a few bucks at these underfunded schools is good, but why isn't everybody screaming bloody murder for HIGHER FUCKING TAXES? Or at least a school funding system that doesn't exacerbate and perpetuate differences between the rich and poor?

  • Busy says:

    Throwing a few bucks at these underfunded schools is good, but why isn't everybody screaming bloody murder for HIGHER FUCKING TAXES?

    Because Americans have bought into the lie that "taxes are too high" in spite of having the lowest effective tax rates of any developed nation in the world.

    By the way, where I live I pay about 1.5x more taxes than I used to pay in California, while getting 2-3x the services I got there: our public schools work and 95+% of kids attend one, our streets are paved, the police actually deters crime, health care is free, and so on.

    I'm very happy to pay the additional 0.5x taxes in exchange for all that.

  • Pascale says:

    My husband grew up in North St. Louis County in the 1970s when the Ferguson-Florrisant school district educated middle class, primarily white, children. It is so sad to see what was once an excellent school district deteriorate like this.
    Why?
    About a decade ago white flight began as the area integrated. Older people often do not want to pay taxes for schools after their kids have graduated; if those children are of another race, then they are doubly unimportant.
    Of course, I can show you lily-white areas of my current metropolitan home that do not have money for paper but just voted for a governor who wants to lower taxes again for the upper income levels in the state.
    So much wrong...

  • Noni Mausa says:

    I applaud the donations, and yet... and yet...

    This sort of thing is, essentially, a tax on the compassionate. Caring people care, while uncaring people increase their wealth.

    This is why private charities are not only less effective, less efficient than public programs, but actually work against the very people who care the most. Shameful.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I agree. Which is why I also devote some of my social media time to advocating people not vote the Selfish Party into office.

  • drugmonkey says:

    For those of you new to Donors Choose and, more specifically, this blog's occasional posts soliciting your help, all glory goes to Janet Stemwedel who spearheaded a science-bloggers drive for years. She introduced many of us to Donors Choose and I am eternally grateful for this.

  • ecologist says:

    It felt good to donate. But, after I donated, I got an email back from the teacher. If you want to know how good THAT felt, I suggest you go donate right now. Thanks to DM for this suggestion (and also to Janet Stemwedel).

    Yes, yes, schools should be supported so well that Donors Choose would wither away as irrelevant. But that's not the world we live in or that the kids in those schools experience. Doing a little bit to help is better than nothing.

  • Lady Scientist says:

    I agree with Mikka's sentiment, except I see a direct relationship between MIC funding and defunding of social safety net programs and public education. We don't need higher taxes, except on the wealthy. We also need to close tax loopholes and shift our funding priorities.

  • becca says:

    Done!
    I am feeling psychically drained from an old FB friend who is being a racist ass. I know it shouldn't irk me, but... ugh.
    Anyway, thanks for the project links... I needed every little bit of "something positive to do about this" I can get, given the futility of SIWOTI.

  • SidVic says:

    I think this program that DM advocates is commendable and neat. That stated I find this thread is delusional.

    DM-"I am not surprised but I am disappointed." Disappointed, why? Because they didn’t kangaroo court this cop? I respect your powers of analysis- hey that’s why I read you. I suggest that you analyze the final report on the Brown shooting. It is beyond reason that the policeman should be charged in this instance.

    DM-"devote some of my social media time to advocating people not vote the Selfish Party into office." Ahem… You do realize that the party-of-the-caring control ferguson from top to bottom; and by top, I mean president, att. gen., governor and prosecutor. This may be correlative, but the Dems have controlled most of the places where these problems have gotten much worse for several generations now.

    Mikka-"screaming bloody murder for HIGHER FUCKING TAXES"- Yeah higher taxes will solve this problem. I recognize genius when I see it, consider hat doffed. Although… I am pretty sure that the tax base of Ferguson lay in ashes.

    B-"By the way, where I live I pay about 1.5x more taxes than I used to pay in California, while getting 2-3x the services I got there: our public schools work and 95+% of kids attend one, our streets are paved, the police actually deters crime, health care is free, and so on.
    I'm very happy to pay the additional 0.5x taxes in exchange for all that."
    This one made me laugh, thanks for that. The problem with California is low taxes? If only they could be raised 50%; then paradise. Let me hazard a guess- you moved to Canada or a Nordic country. You busy Sir/Madam- I accuse of white flight (see Pascale below). Yeah I said it.

    DOC C "Thanks for sharing - and in general for being so cognizant of privilege." Not sure what this even means but I don’t think I like it.

    Let me encapsulate events. A cop works in neighborhood that I am confident in hazarding none of commentators here would venture into without a change in undershorts. He is responding to a call for an infant in distress. He is attacked by a large aggressive strong-arm robber (see video, or don't you believe your lying eyes) and forced to shoot man. Community responds by “burning the bitch down”. And by bitch I mean minority owned businesses. Shameless.

  • Mikka says:

    It's fucking self-evident that higher taxes and a national school funding system, instead of this fucked up "local taxes for local schools" abomination would solve the problem. If you don't think that's desirable, stop saluting the flag and calling yourself American, because you obviously don't give a rat's ass about your fellow citizens.

  • drugmonkey says:

    SidVic- do you have even the slightest understanding of the rate at which cop vs noncop perps are indicted by grand juries? Or for that matter the lean that they typically have for indictment?

  • Lady Scientist says:

    Just to clarify: the "MIC" I referred to earlier is how progressives (I identify as one) refer to the Military Industrial Complex.

    @ Mikka: the "local taxes for local schools" and private schools deal is how us Americans enforce segregation along socioeconomic lines. It is completely intentional. There are a lot of people who, as Pascale pointed out above, really don't want to help anyone not like themselves out with their tax money ,which is also another reason why wealthy types don't support increased taxation on their income, etc., seek out tax loopholes, and prefer to donate to certain charities as tax write-offs, instead of contributing to the common pool of funds that go toward social safety net and educational programs.

    My mother is a member of a women's club in her area, and at the holiday gift drive, she donated a lot of books (stuff she'd kept since her kids had left the house). She was told not to donate books anymore, as "we don't really care for them to become literate." Instead, they suggested that next time she donate stuffed animals and other toys. So, she now makes an extra effort to donate books every year. She grew up during and after WWII in a European country that was especially hard hit by the war. Most of her friends growing up were orphaned, and the country in which she lived went through a massive depression post-war - she still remembers the rationing, how people went hungry, etc. So, for her and her friends, education was the only way for themselves (and their country) to pull themselves out of hardship, and she really gets upset at how some people want to kill opportunities for others by defunding education here in the U.S. She lived through extremely hard times and, even though she's not a POC, totally "gets" what's happening to certain groups of people in this country.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    DM - Do you think the facts in this case would be likely to support a conviction beyond reasonable doubt?

  • Drugmonkey says:

    We won't know, will we?

    But sure, I think the facts support having a trial to find out.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Just curious, though - Do you believe that MB hit DW in the face and grabbed DW's gun?

  • drugmonkey says:

    I believe we have differing accounts that have not been examined properly under our legal procedures. There is certainly good reason for the killer to lie about what happened so statements made by him should be treated skeptically.

    Do you believe there is insufficient reason for a trial N-c? And if so, on what basis?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I think any honest appraisal of the facts would conclude that this case could never in a million years withstand the scrutiny of a jury trial. This is an exceptionally weak case for the social justice crowd to hitch their wagon to. I am trying to understand if those who are pushing this case are still hung up on the bogus initial narrative, or have somehow created an alternate reality around imagined facts or paranoid fantasy. Frankly, I find it impossible to believe that people can honestly read the transcripts and believe the results could be other than dismissal.

    Have you read the transcripts? Of course there is conflicting testimony from interested parties, as in any legal case. That cannot be a standard for bringing trial, or every claim would merit trial. I am taking about numerous disinterested eyewitnesses, as well as consistent forensic evidence, clearly indicating the suspect grabbed the officer's gun, and then charged him outside the car.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I should add that I take seriously the issues of police brutality and racism. But this case is so bad that it sets back the cause. There have been a few more legitimate cases that have received less attention in the months since Ferguson erupted.

  • drugmonkey says:

    "Disinterested eyewitnesses" eh? That says it all dude.

    And to your last point, bullshit. Injustice is injustice and should be opposed whether it is the "perfect" case (and what does that mean?) or not.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I am truly perplexed by your response, DM. Are you suggesting that the African-American bystanders who reported on MB's aggressive moves had something to gain from their testimony? I must be missing something because I don’t know why that "says it all," dude. Seriously, I am really trying to understand where you are coming from, and I have this feeling of being somehow out of the loop.

    Also, I don't follow your criticism of my last point. I never said anything about a "perfect" case (don't know why you put that in quotes and then questioned what it meant, since I never said it). I am saying that the Ferguson case, in its specifics, is a very bad example of supposed injustice -- unless you close your eyes to all the facts that ultimately emerged after the first 24 hours when the outrage narrative was first whipped up.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I don't agree with your apparent belief that there are better and worse cases of injustice. It either is present or not and the goal should be to determine, through the mechanisms of our justice system, if an injustice occurred.

    The fact that cops are hardly ever indicted (even in your alleged good cases of injustice) and non-cop, non-wealthy, non-white perps brought to grand jury by prosecutors almost always are indicted should have your suspicions raised in a general sense even before we get to any particulars. The sheer number of lies and misleading statements, character assassination, etc made by the authorities in this case should again have you concerned about the general status of justice.

    As it happens, these particulars make a strong case all by themselves. The points of exoneration are weak and essentially rest on the testimony of the perp himself as to Brown grabbing his weapon. You seem to think there were witnesses to what happened inside of the police cruiser- how could that work, exactly? Who could have seen if Brown ever touched the gun, if he went for it first (think of the physical reality of this claim) or if he was defending himself from an out-of-control Wilson? Wilson had custody of his firearm long enough to contaminate it after the fact with Brown's DNA. The extensive stonewalling/bullshitting of the police raise significant concerns about other forensics people faking evidence as well. We don't knownwhich scenario is true and it justifies a trial to find out.

    The notion Wilson had to keep shooting after Brown stopped running away and raised his hands in surrender is worrisome in the extreme. The distances involved in the photographic record (not witness dependent) show clearly Wilson had time to get back in his vehicle and lock the door if he was so threatened. He didn't so...obvious lie as to state of mind and actual threat.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The bottom line, N-c, is that you are making a choice as to which evidence you believe and which you dismiss. You, from whatever experiences and biases you have, are assuming you know what really happened. You are jumping to conclude that you know what is just in the absence of a full hearing.

    That is not backing a rule of law or a system of actual Justice.

    I am saying that if an adversarial trial is our way to resolve differences of viewpoint and to ensure a fair hearing, then the evidence more than supports indictment. I am not claiming, as you are, to know what the outcome of a trial would be.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    The grand jury system is part of our rule of law and system of actual justice. It is bizarre to believe that an adversarial trial, in which a full defense can be mounted and the burden of proof is substantially higher, should be ordered when the prosecutor's evidence cannot even support a grand jury indictment.

    You seem to be unaware of a mountain of evidence in this case, including forensic evidence such as the powder burns on MB's hand, as well as the sworn testimony of Witness 10, Witness 14, Witness 34, and Witness 48, who all report MB charging DW. These accounts are also supported by the autopsy evidence, as well as the position of the blood stains and shell casings on the pavement.

    I am following the preponderance of the evidence, DM. You, on the other hand, seem predisposed to believe in police conspiracies and one-size-fits-all narratives. Given your belief in conspiracies everywhere, I'm not even sure why you think a jury trial would deliver Justice.

  • Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    In the vast majority of grand jury proceedings, prosecutors selectively present only those witnesses and evidence that would support an indictment, as there is no requirement that they do otherwise. In this case, the prosecutor apparently played the role of a zealous defense attorney.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Not quite accurate. But even if so, it is irrelevant, unless you believe DM's conspiracy theories that the evidence presented was cooked.

  • Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    You are a disingenuous lying piece of right-wing white-supremacist garbage, and I am certainly not going to argue with you. Anyone who is interested in the idiosyncrasies of this particular grand jury proceeding as implemented by the prosecutor, and how those idiosyncrasies guaranteed a no-indictment ruling when the facts existed to easily guarantee an indictment, can easily find such information on the Internet.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Well said, CPP. You are as cogent and persuasive as ever.

    The idiosyncratic component of this grand jury was that the case was even presented, when the DA knew that there was a mountain of exculpatory evidence. Clearly, he presented the case out of an abundance of deference to political opinion (ginned up based on a phony narrative). It would have hardly served the cause of justice (or civil peace, for that matter) to bring this case to a trial only to have it turn into an embarrassing fiasco resulting in speedy acquittal.

  • SidVic says:

    Nicely argued N-C; or is it N"disingenuous lying piece of right-wing white-supremacist garbage" C. Don't worry i was invited to renounce my citizenship. You covered it all, but the piece that DM ignores is that all of the political pressure was exerted, not in exoneration, but in the direction of Wilson being hung out to dry. E Holder, the president's men, and the usual suspects (Sharpton etc al.) were on the case. The politically expedient thing was to throw wilson under the bus.

    So I agree that the grand jury was unusual, but not in favor of wilson. In normal circumstances, given the Facts, internal review would have cleared the shooting, and the prosecutor would decline to even consider prosecution. Instead a elaborate grand jury process was enjoined and made very transparent. So i agree they didn't try hard for a indictment. Political cover.

    The danger of the views expressed by DM as i see it are that the communities under discussion desperately need good,and dare i say it, aggressive, policing (chicago anyone?). The default setting of DM, and certainly the rioters, were to blame the cop before digesting the *facts* of the case. Well if the cops know that they will be throw to the wolves if something bad happens, guess what? They will hide out in the doughnut shop and the streets be damned, a la Dinkin's new york.

    Finally since i'm ranting anyways (sorry) let me respond to the illustrative comment by LS about the ladies group that told her grandma "we don't really care for them to become literate." Really? You want to cast a ladies charity group that is collecting presents for inner city kids as evil apartheid racists? I simply don't believe the quote. Probably, the experienced philanthropist related that the inner city kids don't like book presents- what kid does!- and that she should consider toys. But grandma, like DM, doesn't care. They know whats really going on here. I just ask you, consider the disappointment of the little tykes on xmas mourning when, brimming with anticipation they awake to open a book; picked by elderly eastern european. For shame!

  • Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    When someone with a fucken gun kills someone without a gun, shitte is fucken fucked uppe.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    It is a tragedy that MB's life led him to this fatal confrontation. But when a very big man (who has just committed a violent robbery) physically attacks a police officer and grabs his gun, it is not necessarily outrageous if he gets shot.

  • drugmonkey says:

    How do you know Brown "grabbed" Wilson's gun? This seems important to your case and no witness other than the victim and the killer could possibly have seen what happened.

    Wilson is already on record as having lied to the GJ about whether he hit Brown intentionally with his car door. A prior statement to investigators from Wilson admitted hitting Brown intentionally. As the other close witness reported. So this questions Wilson's credibility and enhances Johnson's.

  • drugmonkey says:

    N-c: how is noting that there is conflicting testimony (and conflict between some testimony and likely reality) the same as claiming that the evidence has been "cooked"? My argument for indictment does not rest on disbelief of uncontested facts. It centers on the fact that there is reasonable need to resolve the contested facts.

  • drugmonkey says:

    May we assume that N-c and SidVic are more knowledgeable than this pinko-lefty Supreme Court Justice?

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/26/3597322/justice-scalia-explains-what-was-wrong-with-the-ferguson-grand-jury/

  • Lady Scientist says:

    SidVic, I'd dignify your comment with a more in-depth response if I thought you deserved the time and effort.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I would disagree with you about the relative credibility & contradictions of Wilson & Johnson, but let's set aside both of their testimonies as highly biased. Strictly on the basis of the gunpowder burns and position of the entry wound on MB's right thumb (not to mention MB's DNA on the gun which you believe was tampered with -- ie, "cooked"), it is logical to conclude that MB was likely reaching for the weapon. I am truly puzzled about what alternate explanation you would have that is consistent with Occam's razor.

    Regarding your argument for indictment, I again emphasize that you misunderstand the nature of the grand jury system. Indictments are not brought in order to sift through all possible interpretations of the evidence in the abstract. When there is a boatload of exculpatory evidence such that a conviction beyond reasonable doubt is all but impossible, it would be inappropriate and unjust to bring the case to trial just to perform an academic exercise.

    Again, I am truly struggling to understand what you think happened here. Just some cartoonish vision of racist cop seeking out an unarmed young black kid to kill at random? Do you not at least acknowledge that the original #HandsUpDontShoot narrative has been conclusively demonstrated to be bogus? That at least 4 independent, disinterested eyewitnesses from the community saw MB charge DW? That there are no entry wounds from the back, and that the final kill shot trajectory is consistent with the eyewitness reports that he was charging like a football player?

  • drugmonkey says:

    What "charge"? There are some dozen who saw no charge but rather a hands up surrender.

    As to the gun, if we take your version of the forensics as true, it is entirely consistent with Brown trying to ward off being shot by an out-of-control police officer. The out of control but is well supported by the number of shots that were in Brown. There's your supposed Occam's Razor.

    Now, apply your supposed logical powers to why Brown decided to "charge" from over a hundred feet away (by photo evidence btw, not testimony) ? How did that work?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Just saw the Scalia post. Cute, but not quite on the mark. That case was litigated over whether there was an affirmative obligation for the prosecutor to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury. It does not state that it is not permissible to present exculpatory evidence.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Nice dodge on Scalia's point there dude. It simply begs the question

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Sorry for the cross-posting. I am seeing your posts only after mine.

    Re: what "charge"? I cited my witnesses above. The pattern of blood stains and entry wounds also supports the claim.

    At least now I am starting to understand where you are coming from, so at least the conversation has been productive to that extent.

  • drugmonkey says:

    If Wilson took quite some time to emerge from the vehicle, Brown was running away and didn't stop until Wilson shot him..... What was the justification for this? Was Brown supposedly some threat to anyone else at that point?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    My Scalia point is not a dodge. Not sure what you mean. That case was addressing the converse question. Logic dictates that converse is not automatically implicated in the original statement. (incidentally, it is a lame rhetorical tactic to cite Scalia as an authority when you know you would have agreed with the dissent in any other situation -- you need to do better than to get cheap talking points from thinkprogress)

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    It was Wilson's duty to pursue a dangerous perp. And the lack of entry wounds in the back definitively undermines your narrative.

  • drugmonkey says:

    "Charging like a football player"? Is this your convenient interpretation of Wilson shooting Brown in the top of the head as he was falling on his face? Even the "charge" witnesses appear to be describing a few steps at best... Are you lowered like a runing back at that point? Go try that outside and report back.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Again, sorry for the cross-posting. Regarding your link the thefreethoughtproject -- this again is off the mark. The 1985 case in question involved someone who was shot in the back of the head while simply fleeing. The whole point of the present case is that DW believed MB to be a threat irrespective of his fleeing, and that he stopped fleeing and again confronted ("charged") DW.

  • drugmonkey says:

    We don't know that Wilson had any evidence whatever that Brown was a "dangerous" perp. He was a jaywalker who didn't take kindly to the officer reversing aggressively, hitting him with a car door and attempting to hold on to him whilst drawing his service weapon in anger and actually firing it from inside the vehicle.

    This is a perfectly valid interpretation of the available evidence, supported by the only direct surviving witness who was not in need of a murder alibi.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    The football player quote is not my interpretation, it is from a witness: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/darren-wilson/witnesss-said-brown-charged-wilson-897043

  • drugmonkey says:

    You seem to be claiming that the police are allowed to shoot dead *anyone* if they happen to think they are a "dangerous perp". True?

  • drugmonkey says:

    One account of many. Several accounts describe Brown as falling forward with Wilson still shooting. Why is the one more trustworthy in your mind?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    No, that is not what I am claiming at all. I am claiming that DW believed he had an affirmative duty to *pursue* the suspect whom he believed to be a dangerous perp (and he did know about the robbery). That is why he left the car and gave pursuit. He shot when MB turned and "charged" in a threatening manner.

  • drugmonkey says:

    It just seems like your interpretations require that you go with the minority of the eyewitness accounts. Why is that? Not having seen them in person, how do you decide who is most credible?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Actually, 4 accounts of many. And, based on detailed review that is too extensive to go into here, these witnesses have fewer internal contradictions in their testimony and are also not connected to MB or DJ (or DW) in any manner.

  • drugmonkey says:

    It is unclear that Wilson connected these two to the robbery. If he did, he would know it wasn't armed or even very injurious robbery. Any impression of "dangerous" perp he made up or, as the preponderance of evidence shows *created* with his actions. So this description of his state of mind sure as hell needs adversarial cross examination.

    It is not clear that Brown stopped running before being hit, not clear he moved threateningly before Wilson started shooting, or at all. You are manufacturing your certainty by cherry picking your preferred evidence with no justification for doing so.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    The primary "witnesses" who initially reported the #HandsUpDontShoot narrative have been picked apart extensively since the release of the testimony. Also, the grand jury clearly seemed to find them less than fully credible.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Was Wilson "picked apart extensively"? And please supply links for your claims.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    There was considerable uncertainty prior to last week about whether DW knew about the robbery. The DA has stated definitively that he did know, and he heard about it on the police radio. It is not likely that the radio call went into extensive detail about how hard the store clerk was pushed, only that there was a violent robbery.

  • drugmonkey says:

    You do grasp that since this discussion is about what the grand jury should have done, that talking about believing something because the grand jury (or a subset thereof) believed it is circular, right?

  • drugmonkey says:

    So we don't know jack shit about what Wilson heard (meaning internalized) on the radio. We know from Wilson's own testimony that he fronted two jaywalkers *for jaywalking* and was pissed off that they refused his command to get the F on the sidewalk. Wilson was by no account, even his own, stopping them as suspected violent robbers. Then things got busy.

    Where in all of this did Wilson suddenly realize he had to pursue this violent robbery suspect? When did he change from being mad about them not respecting his command to thinking (legitimately) that these were robbers who posed a threat to...?

    Point being that Wilson's actions do not support your theory of his state of mind or claims from the DA that Wilson was acting on this robbery information.

    Btw, was the sandal/shoe issue ever explained? I missed that.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Also how do you square Wilson's description of physical attack with the photographic evidence of his "injuries"? A mild slap to the face leaves more of a mark!

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Ben Shapiro provides some relevant links here: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/19/hands-up-story

    The key witnesses in favor of the initial narrative contradict each other, whereas the "charge" accounts are consistent: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/390507/ferguson-witness-michael-brown-did-not-have-his-hands-charles-c-w-cooke

    You point about circularity is also off the mark. The grand jury saw all of the evidence, weighed the relative credibility of the sources, and decided the evidence did not support indictment. That is relevant to this discussion.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    My links are stuck in moderation. Your point about DW's facial injuries is most puzzling to me. We are through the looking glass when we are critiquing MB for not hitting him hard enough!

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Listen, I need to go to bed at this point -- I have some early meetings in the morning. I appreciate the (somewhat) respectful nature of the interaction. As I said before, at least I now understand better where you are coming from.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Wow, N-c. Your inability to get beyond your presumptions is amazing. The point about Wilson's injuries is, of course, that they belie his account of what happened.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Your links on the witness testimony fail to show anything beyond what I am saying which is that accounts conflict. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously bad (there is a whole subarea of psych devoted to this). So I ask you again, how do you decide which one is correct? How do you know who to believe? Johnson omitted some details? Yeah, well Wilson perjured himself in front of the GJ, going by his prior statements about hitting Brown with his car door. For every witness you can find "holes" and reasons for character assassination in an attempt to discredit their account.

    I submit to you, once again, that a trial is our solution to this type of situation.

  • Conn Suits says:

    That exchange was fascinating! Nice to hear someone, drug monkey, cogently analyzing the crazy mess that was the Ferguson grand jury proceeding. All these wee specs of information on the web. That make the whole thing look skevey as hell. Thanks. Especially the explanation of Brown being shot in the top of the head because he was falling. I hadn't heard that.
    I may be completely wrong about this, but I keep wondering if the bruise on Wilson's face came from the recoil of his gun. Especially if it's on the right side of his face, which it appears to be. Unless the photograph is flipped. I suppose Brown could have hit him, if he even did, on the right side of his face. But it'd be a great deal more difficult to do standing on the left side of the car then hitting him in the front or left side of his face. And as you said over and over that's why we needed a trial. Also I'm left-handed. I could punch somebody in the face sitting on the front of a car pretty easily. But how would a right-hander do it? Pantomime it it's weird.
    Another thing I have a bee in my bonnet about is the autopsy results. I have such a strong suspicion that this is one of those cases where there are let's say three scenarios and the autopsy results are consistent with all three of them. This is exactly the kind of thing where the average person is completely at sea. And they just decide that means it's like shopping, and you get to choose whichever of the three feasible scenarios you like. I so want to know if that is the case. But the news stuff I've seen doesn't have any detailed things about the autopsy. Again probably because it did not go to trial, so there's no defense experts to explain this.
    Especially good was your point that the scenario where Brown supposedly attacks him through the window is a thing where there can only be one witness to it, the guy who needs a justification for his actions. That makes it an incredibly dubious piece of evidence. But all kinds of people including in the media have this thing where they've decided to think (nobody is this stupid) that the grand jury voting to believe Wilson is the same thing as a signed note from God saying that everything Wilson said is true. There must be a name for that fallacy, the weaselly suck up fallacy or something like that. Thx.

  • http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/26/3597322/justice-scalia-explains-what-was-wrong-with-the-ferguson-grand-jury/

    Yeah, that's exactly what I said. But right-wing white-supremacist scumbags on the Internet know more about criminal procedure than the SCOTUS.

  • And the point isn't that the prosecutor violated the rules of criminal procedure by presenting exculpatory evidence. It's that because they aren't required to, they never do, except when playing defense attorney for a homicidal cop.

  • Davis Sharp says:

    The ThinkProgress article is terribly misleading. The headline gives the false impression that Scalia said something about Ferguson, when the article cites a 22 year old decision on whether pandering of child pornography is protected speech. In brief, Scalia wrote that the prosecutor is not legally bound to present exculpatory evidence, but is not prohibited from doing so.

    The actual Supreme Court's opinion states:
    To the contrary, requiring* the prosecutor to present exculpatory as well as inculpatory evidence would alter the grand jury's historical role, transforming it from an accusatory body that sits to assess whether there is adequate basis for bringing a criminal charge into an adjudicatory body that sits to determine guilt or innocence.
    * my emphasis

    I'll bet that ThinkProgress disagrees with Scalia 99.9% of the time, but cherry picked the one opinion that they can use to "support" their argument for prosecutorial misconduct. People have made up their minds on this issue and, in this case, DM and CPP are citing whatever they can find to back up their arguments with the illusion of credibility because The Internet claims that a right wing judge agrees.

    The Washington Post prints a series of opinions from legal scholars on a variety of matters. This one, on Witness 10 is the latest in a series on Ferguson. In the first paragraph are links to other pieces, including one that supports the grand jury process and one on the physical evidence. These articles are unlikely to change your mind if you believe that a "homicidal cop" murdered an harmless young man who was surrendering, but they are worth reading.

    But even if you think that Wilson should have been indicted, you'd have to be whacko to think that there isn't enough reasonable doubt for an acquittal. IMO, a protracted jury trial would just allow the anger to simmer until the inevitable not guilty verdict, when all hell would break loose. McCulloch knew that he could not convict. When prosecutors know they don't have a case, they don't ask for a GJ hearing. But the public and political pressure was too high. So he presented a wealth of evidence to the GJ and let them make the recommendation not to indict.

    Why can't I preview my comment anymore to check the html coding?

  • mixed race observer says:

    Here is the (rhetorical) question for DM. If MB were white and/or DW were black would you still have such a strong opinion about DW's guilt in this case?

  • Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    "homicidal cop"

    What's with the scare quotes? You doubt that the coppe actually killed the kidde????

    Anyway, I never asserted that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct. All I'm pointing out is that prosecutors never act like defense attorneys presenting shitte tonnes of exculpatory evidence to grand juries except when they are "seeking indictment" of a cop (i.e. making certain the cop doesn't get indicted).

    And BTW, the assertion that no crime of homicide could have been proven at trial is absurd. Furthermore, the per usual for a prosecutor in this kind of case would have been to get an indictment for murder and then plea down to something like negligent homicide. Prosecutors and cops in the same jurisdiction are colleagues and buddies.

  • drugmonkey says:

    mro- what strong opinion about Wilson's guilt? I've said repeatedly that I think there is justification for indictment and a reason to go to trial. That is not at all the same as saying I think Wilson is guilty of a particular crime. (My claim of perjury rests on reports of conflicting statements from the perpetrator himself. If valid, then I'm good with at least that assessment of a criminal act.)

  • drugmonkey says:

    Conn Suits- I would suggest that Wilson's apparent level of injury, even if it is on the right side of his face, *could* be consistent with Brown's right elbow or tricep in the face if Brown were indeed reaching for Wilson's gun holstered on his right hip. Wilson's head might reasonably be assumed to be turned to his left looking towards Brown in this scenatio.

    Wilson did not claim this however, he claimed to have been punched. So we have unresolved discrepancy between the account given by the person motivated to excuse a possible crime and the evidence.

  • Davis Sharp says:

    @CPP: I quoted your comment. Sorry for not annotating correctly. I doubt that you used "homicidal" (CPP, December 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm) in the legal sense. I think you used it in the common sense, as a synonym for murder. If you say I'm wrong, then I stand corrected.

    ... the per usual ... get an indictment for murder and then plea down to something like negligent homicide. (CPP, December 2, 2014 at 10:05 am)

    Not really. Given the exculpatory and/or contradictory evidence (which we agree exists), a prosecutor would not seek an indictment on an unwinnable charge.

    For a trial jury to convict in this case, either the judge would have to throw out some physical evidence and controversial testimony (and the defense won't ask for that) or the defense attorney would have to be a "potted plant." (Brendan Sullivan, 1987).

    Prosecutors and cops in the same jurisdiction are colleagues and buddies. (12/02/14, 10:05 am).

    IIRC, a few weeks ago, you wrote that you had no problem impartially reviewing grants from your friends and colleagues. Now you're indicating that prosecutors are not impartial when the alleged perp is a cop.

  • IIRC, a few weeks ago, you wrote that you had no problem impartially reviewing grants from your friends and colleagues. Now you're indicating that prosecutors are not impartial when the alleged perp is a cop.

    HAHAHAHAHAH! You're shittein' me, right????

  • Lady Scientist says:

    Personally, I'm shocked that there aren't a number of white dudes screeching that we should be droning all POC stopped by police.

    This is all extrajudicial killing. Anyone who doesn't see these killings by cops (and drones) as anything other than that is likely too privileged to ever see it any other way. And, that, folks, is why I never argue or "debate" with anyone anymore about these topics, because I know, by now, that no argument that I make will ever do anything more than force the other person to become more entrenched in his/her position (to save face). And, the futility of these "debates" (even though I don't go looking for arguments) is also the reason why I permanently shut down my Facebook account. I am so sick and tired of racists who deny the true nature and intent of their perspectives. I am totally convinced that the only way for these people to understand - truly understand - the "other" side is for them to actually experience the problem firsthand.

  • Lady Scientist says:

    BTW, my first sentence in the above comment was sarcastic.

    Anyway, I definitely qualify as "brown," although some people tell me I don't "look" like it. I've heard so many things from white people about the "other" by now, especially when they think that I'm as white as they are. I'm pretty sure that there's even more underneath that surface, too.

  • Lady Scientist says:

    You guys see this? This is crazy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XFYTtgZAlE

    The guy who got shot is probably the least aggressive person I have ever seen - even after getting shot, he STILL apologizes to the criminal cop!

  • […] case you need to argue with some dumbass on the internet or family member at holiday dinner about Ferguson, you should really review the saga of Witness […]

  • […] is long-standing favorite of Scientopia. Pick a classroom that appeals to you. Lots of science to support. I've often tried to find more […]

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