Michael Brown was 18 years old, black and unarmed when a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot him to death after a scuffle in the street. The incident has provoked ongoing mass protests, vandalism, and national calls for an independent investigation and higher standards of police accountability.

The police, citing death threats, have refused to release the name of the police officer who shot Brown. The hacker collective Anonymous has promised to discover and make public the officer's identity anyway. I suspect they will succeed (if they haven't already).

General questions for those who have followed this story:

Do you think the shooting was reasonable under the circumstances?
How do you feel about the police?
Do you trust the police? Why or why not?
Who do the police answer to? Who ought the police answer to?
Are police held too accountable, properly accountable or not accountable enough for their actions?

Tags: Brown, Michael, Police

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Your never ending tirade about Palestinians and Israeli's for start. You make extreme blanket generalizations about them every day on this site. And yet you are indignant when someone conveys their personal experience in your own country.

Your never ending tirade about Palestinians and Israeli's for start.

So, when someone disagrees with you, it's a "tirade." And did you actually look up the word "tirade" in the dictionary before you decided it carried the exact meaning you wanted?

You make extreme blanket generalizations about them every day on this site. And yet you are indignant when someone conveys their personal experience in your own country.

There's nothing inherently wrong with a generalization. Did you look that one up, either? And I'm not sure what calling a generalization a "blanket generalization" adds to the concept of a generalization, since generalizations are inherently general.

I have never denied that anyone had the experiences they said they had, have I? I haven't even been indignant, though I am wondering if you looked that one up, either. I have only said that their experiences either (a) are not typical generally or (b) may be the way it is where they were since policing is local in the US, and that my experiences have been mostly positive. That doesn't fit with being indignant.

I think you're just a bit given to hyperbole, thinking that overstating a case might go some way to proving it.

This is true-where I live, they have implemented the body cameras just recently. This is a very safe town, and yet, if you get pulled over for speeding, the Sheriff's dept. are particularly menacing-however, the City Police here are somewhat Mayberry like in their friendliness-they rarely have to deal with much. 

That being said, I recall the newscaster saying the officer "sustained injuries" in the altercation with Brown...if this is true, there had to be some sort of scuffle or something, and then Brown was attempting to flee the vehicle, apparently...we know that Brown was thuggish enough to rob a store and push the clerk, if that was him in the video. There are so many cases of clear police brutality worse than this one, where the "perp" was not even the guy they were looking to apprehend-why is this getting so much attention, I wonder?

The case against the officer is slowly collapsing, what with wildly conflicting stories from "witnesses," apparent injury to the officer, and bullet wounds inflicted mostly to the front of the body. Hardly the execution-style murder it's made out to be by so many on the streets of Ferguson.

Even more disconcerting is a kind of reverse lynch mob mentality that's developed where the officer's is presumed guilty and the crowd won't be satisfied unless the officer is sent to prison. I don't even think a lot of them care if he's actually innocent. They are just tired of black men being shot dead. And I can understand that.

Most say Wilson and Brown struggled first, then Brown ran. All six say Wilson shot Brown while he was running away and/or had stopped and put his hands up. McKnight alone said he saw Brown "stumble toward the officer, but not rush at him" after he turned and put his hands up.

He doesn't have to rush the officer to justify the shooting, he just has to move toward the officer contrary to the officer's orders for it to be counted as an attack.  Brown weighed a shade below 300 lb and was 6'4" tall. The officer from the images I've seen is much more normal in build, probably in the neighborhood of 200 lb. Brown's body alone counts as a lethal weapon viewed in that context.

On CNN earlier today, I heard one of the country's top attorneys, also a law professor, saying that the more interviews these witnesses give, the more there will be discrepancies that will tear any prosecution apart. He said that the local prosecutor SHOULD have interviewed the witnesses right away and instructed them that if they wanted to convict the officer to keep their mouths shut and not be giving TV interviews. Now, perhaps the prosecutor is doing that intentionally, if he doesn't want to see the officer go to prison, but that's what's happening.

A criminal conviction has to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" burden of proof. There's no video. There's enough discrepancies between witnesses' prior statements and the facts (e.g., autopsy results) to create reasonable doubt. There are also instances of "witnesses" modifying their accounts a bit to conform with facts as they emerge, which hints at the possibility there may be some witness collusion.

Barring a video turning up or some other miracle, I'm not even sure Officer Wilson will have to step into a courtroom. The Feds may feel a need to go through the motions, but not even they can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Regardless of whether a criminal case is filed, there will be a civil case filed that will be settled out of court.

Do you think the shooting was reasonable under the circumstances?
Unless shooting someone, who is wounded, stops running, turns around with his hands up, and pretty much gives up is justified I'm a monkey's uncle .

How do you feel about the police?
Don't trust the majority. Although have run into some really nice cops.

Do you trust the police? Why or why not?
Read above.

Who do the police answer to? Who ought the police answer to?
They answer to the chief at their precinct, who answers to the commission , who answers to the mayor.

Are police held too accountable, properly accountable or not accountable enough for their actions?
Not enough.

I've been racially profiled four times in the eight years I've lived in my neighborhood. I do charity work in Manhattan and never miss a chance to ask some of the homeless and less fortunate among us about their treatment at the hands of the "POPO". Majority of it is a horror story.

LOL!!! The words "police" and "accountability" don't belong in the same sentence.

Some points derived from watching/listening to CNN with one eye while working today.

Michael Brown did rob a convenience store 10 minutes before being confronted by Officer Wilson for essentially jaywalking and may have thought he was really going to be confronted over the robbery. While many local blacks don't believe the man in the surveillance video was Michael lBrown, his family has admitted it's him, making the point that that doesn't justify his shooting.

BTW, Brown had shoplifted some tobacco products, a misdemeanor, but by bullying the shop owner (or clerk, not sure) he escalated the crime to theft+use of force, which is a felony with a possibility of prison time attached to it.

It seems that Brown's behavior got him into trouble and may have resisted arrest when the officer put him into the back of the squad car. Something happened in the squad car and, witnesses say, a shot was fired in the vehicle. Brown exited and adopted the hands-in-the-air "I surrender" position, saying "Don't shoot me, I'm unarmed" or some such. Witnesses say the officer shot him several times in the torso and he fell.

Even if Brown committed a robbery, there is no excuse for shooting someone with his hands up who has surrendered.

There are unanswered questions. Many of them. And it may be months before anything like a true understanding takes place.

Luckily, the FBI will be conducting an investigation in parallel. They don't have a dog in the fight, so I think I'll withhold my final judgment until they release the results of their investigation.

If you google on "michael brown shot in squad car" (drop the quotes) you'll find references to a shot fired in the squad car, though it's true that accounts vary quite a bit.

"As long as we're speculating:"

Perhaps we shouldn't be doing that.

"I agree. But I'd bet a year's pay that Wilson gets away with it anyway."

Well if you will let me know how much you make in a year and what you mean by "...gets away with it...", I might be willing to take that bet.

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