Regrettably, at the time of the Michael-Brown shooting, this libertarian column had expressed the opinion that Brown was the victim of “murder-by-cop.” As the evidence subsequently demonstrated, I was wrong.
Part of my conversion lies is the remarks of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, a Democrat. These were, well, remarkable. (More about that in the weekly, WND column, tomorrow.) McCulloch’s remarks revealed the exhaustive scope of the search for truth undertaken by a grand jury that was left to its own devices.
Since the text of the statement has not been disseminated, I’ve transcribed and summarized some of it for interested Americans. Particularly brilliant is the manner in which McCulloch co-opted the DC “RIC” in support of the rule of law, in Ferguson, Missouri:
St. Louis county police conducted an extensive investigation at the crime scene together with agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder. Together they sought out witnesses and gathered additional information over a period of three months, beginning on the day of the shooting death of Michael Brown. Fully aware of the growing concerns in parts of the community that the investigation and review of the death would not be full and fair, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch decided to hand over to a grand jury all physical evidence related to the case, all individuals claiming to have witnessed any aspect of the events and any and all related matters. The grand jury comprised of 12 members of the community.
Federal investigators worked closely with local law enforcement, with the St. Louis county police and persecutor and Attorney General Holder and his department vowing to follow where the evidence led. These federal investigators shared information with St. Louis county investigator and vice versa. In addition, the Department of Justice conducted its own investigation and performed its own autopsy. Yet another autopsy was carried out by the Brown family and all information was shared and collated. All testimony before the grand jury was immediate forwarded to the DOJ. Eyewitness accounts were compared with the physical evidence. Many witnesses contradicted their own statements and the physical evidence.
As an example of witness testimony that contradicted the physical evidence McCulloch offered numerous statements that claimed to have seen Officer Wilson stand above Michael Brown and fire many rounds into his back. Others claimed that Officer Wilson shot Mr. Brown in the back as he was running away. Once the autopsy was released showing that the deceased did not sustain injuries to his back, statements to that effect were retracted. Others admitted they had, in fact, not witnessed the shooting.
All statements were recorded and presented to the grand jury before the autopsy results were released. There was no “document dump,” as some media claimed. Two of Bob McCulloch’s assistants presented the information to the jury in an organized, systematic manner. All jurors heard every word of testimony and examined every item of evidence presented. McCulloch described a proactive and engaged group working since August 9th to do their due diligence. In the course of 25 days, the jury dissected over 70 hours of testimony and listened to 60 witnesses. They heard from three medical examiners and many other DNA and forensic experts. They examined hundreds of photographs and looked at various pieces of physical evidence. They were instructed in the law and presented with five possible indictments. Their burden was to determine, based on all the evidence, if probable cause existed to determine that a crime was committed and Daren Wilson committed that crime. There is no question that Officer Wilson caused the death of Michael Brown by shooting him. However the law authorizes an officer of the law, and all people, to use deadly force to defend themselves in certain situations. The grand jury considered whether Officer Wilson was the initial aggressor, or whether he was authorized to use deadly force in the situation and acted in self-defense.
They were the only people who examined every piece of evidence and heard every witness. They debated among themselves. After an exhaustive review of the evidence the grand jury deliberated further over two days to arrive at their final decision. And it is that no probable cause exists to file any charges against Officer Darren Wilson. They returned a “No True” bill on each of the five indictments. All the evidence, witness statements included, was made public.
UPDATE II: Coulter’s Blame-Liberals Reductionism/Rubbish. As I always argue, in the structure of argument—and thus the source of culpability— there is no difference between conservative, lite-libertarian, and left liberal. That structure is: The Dog/Society/State/Liberals Ate the Criminal’s Homework. This, Ann Coulter proves. She blames liberals for rioter actions.
“‘Absolut’ Libertarian Lunacy” touches on this blame the society/state/liberals reductionism: “For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society, and hard-core libertarians saddle the state. ‘The State made me do it’ is how such social determinism can be summed-up.”