One Canfield resident — who said he saw the killing of Brown from start to finish and talked to the grand jury recently — has given the Post-Dispatch an account with some key differences from previous public statements from other witnesses. Among the recollections of the witness, who agreed to an interview on the condition that his name not be used, were: • After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him. • Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high. • Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop. • The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.[my emphasis]This story is consistent with the overheard audio that surfaced soon after the shooting. it also supports the theory, supported by the autopsy that Brown did not in fact have his hands up over his head but rather low in a manner that suggests that he would rush the officer.
This latest witness, who is black, told the Post-Dispatch that Johnson took off running toward West Florissant Avenue after the first shot went off inside Wilson’s police SUV.Interesting.
In the latest account of the Brown killing, the witness said he saw Wilson’s police SUV stop near Brown and Johnson as they were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive. He said he heard Wilson say something to them, but not what. He said Wilson drove past them, then backed up.This aligns with the earliest stories that came out about the incident. Wilson was responding to the robbery that Brown had just committed (or attempted to). When Wilson told Brown and Johnson to get out the road he was unaware of the description of the suspect. I think that he turned around because the description came over the radio and Wilson realized that it was the person he just hassled about being in the street. Of course we would need radio communication recordings to confirm this. The other more unlikely theory is that Brown said something offensive to Wilson. Wilson drove off and thought about it and decided to go back to Brown to confront him on whatever was said. I just do not see why a police officer who is on the way to a reported robbery would stop that over being mouthed off to.
The witness said he had been on the right side of the police SUV and did not have a clear view of what happened on the opposite, driver’s side. “There was a tussle going on,” he said, adding that he believes he saw Wilson’s hat fly off. He then heard a shot and saw Brown run, followed by Wilson. He said Wilson aimed his handgun at Brown and yelled: “Stop! Stop! Stop!”This witness has just confirmed that Wilson was assaulted by Brown. Assault on a peace officer is a felony in Missouri
7. Assault of a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, emergency personnel, highway worker in a construction zone or work zone, utility worker, cable worker, or probation and parole officer in the second degree is a class B felony unless committed pursuant to subdivision (2), (5), (6), or (7) of subsection 1 of this section in which case it is a class C felony. For any violation of subdivision (1), (3), or (4) of subsection 1 of this section, the defendant must serve mandatory jail time as part of his or her sentence.So regardless of what Brown did up to the point that he and wilson had their dispute, once he struck the officer, it was an entirely different ballgame.
The witness said Brown did stop, mumbled something he could not clearly hear and took a step toward Wilson. “When he stepped foot on that street, the officer told him to stop again, and he fired three shots,” the witness recalled. “When he (Brown) got hit, he staggered like, ‘Oh,’ and his body moved. Then he looked down.This would explain the gap in shots that we heard in the recording released by CNN.
“His hands were up like this (he gestures with arms out to the side and palms upward), and he was looking at the officer and was coming toward him trying to keep his feet and stand up. The officer took a few steps back and yelled, ‘Stop,’ again, and Michael was trying to stay on his feet. [my underlines]This is why the autopsy showed the entry wounds lining up Brown's arm before the head shot. I said then and it is supported by this witness that the autopsy shows a person that does not have his hands up in the air but rather arms to his side.
“He was 20 to 25 feet from officer, and after he started staggering, he (Wilson) let off four more rounds. As he was firing those last rounds, Michael was on his way down. We were thinking, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, brother, stop, stop.’ He was already on his way down when he fired those last shots.” The witness said Wilson didn’t have to kill Brown. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. ... What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder.”This part is probably the most damaging to Wilson. Well actually it is the ONLY damaging testimony. It could be argued that once Wilson saw that Brown had been struck and was arguably (though not definitively) a real threat, that Wilson ought not to have fired the remaining shots. You may conclude that it was gratuitous. The problem is that a criminal conviction requires "beyond reasonable doubt". There is enough reasonable doubt present in the evidence and witness statements thus far to clear Wilson of any charge that requires intent or malice. That would leave only charges that require showing negligence. With that I don't see how anything beyond reasonable doubt could be offered to support that kind of charge. Wilson had been assaulted, hence Brown just committed a felony. An arrest able and mailable offense. He failed to follow the lawful orders of a peace officer ("Stop! Stop! Stop!") and if the previous witness testimony that Wilson fired his final shots while backing up are supported by other witnesses, it will be argued that Wilson did fear for his life (whether it be because Brown was big and black or because Wilson was still moving towards him). Such a fear of his life, while acting under color of law will unlikely pursuade any fair jury that Wilson is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I would be surprised if Wilson is indicted on anything at all if the claims of this witness that the jury members are being "fair" are accurate. If there is an indictment I expect the trial to be short and for Wilson to not be convicted.