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The Michael Brown Shooting - Debunking the Hands Up, Don't Shoot Lie
The Mike Brown Shooting | Dispelling The Myths
If you live in the US especially, no doubt by now you have heard about the fatal officer involved shooting that took place in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th 2014. The shooting involved Officer Darren Wilson a 28 year old, 6 year veteran of the FPD and 18 year old Mike Brown.
The aftermath of this incident has included riots, looting, mass demonstrations and the burning of local businesses in Ferguson and the surrounding areas. This before any evidence was released or the investigation had even a chance to be completed. In the days following this incident, there were many rumors being put forward by “witnesses” to the incident which were later proven to be completely false after the physical evidence had been properly processed and analyzed.
In this Hub I am going address some of the more egregious rumors as well as debunking some of the outrageous notions I have seen put forward by people about how the officer ‘should’ have responded to a life threatening attack. I am going to attempt to separate rumor from reality and also educate on the myths about police work and policing that many seem to have come to believe due to a bit too much reliance on TV and movies for their understanding of what is and isn't real in law enforcement.
This breakdown of the incident is based on three things.
My many years in Law Enforcement in a major US city
My contact within the St. Louis County, MO Police with direct knowledge of the incident and investigation
The evidence and witness statements that have been officially released so far
Myth 1- The Officer Should Have Shot Him In The Leg/Arm Etc.
I begin with this because there is no other myth about police work that drives me up a wall like this one does. People see this kind of stuff in the movies or on shows like CSI and Law & Order and cannot seem to separate a dramatic screenplay from reality.
I cannot emphasize this enough- There is NO shooting to wound in police work, period. No police officer is trained to do so and it would be illegal for any law enforcement agency to have a policy of using deadly force to maim a suspect.
The peripheral hits on Mike brown are not because officer Wilson was aiming for the arms. It was because he was a moving target and officer Wilson had just been assaulted by Brown and his accomplice.
It’s hard enough to hit center mass when you are hurt, your adrenaline is maxed out and there is a 6’-4” 300 lbs. man charging you for the second time who had just attempted to disarm you while punching you several times in the face. At that point your only thought is stopping this threat, so you aim center mass and hope you actually can stop them.
Myth 2 -Mike Brown Was Shot In The Back While Surrendering
No, he wasn’t.
This rumor really made the rounds after this incident and many of us attempted to explain to people that if he was shot in the back there would have been blood stains evident in the picture of Brown lying in the street. There was none and it was quite evident to anyone with any experience in such matters that this was rumor being exploited in order to stir up the already boiling racial tensions.
The autopsies, both of them, showed that all the bullet wounds came from the front. Some tried to claim that the wounds in Brown’s arms happened when he had his hands up and was surrendering but that is not consistent with the locations of the entrance wounds and they did not discuss the wound tracks which would show difinitively the bullet trajectory. I believe there is a reason that it was not mentioned.
Another problem is that it has come out that the person hired by the family of Mike Brown to do the second autopsy is not a licensed Pathologist and Dr. Baden who was brought in as an expert by the family’s lawyer did not conduct the autopsy but simply reviewed and signed off on the this non-qualified persons report.
This Would explain why the normally media whorish Dr. Baden has not done a single interview on the subject
Myth 3- He Should Not Have Shot Him So Many Times
This one always makes me want to vomit. And when I hear it I know that I am dealing with someone who knows nothing about firearms or their use in the real world, and has certainly never, ever been in an armed encounter.
When you are in fear for your life or the life of another and you feel the use of deadly force is your only option, then you fire until the threat is neutralized. If it takes 6 rounds or 20 rounds, you fire until you feel the threat no longer exists, there is no “proper” number of rounds. The only proper number of rounds is that amount that stops the aggression of the person putting lives in danger.
You should also note that one is legally allowed to use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm. This a very important distinction to keep in mind
Myth 4- But He Was Unarmed!!!
Indeed, Mike Brown did not have a firearm or other weapon in his hand when Officer Wilson shot him. But it was not for a lack of trying to become armed. And what do you think his intentions were had he been able to disarm Officer Wilson?
Consider the case in Texas of a man named Michael Fobbs for example. Fobbs approached a man in an Amtrak station and beat him with his fists until he was dead. Would his victim not have been authorized to use deadly force because Fobbs was ‘unarmed’? Of course he would have, and no one would argue otherwise.
And consider too the recent phenomenon of the ‘Knockout Game’ where groups of thugs randomly target innocent persons in an attempt to knock them out with one punch while filming it to post on Youtube.
Now what if these same hoodlums decided that, today, they were going to take it to the next level and kill someone? They now have a helpless, unconscious victim to beat to death.
Mike Brown outweighed Officer Wilson by at least 100 lbs. and he had already shown his willingness to batter and try to disarm him. Officer Wilson could not afford to allow Brown another attempt to wrest his sidearm from his control. That would have very likely ended in Officer Wilson being shot to death by Brown, and I am certain he knew this.
Mike Brown’s family has only one person to blame for the death of their son.
That person is Mike Brown himself.