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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Inconvenient facts in Ferguson

Inconvenient facts in Ferguson

We won’t know for a month or so whether a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., will be charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black youth, Michael Brown. 

But new facts have emerged. Multiple news sources report that forensic and eyewitness evidence supports Officer Darren Wilson’s version of events: that he shot Brown first during a struggle in his police car and again when the 6-foot-4, 300-lb. suspect lunged at him. 

The official autopsy report, published this week, said Brown had a close-range wound to his hand, another to his arm in a way suggesting he was not in the “hands up” position and a fatal wound to his forehead at an angle that indicates he was likely lunging at the cop.

Brown’s hands also had gunpowder residue (indicating a close-up shooting), and his blood was found on the inside window of the officer’s car. 

A half-dozen African-American witnesses reportedly have given testimony that largely supports Officer Wilson’s account. Meanwhile, Al Sharpton continues to clamor for an indictment.

Unlike typical grand jury probes, in which prosecutors carefully select the evidence, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said he is letting the panel sort through all the evidence and decide on its own what, if any, criminal charges to bring. 

Cases like this too often take on a life of their own before we have all the evidence. Indeed, there’s now an implicit threat of riots and unrest unless Officer Wilson is indicted.

We’ll reserve judgment on Wilson until the facts are all in. Too bad those clamoring for an indictment can’t do the same.

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