I guess crime Does pay, at least in Ferguson.
After a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Brown’s stepfather incited demonstrators to “Burn this motherf—er down” and “Burn this b–ch down.” At least 14 people were injured and twelve buildings set on fire in the ensuing violence.
Compensating people for legitimate harm done to them is one thing, but this $1.5 million payment raises serious questions.
Are Ferguson city officials worried about more violence if they don’t pay up?
While this might buy Ferguson some safety, will it cause others to seek big payoffs in other parts of the country?
After the shooting, President Obama told Americans that Michael Brown’s death “awakened our nation once again to the reality that [black people] have long understood” and that the shooting demonstrated why “too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement.”
Others in Obama’s administration made similar comments.
President Barack Obama should have waited until the facts were in.
The Department of Justice’s own investigation makes for devastating reading, filled with incriminating forensic reports, autopsies, medical records, audio recordings, and witness statements.
Time and again, it finds “no credible evidence” that Wilson’s use of deadly force was “objectively unreasonable.”
The report reviews all of the witness statements.
It shows how the witnesses that contradicted Wilson’s story lacked the credibility to go before a grand jury, discrediting them on account of forensic evidence and their own changing stories.
As a privacy “safeguard,” the report doesn’t release the names of witnesses. Many black witnesses who supported Wilson’s version of events were clearly afraid of retaliation.
These passages are typical of the report’s account of how Brown reached into Wilson’s car.
“Wilson and other witnesses stated that Brown then reached into the SUV through the open driver’s window and punched and grabbed Wilson. This is corroborated by bruising on Wilson’s jaw and scratches on his neck, the presence of Brown’s DNA on Wilson’s collar, shirt, and pants, and Wilson’s DNA on Brown’s palm. . . .
“Brown then grabbed the weapon and struggled with Wilson to gain control of it. Wilson fired, striking Brown in the hand. Autopsy results and bullet trajectory, skin from Brown’s palm on the outside of the SUV door as well as Brown’s DNA on the inside of the driver’s door corroborate Wilson’s account . . .”
The report goes on to explain why this forensic evidence can’t be accounted for in other ways.
Some people justify the payoff to Brown’s family because a trial could have cost the city $100,000 with the city having to pay for anything above the $3 million covered by its insurance.
But those rationalizations don’t make sense, since the evidence is so overwhelming against the Brown family.
The person who should have received a settlement is Wilson. He was a well-regarded officer who had just received a commendation for bravery and for apparently saving the life of a 2-year-old, black child.
After the Brown shooting, he remained unemployed and in seclusion for at least two years. Far from being compensated for all of his troubles, he was one of the people Michael Brown’s family was trying to sue.
Who says that crime doesn’t pay?
A criminal’s family hit a massive, taxpayer-financed jackpot only because their city feared more mob violence. Treating criminals as victims sets a dangerous precedent that we will come to regret.