Keeping his promise despite push-back from a St. Louis County circuit judge who said she had not yet agreed to a release of evidence, Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made evidence from the grand jury proceedings public just moments after announcing no charges would be filed against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
The 12-person grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown Jr. on Aug. 9, after three months of deliberations. The announcement came more than 100 days after the 18-year-old’s death, sparking protests from a community vocal about their skepticism that McCulloch would act impartially given his relationship with the police force.
The announcement also came at a questionable time of day — McCulloch held a bizarre press conference at 9:00 p.m. EST, where he blamed social media, news networks, and witnesses who “claimed” they saw the shooting for tainting the case.
“Our investigation and presentation of the evidence to the grand jury in St. Louis county has been completed. The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about,” he said. “Following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”
“I recognize, of course, that the lack of accurate detail surrounding the shooting frustrates the media and the general public and helps breed suspicion among those already distrustful of the system. Yet those closely guarded details—especially about the physical evidence—give law enforcement a yard stick for measuring the truthfulness of witnesses.”
In short, there was a lot of information surrounding how the grand jury reached their decision to let Wilson free that we’re all still processing.
Mainly, hundreds of pages of grand jury transcript, which includes Wilson’s testimony of what happened that hot August day, before and after Brown’s body lay in the middle of the street for more than four hours.
To read the transcript in its entirety, see below.
But keep the following statements in mind. It’s important to see what language and framework Wilson used to describe the scene, the slain teenager, and his thought process to understand how a grand jury came back without an indictment.
This is Wilson’s side of the story. Sadly, Brown’s will never be told to a grand jury or to the world.
What You Should Know About Wilson’s Testimony:
Wilson describes his weight and height, important when considering his altercation with Brown. (Page 198):
Wilson did hear the call about the robbery on West Florissant. (Page 202):
Wilson’s gun had 12 bullets in the magazine. He shot all rounds, hitting Brown six times. (Page 205):
Brown immediately responded to Wilson with hostility, according to Wilson’s account. (Page 208):
Wilson tells the grand jury Brown slammed the police cruiser door shut when Wilson tried to exit. (Page 209):
Wilson responds with “Get the fuck back.” (Page 210):
Wilson describes knowing Brown and Dorian Johnson were involved in the robbery he heard on police radio earlier. Wilson describes seeing Cigarillos in Brown’s right hand. Brown hits Wilson with his right hand, according to testimony. When Wilson sees Cigarillos again, they are in Brown’s left hand. (Page 211):
Wilson, all 6’4, 210 lbs, describes the 18-year-old as a strong “Hulk Hogan” figure. (Page 212):
Wilson says Brown grabbed his gun and called him a p*ssy. (Page 214):
Wilson believed another punch from Brown could be fatal. (Page 216):
Wilson also believed that Brown definitely planned to shoot him. (Page 223):
Wilson fired the gun, but it didn’t go off the first two times. (Page 224):
At this point, Wilson describes looking up at a demon-like figure. He calls Brown an “it” and tells the grand jury about the aggression he witnessed. Wilson also testifies that Brown’s hands were up. (Page 225):
More about the placement of Brown’s hands in the air. (Page 225):
Wilson continues to describe Brown as an aggressive being, never once referring to him as a person or by his name. He tells the grand jury Brown is grunting and charging towards him. He also mentions that Brown put his hand under his shirt, possibly indicating he had a weapon. (Page 227):
Brown continues to charge at Wilson like a raging bull, according to the testimony. (Page 228):
Wilson recalls killing Brown, referring to the teenager as a “threat” and not a person. (Page 229):
Wilson on Brown’s “aggression” again. (Page 234):
Wilson recalls leaving the scene shortly after the shooting, telling the grand jury that he “had to kill” Brown. He describes the Canfield neighborhood as “hostile.” (Page 236):
Wilson continues, telling the grand jury that the Canfield neighborhood is “anti-police” and “not very well-liked.” (Page 238):
Wilson admits he never told dispatch he believed he had found the suspects from the convenience store robbery. (Page 241):
Back at the police station, Wilson washes his hands of blood before being evaluated or swept of evidence. (Page 242):
Wilson also processed his own evidence. (Page 245):
Wilson did not feel the need to go to the hospital for his “injuries” until instructed by his assistant chief. (Page 248):
Wilson then explains why he ran after Brown instead of staying in the safety of his vehicle. (Page 261):
Wilson goes over the incident again, tells grand jury he “can’t tell” them if Brown’s hands were inside the car when he fired the second shot. (Page 264):
Wilson admits to the grand jury that no one took blood splatter samples from his body for evidence. (Page 266):
Wilson admits that Brown never pulled his police-issued gun from the holster. (Page 268-69):
Despite page 225, Wilson tells the grand jury towards the end of his testimony that Brown never had his hands up. (Page 275):
Wilson says Brown still posed a threat even while running away. (Page 281):
See above to read the transcript and analyze for yourself. We’ll keep you updated with the latest from Ferguson.
SOURCE: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office