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Eyewitness testimony often unreliable, as Michael Brown case already shows

Eyewitness testimony often unreliable, as Michael Brown case already shows

Eyewitness testimony often is not reliable, with or without motive to lie.

According to the preliminary report from the autopsy requested by the Michael Brown family, Brown was shot six times, four in the right arm and two in the head, the last head shot killing him. All of the shots entered from the front.

These findings could end up being revised, but so far the forensic evidence contradicts the reports of several eyewitnesses who reported that at least some shots were fired from behind as Brown was fleeing.

One of those witnesses, Dorian Johnson, had reason to lie, since he was Brown’s friend and it was later revealed that he had been present at the time of the convenience store robbery that preceded the confrontation with Officer Wilson.

Eyewitness testimony is prized by the public but is often extremely flawed. It is unnecessary to allege eyewitness bias in this case in order to doubt the reliability of the eyewitnesses: study upon study has demonstrated how poor eyewitness testimony often tends to be.

Here’s an interesting point about focus that’s relevant to the Brown shooting:

The weapon focus effect suggests that the presence of a weapon narrows a person’s attention, thus affects eyewitness memory. A person focuses on the central detail (for example, the weapon) and loses focus on the peripheral details (for example, the perpetrator’s characteristics). While the weapon is remembered clearly, the memories of the other details of the scene suffer…Another hypothesis is that seeing a weapon might cause an aroused state. In an aroused state, people focus on central details instead of peripheral ones.

That’s not the only focus problem. There’s more:

The testimony of a witness can lose validity due to too many external stimuli, that may affect what was witnessed during the crime, and therefore obstruct memory. For example, if an individual witnesses a car accident on a very public street, there may be too many cues distracting the witness from the main focus. Numerous interfering stimulus inputs may suppress the importance of the stimulus of focus, the accident. This can degrade the memory traces of the event, and diminish the representation of those memories. This is known as the cue-overload principle.

The Brown killing had all those characteristics, which would tend to degrade eyewitness memory even if there were no other issues involved. Also, the enormous amount of publicity and talk in the media about the event could have had its own effect:

…[T]he memory of an eyewitness can become compromised by other information, such that an individual’s memory becomes biased. This can increase eyewitnesses sensitivity to the misinformation effect. Individuals report what they believe to have witnessed at the time of the crime, even though this may be the result of a false memory. These effects can be a result of post-event information.

It would not be the least bit surprising if the testimony of many of the eyewitnesses in this case turned out to be inaccurate. That’s why the forensics are extremely important. A webcam would have been very good, too, but unfortunately no official video exists. Meanwhile, the demagogues continue their work.

Update 8/19/2014: As a clarification, the fact that it “is unnecessary to allege eyewitness bias in this case in order to doubt the reliability of the eyewitnesses” does not mean that some of the eyewitnesses are not biased. In addition, the fact that Brown’s killing had characteristics that “would tend to degrade eyewitness memory even if there were no other issues involved” does not mean there were no other issues involved.

In short, the problem with eyewitness testimony exists irrespective of all the other problems in the Brown case, of which there are many.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

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but so far the forensic evidence contradicts the reports of several eyewitnesses who reported that at least some shots were fired from behind as Brown was fleeing.

No contradiction in the least.

Shots are not the same thing as hits. Independent determination of the number of shots fired (say, with an audio recording in which shots could be clearly distinguished) could determine if all shots fired were hits, but examination of the target alone can determine no such thing.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | August 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    The report does seem to contradict the narrative that Brown was shot while his hands were raised, since you present a different aspect of your arm with your arms raised than you do with your arms lowered or at least held below shoulder level.

    Also the hit placements would lead me to believe that Brown didn’t have has hands raised. From the groupings I wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find our that the Officer is left handed and in his adrenalin fueled state jerked the trigger and pulled his aim to the left, which would explain why those shots are to the arm and not center mass.

      Small quibble @Gremlin1974 right hand shooter will pull down and to the left if they are jerking the trigger.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Shane. | August 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm

        Duhh, you are exactly correct got my hands mixed up again, lol. I need sleep.

        steveo1 in reply to Shane. | August 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

        If this PD, which has no credibility whatsoever, says that the leos eye socket was fractured then, the whole side of Wilson’s face is going to be black. Let’s see some pictures of the officer’s black eye??

        In the eye witness video, Wilson doesn’t appear to be distressed, he’s just surveying his kill.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to steveo1. | August 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

          “If this PD, which has no credibility whatsoever”

          Really and of course you have proof of that that is linkable? So far I haven’t even heard anyone but the race pimps make any allegations that there is anything wrong with the investigation into Browns death and the race pimps started with no credibility.

          “says that the leos eye socket was fractured then, the whole side of Wilson’s face is going to be black. Let’s see some pictures of the officer’s black eye??”

          Actually, I can tell you from 20 years of Nursing that you are 100% incorrect. There may not be any bruising what so ever. There very well may be swelling and there have been reports of swelling since the night of the shooting.

          “In the eye witness video, Wilson doesn’t appear to be distressed”

          Alright and what kind of “distress” should Wilson be showing in your opinion as an expert in human behavior? I can tell you from all my training that pretty much any behavior after such an event it “normal” from total freak out to catatonic shock, also if there was any bruising from Wilson’s fracture then it very well may not have shown up for days after the injury so you can’t count not seeing bruising in the video.

          “he’s just surveying his kill.”

          Thank you for revealing your complete bias and lack of objectivity. I had been treating you as an actual thinking objective person, I will not make that mistake again and will hence forth simply ignore you out of hand.

      tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 3:29 am

      The report does seem to contradict the narrative that Brown was shot while his hands were raised

      I don’t see any info on that in this report. I haven’t seen the report, either. All I see in the news is pretty basic info about locations of bullet wounds; no info on trajectories or any of the usual terminal ballistics stuff.

        MattMusson in reply to tom swift. | August 19, 2014 at 7:57 am

        Two eyewitnesses have acknowleded that Brown had turned back toward the officer. Both said he was approaching the officer. One said he was rushing at the officer when shot.

        Both witnesses are black and afraid to come forward. One was accidentally captured on video tape explaining what he saw to another bystander. The other called into a radio show yesterday and refused to give her name.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to tom swift. | August 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    So the guy decides to run away as someone is shooting at him and missing, and then thinks better of that and turns to face the armed person and take 6 hits, at least one or two being fatal… I await some fleshing out of this scenario.

      PhillyGuy in reply to amatuerwrangler. | August 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

      I believe the actual scenario was that Brown turned to taunt the officer that he wouldn’t dare shoot him. Then Brown lowered his head and bull rushed him. The officer fired at the onrushing young man. Which explains the location of all the gun shot wounds. There are eyewitnesses that have made statements that corroborates this story.

      http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/08/boom-reporter-a-dozen-witnesses-confirm-ferguson-cops-version-of-brown-shooting/

        steveo1 in reply to PhillyGuy. | August 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm

        ok, but the leo has the gun and the kid doesn’t. Why if you were fearing for your life, did you get out of the SUV?? It’s a protective barrier. Back up and get away from Mongo. Call for backup. You didn’t see any weapons. Don’t shoot him, just because he’s taunting you, Rooster. Yea, ” He was blackguardin the court. So, I shot him, too.”

          Gremlin1974 in reply to steveo1. | August 21, 2014 at 12:19 am

          Ahhhh, the Zimmerman should have stayed in the car defense, love it! It also applies here about as much as it did there, which is it doesn’t apply at all.

          Maybe because its his job to apprehend criminals? Should cops only try to apprehend law breakers when they can do so in complete safety?

          Also, you make the assertion that he should have called for back up, how do you know he didn’t? I have seen no transcripts or recordings of radio traffic released as of yet, so he could have been screaming his head off for help.

The witnesses didn’t just say he had been shot at from behind, they said he had been hit.

    tom swift in reply to MegK. | August 19, 2014 at 3:15 am

    That’s not something a witness can normally determine even in the best of situations.

    A witness can hear a gunshot, and he can see which way a person when facing when the gunshot was heard. And sometimes he may even recall it later the way it actually happened. But normally he can’t see where a bullet may or may not have hit. Entry wounds don’t generally spray all over the set like they do in the movies.

      I agree, which is the point being made in the post. Both of these witnesses claim he was hit in the back. The evidence contradicts their accounts. Whether they are lying or just misinterpreted what they saw, either way their testimony is unreliable.

      They also both claim to have seen the police officer attempting to pull Brown into the car by the neck. That doesn’t seem plausible to me…why would a police officer attempt to pull a 6’4″ 300 pound person into his car, onto his lap basically, through a car window? He’d have to be a complete moron to do that. I don’t doubt there was some kind of struggle going on, but the fact that both witnesses interpreted it as the officer being the aggressor suggests a bias to me.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to MegK. | August 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Well also remember that one of these “eye witnesses” was also the alleged accomplice to Browns alleged robbery, so there is one “eye witness” with every reason to lie.

        steveo1 in reply to MegK. | August 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

        I think that we are now, in the 21st century, in a point of history where we can record all police encounters. The technology is available and legislatures can tell local communities thru State legislation that if a police encounter is not backed up by video/audio evidence, then that case is thrown out. Leos want discretion, they want to determine who is the master of the street, many community legislators believe the same thing, but the police are the servants, not the masters, they have to report to us.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to steveo1. | August 21, 2014 at 12:25 am

          I agree with your assertion that it should be standard to have Dash-cams and audio in all cars, I would go one step further and say I would like it to be standard for cops to wear body mic’s (I have seen some saying body cameras, I just don’t think the tech is rugged enough yet).

          However, my reasoning is different than yours and in some ways much more simple. Being recorded encourages officers to behave in a more professional manner, even when they are stressed. (Our police force here wears body mic’s and they are always very polite and professional) Also, it protects the officer from frivolous complaints and the person being interviewed, detained, or arrested.

Another thing I noticed is that most of the “witnesses” interviewed had heard things about the case in the media or from other people. Shades of the Trayvon Martin case, when a witness insisted it was Zimmerman on top of the pile, because she had seen on TV that Martin was a little boy.

    Humphrey's Executor in reply to MegK. | August 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    That’s a really important point. Witness at the scene can cross-pollinate each other with their imperfect recollections. I was appointed to defend a youth accused of a robbery with his buddy. In the 911 tape, one could hear the various eye-witness talking about what they saw, and they did not agree! Victim: “A boy took grabbed my purse and knocked me down.” Witness: “No, it was two boys.” etc. The discussion, quite innocently, influenced what they said later to the police. I got an acquittal.

The police department know how many shots were fired! Every round and officer carries is inventoried, it would be as simple as counting the rounds not fired. I suppose you could go locate every empty casing too. =)

My hypothesis is that Wilson missed the 6 center mass shots he fired. Brown ran out of luck on round 5 and 6. All this talk about winging someone (to stop or deter) and then deciding to shot them in the head is bunk, just plain bunk.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Merlin01. | August 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    “The police department know how many shots were fired!”

    Which they probably do, considering his gun was most likely taken as evidence by the next officer on the scene. Why would the investigators need to release that information to the public?

    “Every round and officer carries is inventoried”

    Actually, this is an urban myth, most departments don’t count rounds before going on shift, now they do know what kind of weapon each officer is carrying and can use that info.

    “it would be as simple as counting the rounds not fired.”

    Yep and that number is probably equal to the number of rounds in the clip plus one in the chamber.

    “I suppose you could go locate every empty casing too. =)”

    No way, especially this far out, you would be AMAZED at how far and wide brass can go, get stuck in the treads of shoes, in tire treads, down water drains and what not. I am not aware of any time after a shooting every single brass has been found. Heck we couldn’t even find all of the brass we fired on a closed firing range while in a foxhole in the Army.

    “My hypothesis is that Wilson missed the 6 center mass shots he fired. Brown ran out of luck on round 5 and 6.”

    A reasonable conclusion.

    “All this talk about winging someone (to stop or deter) and then deciding to shot them in the head is bunk, just plain bunk.”

    Exactly, to many people have a “Hollywood” understanding of ballistics. People that train with firearms, especially police, military, and civilians that carry for self defense do not train to shoot anything but a lethal shot. They train to shoot center mass, which is a lethal area because it contains organs necessary for life.

    There are several reasons why this is the “standard” just to hit the high points.

    1. A firearm is a lethal device, it is not meant to subdue, nor deter, nor wing. It is meant to kill.

    2. A firearm, being a lethal device, is only supposed to be employed in the gravest extreme for personal and/or (in the case of police) public protection from threats of death or grave bodily harm.

    Also, there is a very “Hollywood” idea of the wounds firearms, especially modern firearms cause. I can tell you form 20 years in the medical field and a lifetime around guns that there is no gunshot wound that isn’t potentially lethal. Especially with modern effectiveness of modern ammunition.

      “Every round and officer carries is inventoried”

      “Actually, this is an urban myth, most departments don’t count rounds before going on shift, now they do know what kind of weapon each officer is carrying and can use that info.”

      In my ten years of training law enforcement, every department across the county inventoried all ammunition. My focus was not firearms related but it was always part of the discussion. While they are not counting rounds before every shift, anytime a round is fired on duty there is paperwork that has to be done and no officer in his or her right mind would not have fully loaded weapon and magazines.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Merlin01. | August 20, 2014 at 6:57 pm

        No, I agree, I was just clarifying, because once again most folks have a Hollywood view of things, so I can see them believing that the officers have to go to the “caged window” and are issued their allotment every shift, lol.

    tom swift in reply to Merlin01. | August 19, 2014 at 3:04 am

    But you’ve then introduced another factor which can’t be determined from the autopsy. There’s nothing a medical examiner can discover from examination of the body which will tell him anything about police inventories.

    A police inventory and evaluation of its accuracy would have to be determined by other means than autopsy. In its simplest form, you’d just count cartridges remaining in the gun’s magazine. And then assume nobody had changed magazines, etc.

Grain of salt here. If we have the physical forensics, that’s great.

However. there’s no need to broad-brush as flawed all eyewitness testimony. A lot of it is as simple as that some people lie. A lot of it is as simple as that some people — especially in this exciting age of 15 minutes of media fame — fill in the blanks in what they actually know when they should be saying that they don’t know.

But some people do both recall and testify accurately. Too much of the psych hypotheses are developed by those who also make money as experts contesting eye witness credibility in court. Goes both ways.

    I have a hard time ignoring what kind of pressure cooker these witnesses immediately find themselves in: national attention regarding a red-hot political and social issue with immense pressure for anyone of a darker complexion to root for the home team. I don’t envy that. Testifying to the “wrong” thing, when you live right there, must be an uncomfortable experience. The narrative, after all, is set, supported by national figures, nightly teams of looters, and hordes of protesters and sympathizers.

    Totally besides that it was probably over so fast that it took almost everyone nearby by complete surprise and shock and they had little tip-off this encounter would end as it did.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to JBourque. | August 19, 2014 at 3:21 am

      “Snitches get stiches.”

      Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to JBourque. | August 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Testifying to the “wrong” thing, when you live right there, must be an uncomfortable experience.

      Which also explains the reluctance of the convenience store clerk whom Brown strong-armed to make any public complaint.

David R. Graham | August 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Reminds me of the newsroom and other venue conversations in the movie Switching Channels when numbers and nature of incidents are deliberately elevated both from inter-media competition and for headlines/viewer ratings, facts irrelevant.

I know this is a little off subject but…here goes anyway.

Has anyone every noticed how much Al looks like the Martians from Mars attacks. I’m just saying… Slim Whitman anyone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSbigjiKLoU

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 18, 2014 at 10:45 pm

I think that this is a case where absence of evidence is evidence. It’s hard to believe in this day and age someone didn’t record the incident. The fact that no once came for forward indictates to me that people who did manage to record saw the cop was innocent and got rid if their recordings.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 18, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I am just wondering were the dash cam recording and audio are. I already know that the police in this area didn’t wear body mic’s, but surely there is dash cam video and audio. For the love of Pete I live in Arkansas and even the county mounties in the Ozarks have dash-cams and audio.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 18, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Not every department has dash cameras. Houston doesn’t and I think it may a union or a liability thing. I’m not sure why. Maybe Rasgpierre knows.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | August 19, 2014 at 12:15 am

        No offense to anyone who lives there, but I happen to have had some professional interaction with the Houston PD and have known a couple of guys who left the Houston PD because their morals couldn’t stand for them to remain employed there anymore, so finding out that they don’t use dash cams to record their exploits doesn’t really surprise me.

      Sadly Ferguson PD had federal grants to purchase the dashcams but not install them. Apparently the Chief never managed to find the funds to install them. Perhaps current events will convince the village idiots on the city council to use some of their slush funds to do so. It might even convince them to splurge and buy bodycams.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to genes. | August 19, 2014 at 12:13 am

        I am just stunned. One of the best tools to keep officers safe and they are just ignored. Every department in the nation should have dash-cams with video and fully recorded body mic’s if for nothing else than for the protection of the officers from frivolous complaints.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 3:17 am

          When I first heard of the shooting my first thought was that with luck the dash cam vid would clear things up. It surprised me they didn’t have cams. Still it is understandable, police departments have complicated priorities, and it may cost them a couple of squad cars to install the cams.

          Milhouse pointed out something that mitigated the lack. The FBI has just begun video taping it’s interviews. If the FBI is so far behind, then can you blame a small town police department?

          Also why is the federal government providing a grant to get the cameras but not enough to install them to? Seems kind of dumb to me.

          In any case after I heard a description of trhe shooting, I realized that it probably would not have meant much, Brown being on the side wouyld not have captured much.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm

          @Mouse

          Actually Mouse I was thinking that the Audio from the dash-cam would have been very helpful.

          Yea, you also have to remember that even if they had saved the money from the federal grant to do the install, if they had used the money for that it would have constituted a Felony, lol.

          Apparently, the Chief had tried to get the money but the City Council had turned it down a couple of times, just sad.

          steveo1 in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          In 1981, Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed about 10 ft in front of his squad car on a Philadelphia sidewalk. The perp, Mumia Abu Jamal. The best estimate that I’ve found for the costs of prosecution, appeals, costs of defense is millions and millions. If there had been a cam going, we’d probably never have heard the name Mumia, but that was 1981, 33 years ago, since then cams have done nothing but go up in quality and down in price. What’s up with that PD’s??

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 20, 2014 at 6:46 pm

          @steveo1

          Actually it does appear they had the cams, purchased through a federal grant, however the grant did not supply funds for installation. The police had requested the funds from the city but the request was denied, so on a shelf they sat.

          Oh, and the can’t use the grant funds for installation because that would be a Felony of its own.

      The dash cam video systems I have seen only record when the lights and/or sirens are on. I have been out of the security industry for about two years so that may have changed but I doubt it. Some agencies are still using VHS and they have very limited space for recording.

        steveo1 in reply to Merlin01. | August 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        Most of the new cams have what’s called pre-record buffering from anywhere to 60 seconds to 30 minutes even with audio. What that means is that normally the audio portion of the recording is activated when the emergency lights go on, but the video is buffered according to setting. This is useful for defendants in traffic cases where we have to determine if the leo is telling the truth about crossing lines, swerving, and other RAS’s. Many of the leos don’t know that the dash-cam is always recording.

      Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Ferguson explains the lack of dash cameras as lack of funding, in their Federal grants, for installation and operation.

      No gotty no dashcams.

    tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 19, 2014 at 3:35 am

    The fact that no once came for forward indictates to me that people who did manage to record saw the cop was innocent and got rid if their recordings

    It could just as easily mean that any recording which showed that the cop was not so innocent were already “lost” by one police department or another.

      Char Char Binks in reply to tom swift. | August 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Not everything that happens in the world gets recorded… yet.

        Tampa Hillsbourgh county sheriff has about 1200 marked/unmarked vehicles. 30 with dash cams. Budget last year was about 400 million. To equip all the vehicles with state of the art cams would be less than 1% of the budget. They got the money for the helicopters, MRAPs, millions of rounds of ammo, body armor, and enough overtime to double their force, but no cams.

Baden is near to dotage and a lefty tool even when fully lucid.

His surmises won’t count for beans.

Should this go to trial, which would be a disgrace, I’d bet on seeing the old boy who saved Zimmerman –the one who wrote the book on gunshot evidence.

I forget his name.

An observation from someone who shoots a lot.

The police officer was under considerable stress.

Who wouldn’t be?

But notice that his hits were to the left of center mass. Why?

Again, he’s under stress. But it appears he’s right-handed and was not supporting the gun enough with his left (weak) hand. The recoil can be pushing the gun left because its the only direction it can go since he was likely gripping it very strongly with his dominant right hand.

The point?

Practice, practice, and more practice on the Isosceles stance.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to The Old Radio Cat. | August 18, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    ….and Hydra-Shock ammo, especially for your little bitty old 9.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to The Old Radio Cat. | August 19, 2014 at 12:06 am

    He still managed to get the job done.

    Cops are not known for target mastery, unless they view shooting as a sport and practice a lot. Most of them just put in their required range time and shoot well enough to qualify.

      There’s a lot of truth to that. The firearms enthusiasts on our local PD force are in the minority. The rest do what the department requires and very little else. Unless you’re a naturally good shot, it takes a LOT of practice to develop the muscle memory required to perform well in a high stress situation, let alone learn how to analyze situations and make judgement calls.

    In criticizing the cop’s marksmanship, keep in mind the reports that he had, just a few seconds earlier, been punched in the face by Brown — and he’d also nearly been shot with his own gun, during the struggle in/at the car (when Brown and Johnson reportedly tried to take his gun from him).

    being beaten around the eye would cause this, unconfirmed friend reports say there was trauma around his eyes.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to dmacleo. | August 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Actually it was confirmed today that Officer Wilson suffered an “orbital blowout fracture” to the face. That particular fracture takes a lot of force to cause, we are talking about an injury common to boxers and MMA fighters. So you can rest assured that his vision was affected, therefore probably his aim.

There’s inherent contradictions or at the very least unanswered questions here.

There’s a complete absence of powder burns (which could be obscured by clothing). That suggests, for now, that the shots were not close range fires.

In order to hit a 6’4″ person in the top of the head who was surrendering one would need to be right over top of him, which would leave a burn. He was wearing a cap in the robbery but I don’t see one in the video of the police scene (where he’s on the ground). Therefore, there should be a burn if he was “executed”.

(This part is more speculative) It doesn’t make sense to me that someone would surrender on their knees with their head bowed. Would you take your eyes off the guy with the gun shooting at you? On the other hand, I could see an assailant ducking to make themselves a smaller target and to sprint faster (not a brilliant strategy but instinctive in a fast, aggressive “bull rush-like” maneuver).

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to healthguyfsu. | August 19, 2014 at 12:10 am

    We don’t know yet what, if any, powder burns or residue exist on any party or object.

      Powder burns are also a very close range thing, like within 2 feet or less, maybe even 18 inches. Now I would be interested to know if the shot that reportedly went off in the police car left any powder burns on the officer.

      Both the coroner and Baden found none. Baden didn’t have the clothes, but the final head shot being the last one, the residue would have been there.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Estragon. | August 19, 2014 at 12:39 am

        Yes, I think some are mis-interpreting the use of the word execution to mean that Brown was shot “execution style” which is not what even the craziest of loons is actually saying.

          nordic_prince in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 9:14 am

          Regardless, use of the term “execution” in reporting is meant to inflame emotions rather than report facts. Journalistic bias shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of the regulars here, however ~

          Char Char Binks in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

          Plenty of loons are calling this an execution.

    It’s less than an hour ago that I finally got wind of the press conference Ben Crump held for the Brown family. It looks like they just completely ignored what their own expert found (that was leaked to the NY Times) and went live with a lurid fantasy. It was embarrassing even to read; I’m glad I didn’t actually see it on TV. A key feature was that he was “executed” by being shot from behind, which seems to totally contradict what their own expert found.

    Here’s my hypothesis of the shot in the head.

    First four rounds are the arm shots. The 5 shot is the round that breaks the eye socket and deflecting down and exits out the jaw and into the collarbone area. The energy from this impact brings Brown’s head down and he is struck in the top of the head by the next round.

    Pure speculation but seems reasonable to me.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Merlin01. | August 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Or he made the completely unreasonable decision to duck his head and rush the cop. Remember people do boneheaded things all the time, especially people under the influence.

      I was actually thinking that he may have been going down from the, what must have been massive trauma to his arm and chest and a couple of rounds hit him in the head while he is going down.

Also, when one bows their head in a rush maneuver like that it puts that area very close to (roughly in line with) body center mass.

    tarheelkate in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I wondered if people here had seen that. The Daily Caller has the story; the Post Dispatch reporter claims sources tell her the police have more than a dozen witnesses who support the officer’s version of what happened.

There have been some reports that the store that Brown pilfered from did not report the crime. If true, there is no way the officer thought he was dealing with a suspect. The 911 log should clear this up.

Brown, on the other hand, had every reason to believe he was vulnerable to a charge of petty theft and may have overreacted.

“The Great Society. There, I’ve said it. The Great Society, which I voted for and supported from the bottom of my heart, is the villain behind Ferguson. Ferguson is the Great Society writ large because the Great Society convinced, and then reassured, black people that they were victims, taught them that being a victim and playing a victim was the way to go always and forever. And then it repeated the point ad infinitum from its debut in 1964 until now — a conveniently easy to compute fifty years — as it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Great Society and similar policies screwed black people to the wall. It was racist to the core without knowing it. Nobody used the N-word. In fact, it was forbidden, unless you were Dr. Dre or somebody. But it did its job without the word and did it better for being in disguise.”
—Roger L. Simon

I pretty much agree.

We see what we want to see, not what is real.

so far the witnesses in this case are not confused … they are all simply lying … period …

Midwest Rhino | August 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

A little honesty from Obama, accidental, but at least honest.

“I don’t want TO LOOK LIKE I’m putting my thumb on the scale”

Obama’s thumb is always on the scale, rewarding his friends, and punishing his political enemies. But he wants to hide the thumb on the scales, and his foot on the neck.

It’s all about appearances, as when he covertly escorts MS-13 illegal aliens to their preference of US cities, but threatens to fire or jail anyone taking pictures of the border holding tanks of sick and diseased illegal teenagers.

Obama sends in Holder to look out for “his people” … Holder that is proud to be an activist top cop. Holder that is held in contempt of Congress for his lies about fast and furiously selling thousands of guns to Mexican “narco-terrorists”.

an eye witness that says he/she didn’t see something or doesn’t know and refuses to assume are the helpful ones. one that, if presented with a hypothetical, will argue with you they he/she did not hear/see something is a lot better than one that argues that didn’t happen.
its the ones afraid to admit they don’t know something that you need to really worry about.
for some reason people are ashamed to admit they don’t know something and it seems that phenomenon has been growing over the last few decades.

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Here is an interesting video demonstrating the value of eyewitness testimony:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=670841776267356

Char Char Binks | August 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Why would Brown say, “I don’t have a gun.” It seems like an odd, unless the cop asked him. But of course, as a white man, I can’t possibly understand black vernacular, and must accept the word of blacks on all matters relating to this, no matter how implausible they may seem to me. I’m not quite “real” enough to get it. And if he put his hands up in surrender, why would he put his head down, with the crown of his head facing the cop. The more usual posture would be head up, eye forward, seems to me.

My comment was an observation, not a critique. An observation based upon my tendency to shoot left when I first picked up a handgun. Years later when I finally went for some formal training the NRA-certified instructor pointed out what I was doing wrong – a weak left hand.

It was not a critique of the officer. Hell, if I’d been in that situation I’d have likely emptied my bowels before the magazine. That policeman did his job and did it well. Thank God he’s alive.

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