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#Ferguson Grand Jury evidence: Police Officer’s Account of Shooting

#Ferguson Grand Jury evidence: Police Officer’s Account of Shooting

Officer Wilson: “At this point I’m like . . . this guy is going to kill me if he gets ahold of this gun.”

As promised, the transcripts of the Ferguson Grand Jury have been released to the public. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the transcripts amount to 4,799 pages. That’s not a typo: four thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine pages. So, it’s going to take a little time to work through and present in a useful form here.

In this post I present the narrative of Police Officer Darren Wilson as he recounts to the Grand Jury his encounter with Mike Brown. I do so in abridged form, meaning that I’ve stripped out other people’s statements to make the narrative more concise and easier to read. All of the text provided is, however, exactly as presented in the official transcript (baring, perhaps, an occasional typo here or there.)

To make this more than a mere re-packaging of the official transcript, I suggest it might be a useful exercise as you read through Wilson’s narrative to ask yourself whether it meets the required five elements of the law of self-defense. (Strictly speaking, just four of those elements apply, as there is no duty to retreat for a police officer in the performance of his duties.)  These four elements, then, are:

  • Innocence: Wilson must not have been the unlawful physical aggressor.
  • Imminence: Wilson must have been facing a threat that is either about to occur right now, or is in actual progress.
  • Proportionality: To be justified in the use of deadly force in self-defense Wilson must have been facing a threat of death or grave bodily harm.
  • Reasonableness:  Wilson’s perceptions, decisions, and actions must have been those of a reasonable and prudent police officer in the same circumstances, with the same capabilities, possessing the same specialized knowledge, and under the same stresses of an existential fight.

Keep in mind that if Wilson had been indicted, at trial the prosecution would have been required to disprove any one of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.  As it happened, of course, the fact the the Grand Jury found not even probable cause to indict means that disproving self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt would have been simply impossible on the facts in evidence.

Wilson’s narrative begins here with him returning from a call to assist a family with an ill baby.  I have not interjected my own comments into his narrative, but rather defer to Wilson’s own words to represent his version of events.  I have, however, included the schematic below (and accompanying legend) as a useful reference, as well as pictures of Wilson’s service pistol and his injuries, inserted into the appropriate segments of his narrative.

Ferguson schematic

Ferguson schematic

Ferguson schematic legend

Ferguson schematic legend

While on the sick case call, a call came out for a stealing in progress from the local market on West Florissant, that the suspects traveling towards QT. I didn’t hear the entire call, I was on my portable radio, which isn’t exactly the best. I did hear that a suspect was wearing a black shirt and that a box of Cigarillos was stolen.

It was not my call, I heard the call.

Magazine pouches sit right here, my weapon [service pistol] is on my right hip, I have an ASP that sits kind of behind me and kind of to the right and then a set of handcuffs, another set of handcuffs, my OC spray or mace is on this [left] side and then my radio and that’s it.

I carry a Sig Sauer, a P229 .40 caliber. It has 12 in the magazine and one goes in the chamber, so a total of 13.

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson service pistol Sig 229

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson service pistol Sig 229


I normally don’t carry a taser. We only have a select amount. Usually there is one available, but I usually elect not to carry one. It is not the most comfortable thing. They are very large, I don’t have a lot of room in the front for it to be positioned.

I see them [Brown and Johnson] walking down the middle of the street. and first thing that struck me was they’re walking down the middle of the street. I had already seen a couple of cars trying to pass, but they couldn’t have traffic normal because they were in the middle, so one had to stop to let the car go around and then another car would come. And the next thing I noticed was the size of the individuals because either the first one was really small or the second one was really big.

The next thing I notice was that Brown had bright yellow socks on that had green marijuana leaves as a pattern on them. They were the taller socks that go halfway up your shin.

As I approached them, I stopped a couple of feet in front of Johnson as they are walking towards me, I am going towards them. And I allowed him to keep walking towards my window, which was down. As Johnson came around my driver’s side mirror I said, “why don’t you guys walk on the sidewalk.” He kept walking, as he is walking he said, “We are almost to our destination.”

As he said that, he kept walking and Brown was starting to come around the mirror and as he came around the corner I said, “well, what’s wrong with the sidewalk.” Brown then replied, um, it has vulgar language.

Brown then replied, “fuck what you have to say.” And when he said that, it drew my attention totally to Brown. It was a very unusual and not expected response from a simple request.

When I start looking at Brown, first thing I notice is in his right hand, his hand is full of Cigarillos. And that’s when it clicked for me, because I now saw the Cigarillos, I looked in my mirror, I did a doublecheck that Johnson was wearing a black shirt, these are the two from the stealing.

And they kept walking, as I said, they never stopped, never got on the sidewalk, they stayed in the middle of the road.

So I got on my radio and Frank 21 is my call sign that day, I said Frank 21 I’m on Canfield with two, send me another car.

I then placed my car in reverse and backed up and I backed up just past them and then angled my vehicle, the back of my vehicle to kind of cut them off kind to keep them somewhat contained.

As I did that, I go to open the door and I say, hey, come here for a minute to Brown. As I’m opening the door he turns, faces me, looks at me and says, “what the fuck are you going to do about it,” and shuts my door, slammed it shut. I haven’t even got it open enough to get my let out, it was only a few inches.

I then looked at him and told him to get back and he was just starting at me, almost like to intimidate me or to overpower me. The intense face he had was just not what I expected from any of this.

I then opened my door again and used my door to push him backwards, and while I’m doing that I tell him to “get the fuck back,” and then I use my door to push him.

He then grabs my door again and shuts my door. At that time is when I saw him coming into my vehicle. His head was higher than the top of my car. And I see him ducking and as he is ducking, his hands are up and he is coming in my vehicle.

I had shielded myself in this type of manner and kind of looked away, so I don’t remember seeing him come at me, but I was hit right here in the side of the face with a fist. I don’t think it was a full-on swing, I think it was a full-on swing but not a full shot. I think my arm deflected some of it, but there was still a significant amount of contact that was made to my face.

After he hit me then, it stopped for a second. He kind of like, I remember getting hit and he kind of like grabbed and pulled, and then it stopped. When I looked up, if this is my car door, I’m sitting here facing that way, he’s here. He turns like this and now the Cigarillos I see in his left hand. He’s going like this and he says, “hey, man, hold these.”

I tried to hold his right arm and use my left hand to get out to have some type of control and not be trapped in my car any more. And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan, that’s just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm.

And as I’m trying to open the door is when, and I can’t really get it open because he is standing only maybe 6 inches from my door, but as I was trying to pull the handle, I see his hand coming back around like this and he hit me with this part of his right here, just a full swing all the way back around and hit me right here. (indicating)

After he did that, next thing I remember is how do I get this guy away from me. What do I to not get beaten inside my car.

I considered using my mace, however, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my left hand, which is blocking my face to go for it. I couldn’t reach around on my right to get it and if I would have gotten it out, the chances of it being effective were slim to none. His hands were in front of his face, it would have blocked the mace from hitting him in the face and if any of that got on me, I know what it does to me and I would have been out of the game. I wear contacts, if that touches any part of my eyes, then I can’t see at all.

Like I said, I don’t carry a taser, I considered my asp [expandable baton], but to get that out since I kind of sit on it, I usually have to lean forward and pull myself forward to the steering wheel to get it out. Again, I wasn’t willing to let go of the one defense I had against being hit. The whole time, I can’t tell you if he was swinging at me or grabbing me or pushing me or what, but there was just stuff going on and I was looking down figuring out what to do.

Also, when I was grabbing my asp, I knew if I did even get it out, I’m not going to be able to expand it inside the car or am I going to be able to make a swing that will be effective in any manner.

Next I considered my flashlight. I keep that on the passenger side of the car. I wasn’t going to, again, reach over like this to grab it and then even if I did grab it, would it even be effective. We are so close and confined.

So the only other option I thought I had was my gun. I drew my gun, I turned. It is kind of hard to describe it, I turn and I go like this. He is standing here. I said,” get back or I’m going to shoot you.”

He immediately grabs my gun and says, “you are too much of a pussy to shoot me.” [emphasis added–AFB]

My gun was basically pointed this way. I’m in my car, he’s here, it is pointed this way, but he grabs it with his right hand, not his left, he grabs with his right one and he twists it and then he digs it down into my hip.

I felt that another one of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse. I mean it was, he’s obviously bigger than I was and stronger, and the, I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right. . . . Or at least unconscious and then who knows what would happen to me after that.

I had a swollen right cheek, my left they said was swollen, I had scratches around my hairline in the back and I think on the side of my heck, but that’s all that I remember.

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 3

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 3

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 2

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 2

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 1

Ferguson PO Darren Wilson injuries 1

He grabs my gun, says, “you are too much of a pussy to shoot me.” The gun goes down into my hip and at that point I thought I was getting shot. I can feel his fingers try to get inside the trigger guard with my finger and I distinctly remember envisioning a bullet going into my leg. I thought that was the next step.

I’m not paying attention to him, all I can focus on is just this gun in my leg. I was able to kind of shift slightly like this and then push it down, because he is pushing down like to keep it pinned on my leg. So when I slid, I let him use his momentum to push it down and it was kind of pointed to where the seat buckle would attach on the floorboard on the side of my car. Next thing I remember putting my left hand on it like this, putting my elbow into the back of my seat and just pushing with all I could forward.

I was just so focused on getting the gun out of me. When I did get it up to this point, he is still holding onto it and I pulled the trigger and nothing happens, it just clicked. I pull it again, it just clicked again.

At this point I’m like why isn’t this working, this guy is going to kill me if he gets ahold of this gun. I pulled it a third time, it goes off. When it went off, it shot through my door panel and my window was down and glass flew out of my door panel. I think that kind of startled him and me at the same time.

When I see the glass come up, it comes, a chunk about that big comes across my right hand and then I notice I have blood on the back of my hand.

After seeing the blood on my hand, I looked at him and he was, this is my car door, he was here and he kind of stepped back and went like this.

And then after he did that, he looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.

At that point I just went like this, I tried to pull the trigger again, click, nothing happened. Last thing I saw was this [fist] coming at me.

[Did he hit you at that time?] Yes. So I pulled the trigger, it just clicks that time. Without even looking, I just grab the top of my gun, the slide and I racked it, and I put my, still not looking just holding my hand up, I pulled the trigger again, it goes off.

When I look back after that, I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him. I then get out of my car. As I’m getting out of the car I tell dispatch, “shots fired, send me more cars.”

We start running. . . When I passed the second one [car], about that same time he stopped running and he is at that light pole. So when he stopped, I stopped. And then he starts to turn around, I tell him to get on the ground, get on the ground.

He turns, and when he looks at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me. His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me.

As he is coming toward me, I tell, keep telling him to get on the ground, he doesn’t. I shoot a series of shots. I don’t know how many I shot, I just know I shot.

I know I missed a couple, I don’t know how many, but I know I hit him at least once because I saw his body kind of jerk or flinched [sic].

I remember having tunnel vision on his right hand, that’s all, I’m just focusing on that hand when I was shooting.

Well, after the last shot my tunnel vision kind of opened up. I remember seeing the smoke from the gun and I kind of looked at him and he’s still coming at me, he hadn’t slowed down.

At this point I start backpedaling again, I tell him get on the ground, get on the ground, he doesn’t. I shoot another round of shots. Again, I don’t recall how many it was or if I hit him every time. I know at least once because he flinched again.

At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him made that I’m shooting at him.

Well, he keeps coming at me after that again, during the pause I tell him to get on the ground, get on the ground, he still keeps coming at me, gets about 8 to 10 feet away. At this point I’m backing up pretty rapidly, I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me.

And he had started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.

His hand is in a fist at his side, this one is in his waistband under his shirt, and he was like this. Just coming straight at me like he was going to run right through me. And when he gets about that 8 to 10 feet away, I look down, I remember looking at my sites [sic] and firing, all I see is his head and that’s what I shot.

I don’t know how many, I know at least once because I saw the last one go into him. And then when it went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean, I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.

When he fell, he fell on his face. And I remember his feet coming up, like he had so much momentum carrying him forward that when he fell, his feet kind of came up a little bit and then they rested.

At that point I got back on the radio and said,” send me a supervisor and every car you got.”

The above is an abridged version of Darren Wilson’s narrative as told to the Ferguson Grand Jury (the full-text of his narrative is in the PDF embedded at the bottom of this post).

Wilson’s testimony goes on for some length as he directly answers questions posed to him by the Grand Jury members. I will cover that second half in my next post.

I’m continuing to work my way through the 4,799 pages of Grand Jury transcripts. There will be MUCH more to come, including a great deal of hilarity from Dorian Johnson’s sworn testimony to the Grand Jury. I’ll include the relevant portion of the Grand Jury transcripts with each post.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.



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I counted four misfires! Is that common for a Sig??

    Any grappling over a semi-automatic is likely to push the slide out of battery. If the slide is out of battery, the gun won’t fire. Alternatively, the aggressors hand could lap over the rear of the slide in such a way as to prevent the fall of the hammer (the pistol in question, a Sig 299, employs a hammer to strike a firing pin). If the hammer is blocked, it cannot impact the firing pin, the firing pin cannot impact the primer, and “CLICK.”

    The above applies to ALL shots, whether first or successive.

    But ALSO in the context of successive shots, if an aggressors hand is over the slide, but not pushing it out of battery, the gun may fire the first round. But with the aggressor’s hand blocking the ejection port, the just-fired round cannot eject, and a new round is not loaded. Therefore the gun won’t fire a successive round until the slide is manually cycled, allowing the fired brass to be ejected, and a new fresh round to be chambered.

    Sounds like Wilson encountered both of these scenarios.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Thank you, Andrew! As a relatively new gun owner, I knew enough about striker-action to see how grabbing the slide could cause a failure to cycle, but not how it could cause a misfire. Also, my Glock doesn’t have an external hammer, so that aspect didn’t occur to me.

      Bruce Hayden in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks. I too don’t know enough about firearms, but do have a firearm that appears to operate similarly to Wilson’s firearm.

      I think that you also explained why there could be (apparently) 12 empty casings (and one in the chamber at the end). I had assumed that when he racked the slide, that an unspent round was ejected. This explains why that probably wasn’t the case.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Not saying it happened in this incident, but it’s possible for a gun to go off during a scuffle and not be noticed (because focus may be elsewhere during the fight and the “audio exclusion” effect). If the assailant has a hand on the weapon when it fires, the slide can be prevented from cycling, preventing the empty case from being extracted and ejected. Because the Sig is a DA/SA (double action/single action) gun, the trigger can be pulled and the hammer can be dropped without having to rack the slide first, so the hammer can fall again and again on a spent case in the chamber – no boom. As Officer Wilson recounts, he racked the slide, so if this is what happened in this situation, racking the slide would have ejected the spent case and loaded a fresh round, permitting the gun to fire the next time the trigger is pulled.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to SRaher. | November 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Not a good day for Sig. Maybe Sig Sauer will publish an explanation of what happened.

      Why in the world would you say THAT? NO semi-auto pistol is going to function properly with an aggressor’s hand on the slide.

      And had it been a revolver, Brown could simply have clenched down on the cylinder. Same difference.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

        I didn’t make myself clear. People who are unfamiliar with a variety of firearms have been buying firearms in droves all over the country. Will this aspect of the story be detrimental to Sig? It might behoove them to make what you explained above clear so as to not harm sales.

          Ah, I see. I suppose you’re right.

          From my perspective, this Sig won a tough fight in the hands of one tough cop.

          Were I Sig, I’d have Wilson in commercials.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          not knowing handguns much … it is good for sig, that Wilson trusted them, bad some might think they misfire per this incident, good this incident shows training is essential, as Wilson seemed to know what to do, under duress.

          Overall, handgun with good training equals survival in even close in “combat”. Wilson seemed to act out of his training.

          This is a hot news item … used to educate the public, ideally. I’m sending my (confused?) Facebook friends here to you (they know their sheet) guys, to help us all be prepared.

          God Bless America. 🙂

          amatuerwrangler in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | November 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

          I consider my Sig P226 (in 9mm) the M-1 of semi-auto handguns. Having taken it through some heavy duty combat courses, it continued to function with mud and grass on the slide and in the magazine; even the drill of digging loose rounds out of the dirt did not stop it.

          Wilson exhibited that he learned from his training, knowing to manually cycle the weapon to bring it back into action. Too many people buy a gun and run a box or 2 of ammo through it and think they are ready to take on the world. Not so. Readers: if you have not already done so, take a handgun combat course. That is where you will learn to survive… these kinds of confrontations are not as rare, for police officers, as some would have you believe.

          Sig looks good here.

    DDsModernLife in reply to SRaher. | November 25, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    When I heard that Officer Wilson had testified that his weapon had jammed or misfired I was shocked even BEFORE I learned it was a Sig. But after AB’s explanation, it lends credibility to Officer Wilson’s account of the incident. I can tell you that for their compact CM40, Kahr cautions that simply racking the slide will not guarantee the weapon goes into battery–they recommend fully locking the slide, then release to feed a round into the chamber. It will not fire if not fully in battery.

    In the famous words of John Adams, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

JackRussellTerrierist | November 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Andrew, as always, thank you for your work and for sharing it with us.

I am unclear on whether McCulloch was saying (last night) whether Wilson was determined to be acting properly within his duties as a peace officer or as a matter of self-defense, or both. What was your understanding of what McCulloch said?

O/T for all – try to find an interview Neil Cavuto did at 4pm ET with a Sheriff David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, WI. He is an extremely impressive man.

    If I remember correctly he did say that Wilson was just defending himself, but I could be wrong, will have to look for a transcript of his remarks.

    There may be two issues here. The first, of course, was self-defense. I am wading through the witness statements, but so far I have yet to see anything that would negate such a defense. The only issue, maybe, was whether Wilson should have stopped shooting a bit earlier. But Brown apparently kept coming, despite repeated orders to “stop”. And, even if he were about to collapse, Wilson had no way of knowing that.

    But, the other issue was whether Wilson was privileged to use deadly force to effect the arrest of a person who had committed a violent felony in the presence of Wilson, a police officer – i.e. the 1st or 2nd degree assault on a police officer, etc. Arguably, it was 1st degree (565.081 – a Class A felony), which requires attempts to kill, or knowingly causes or attempts to cause great physical injury to the LEO. That is, by MO law, considered a crime of violence (and therefore, apparently, gets a sentence enhancement). MO law allows the use of deadly force to effect felony arrests, but that is constrained by US SCOTUS precedent, that the felon must be an imminent threat to society. And, arguably, the assault on a police officer (of either degree) would qualify.

    The interesting thing to me here though is that even if MO was a retreat doctrine state, the standard is different for police. As a LEO, Wilson was essentially expected to at least follow the threat (as he was apparently doing), even if he could have retreated. He talked about doing that, and that that was part of what was engrained at the academy. I was struck how disciplined Wilson was asking for backup, minimizing his own danger, while still doing his job in regards to dealing with an apparent dangerous felon. And, that may be what the DA was talking about.

      People who are claiming he fired too many shots have unfortunately, received most of their firearms information from Hollywood… in other words, they don’t know jack. You don’t stop firing until the threat is neutralized. If that threat is still on his feet moving towards you, continue firing until that is no longer the case. Had he stopped and surrendered, he might still be alive today. It would take an amazingly good (and lucky) shot to have stopped a man the size of Brown in one shot. It just doesn’t work that way in real life.

Michael Brown got exactly what he deserved – a full dose of the legal use of deadly force.

Absolutely riveting reading. Thanks, Andrew, for distilling it for us and putting it into perspective.

I’ll now direct my teenage daughter to read this post as she came home from high school today with her otherwise brilliant head full of progressive mush about this subject.

I wonder how many poor black children could have had full tuition and room and board paid at a state university for 4 years with the money wasted on this whole fiasco.

The rioters and race baiters are stealing poor black children’s future.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Anchovy. | November 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I wonder how many poor white children could have had full tuition and room and board paid at a state university for 4 years with the money wasted on this whole fiasco.

    Exiliado in reply to Anchovy. | November 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I wonder how many poor children could have had full tuition and room and board paid at a state university for 4 years with the money wasted on this whole fiasco.

    The rioters and race baiters are stealing poor American children’s future.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Exiliado. | November 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      If a student’s education is funded by taxpayers as suggested, the taxpayers are entitled to the best outcome and success for dollars spent.

      Cultural changes are needed by black America before the potential of this particular benefit can be realized by the investors. The drop-out rate by black college students is unfortunately high, but it’s their choice and undoubtedly a function of the other illnesses of black culture that we’ve seen again and again. That money is pure waste no matter the race of the student when a student drops out, but the statistics are exceptionally high for black college students. That’s just the way it is.

      The government shouldn’t be funding this in the first place.

Officer Wilson is one lucky guy to be alive. As a beat cop myself, I was in a couple of situations that could have gone south like this very, very quickly. Officer Wilson did exactly what he needed to do to go home that night.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to NavyMustang. | November 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Getting trapped in your car is one of those nightmare self defense situations, especially with a “Gentle Giant” blocking your door and beating you about the head and shoulders.

    I did notice one thing that was different than I expected. Wilson drew the gun himself, Brown didn’t try to get it out of his holster. I had that one backwards.

      NavyMustang in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      We had a similar case in Hawaii. Off duty cop assaulted by a thug who struck the cop in the face several times. Cop pulled his gun and shot the schmuck. Had to do it as he was starting to lose consciousness.

      The criminal broke off the attack and left the scene. Not killed, just injured.

      Good shoot.

Andrew –

Is PO Wilson out of the woods so to speak? He cannot be charged now by the State of MO – but Holder keeps mentioning the FED is not done here – so can he be charged with any federal crimes? If so, what are the likely ones?


    Henry Hawkins in reply to walls. | November 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    DoJ officials have already noted that the evidence in support of federal civil rights violations by Wilson is weak, too weak to indict. I think their focus on Wilson is a bone tossed to the base, while their real focus is on the Ferguson PD, as well as 20-something other PDs they are examining nationwide. It’s the ‘reform’ of police departments they seek, not an indictment of Wilson. Brown and Wilson are just pawns in something much bigger.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to walls. | November 25, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I am not a lawyer, but from what I have read and understand the only thing the Fed’s can charge him with would be a Civil Rights violation. Basically they could try to say that something he did prior to the actual deadly encounter somehow infringed on Browns rights, though I also understand that proving those violations can be a tough hill to climb.

    I don’t see civil rights charges going anywhere. Officer Wilson had more than ample cause to begin the interaction with both men since they were walking in the middle of the street blocking traffic and being unsafe. Then Brown’s unusual behavior and seeing the stolen cigars in Browns possession give him more than ample probable cause to attempt to detain both men. He didn’t stop them because they were black, he stopped them because they were walking in the middle of the street and cars were having to dodge them.

    Milhouse in reply to walls. | November 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    He certainly can be charged by the state, at any time, so long as it can make out a prima facie. Being no-billed doesn’t stop that; there’s no double jeopardy. They can convene another grand jury, or (if state law allows) hold a hearing to establish a prima facie case against him. But the evidence won’t change; the next people to evaluate it are likely to reach the same conclusion as this grand jury did.

      Ragspierre in reply to Milhouse. | November 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      In my view, the release of all this evidence was at least partially tactical.

      It has the effect of demonstrating what transparency looks like (I’m looking at YOU, Eric HOlder) AND inoculating Wilson against another attempt to criminalize this incident.

      Good public conduct, and good public relations.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Milhouse. | November 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      There are some crucial questions. McDonough won’t push it. But Nixon could appoint a Corey like special prosecutor.

      So if the special prosecutor convenes another GJ or goes before a judge to get an arrest warrant, is he required to disclose the no bill? Also in some states you are limited in how you can convene a GJ.
      For example, some states require you have new evidence to produce to a GJ.

      Another question is civil liability. Is there some sort of immunity law in Mo? Could the no bill be sufficient to obtain a JMoL?

FWIW, I love my Sig P220 9mm. I take three weapons to the range, rotated at whim out of six total, but the Sig P220 9mm is usually one of the three. Good shooter.

    Bruce Hayden in reply to Henry Hawkins. | November 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    The question that I would have though is that Wilson was using a .40 S&W version. Don’t know if it was 180 or 185 grain JHP. But, Brown took a bunch of rounds, and kept on coming. Would the smaller 9 mm rounds (apparently standard in many police departments) have stopped him in enough time?

      NavyMustang in reply to Bruce Hayden. | November 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Adrenaline does some amazing things to a body.

        I assume you mean Brown’s adrenaline. What about Wilson? NM, as I wrote in a reply to Gremlin1974, I wondered how much additional adrenaline flooded PO Wilson’s system when he pulled the trigger the first time that the gun did not discharge!

        Imagine: You are in a fight for your life, and your only apparent chance is to use your Sig, AND IT DOES NOT FIRE!. (Thankfully, Wilson’s training kicked in and he was able to rack the slide and chamber another round, all the while he is getting his head pounded by the Not-so-Gentle Giant.)

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Bruce Hayden. | November 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      It takes a lot to literally stop 6’4″ 300 lbs charging at you and I’m not sure a .45 would have done much better in dropping him quick – till the head shot.

      So much depends on shot placement. With good enough shot placement, a .22 is plenty.

      The question you ask is ongoing among shooters: which caliber bullet offers the best blend of stopping power and accuracy? A .45 has great stop, but recoil is heavier (affects accuracy of next shot), the weapon is heavier, plus .45s usually hold fewer rounds. Each shooter picks for his/her circumstance – a patrol officer in a big city doesn’t need long range accuracy, while a border patrol agent might.

      My handgun choice for home defense is a big revolver (no safety, point and shoot, never jams) and a 12 ga shotgun, short stock. Concealed carry needs are different for me, but my favorite is a little Keltec P32 (.32 caliber) with an extended mag. Small and light, but the ext mag makes it fit my hand, plus I’m good with it, love to shoot it. It is semi-auto weapon, any of which bring the risk of jamming, but I’ve never had a jam with the KelTec. I hold no hero fantasies of joining police in a shoot out I somehow got in the middle of and I don’t carry a cannon like some of my buddies. No, my little .32 CCW is for blast and run, lol. I have a lawyer friend who carries a Desert Eagle on his hip. It’s a hand cannon, lol. He’s about 5’5″ tall, so the joke is that he has a Desert Eagle that carries him on its hip.

      But the question runs on (likely someone will post saying I’ve got the wrong idea on something, lol). *With enough practice* you can make just about any caliber work for you.

      Since the .40 S&W bullets didn’t stop Brown (until the last one), it’s hard to understand how the smaller, lighter 9mm could have stopped him sooner.

        Don’t mean to de-rail the thread, but I’ve worked very closely with FBI Firearms Training Unit personnel who test many thousands of pistol (and other) rounds through ballistic gelatin every year, as well as having access to the best forensic pathologists in the country.

        These forensic pathologists can NOT tell the difference on autopsy of wound tracks from 9mm, 3457 Sig, 40S&W or 45ACP. And there’s no meaningful temporary wound cavity from any of those pistol rounds.

        Bottom line: it just doesn’t matter.

        Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. 9mm as good as any of the others.

        And TODAY’S defensive 9mm ammo is WORLD’S superior to what existed 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. More reliable penetration through hard barriers (car glass), more reliable expansion in soft tissue regardless of clothing barriers, etc.

        And one pistol shot of ANY caliber, or even two or three or four shots, is never a guarantee of a stop. Law allows continued use of force until the unlawful threat against you has been neutralized., however many rounds that takes.

        That said, of course everybody should carry the caliber with which they feel best able to defend themselves and their family. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Walker Evans in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2014 at 3:13 am

          Andrew, this is NOT PC, and certainly not something you’d want to say to anyone if you ever have to use a gun in a self defense situation, but these words from the LEO who gave me my first training with a handgun 40+ years back have always made sense to me:

          “You don’t shoot a Bad Guy until you think he’s dead; you shoot him until HE thinks he’s dead!”


          “You don’t shoot a Bad Guy until you think he’s dead; you shoot him until HE thinks he’s dead!”

          As a citizen employing a gun in self-defense, your goal is to shoot a Bad Guy until he is no longer a threat. You shouldn’t go about armed, with the vigilante idea that you wanna kill all the “bad guys” dead, like some one-man judge, jury & executioner. You go about armed so you can protect yourself and your family.

          Walker Evans in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm


          I agree with you, but the statistics clearly show that in greater than 90% of the cases where a firearm is used as a deterrent just showing your piece is enough to end the confrontation. The unfortunate correlary is that in a majority of the remaining cases shooting to a lethal result is what is needed to bring about a cessation of the attack. My old LEO mentor’s comment simply reflected that reality, summed up in a single pithy statement.

          Neither my wife nor I would walk out of the house without our EDC pieces, but neither of us is looking to be a vigilante; we are simply mindful that the country we knew as children in the 1950’s sadly no longer exists. My comment reflects that situation, as well as the statistics noted above. It is also worth mentioning that we live on the border between Conditions Yellow and Orange, which helps avoid things that can lead to having to shoot.

          We are also aware that a person in relatively good condition can cross a 7-yard gap in just a tiny bit over one second. If we have to fire at someone attacking within that range, they are going to get as many rounds sent their way as quickly as possible!

          Hopefully this clarifies things a little.

      Another Ed in reply to Bruce Hayden. | November 26, 2014 at 12:17 am

      a The lower recoil of the 9mm allows quicker follow-up shots. The 9mm SIG P229 has at least one more round capacity than the .40 S&W (13+1 rounds vs. 12+1 rounds), but there are 15 and 18 round 9mm magazines available from Mec-Gar (magazine manufacturer for SIG) for the SIG P229 and the P228 that allow more rounds to be fired before reloading.

      Unless you hit the CNS (brain and spinal cord), it can take an eternity (or at least it will feel like an eternity) before loss of blood volume from a center-of-mass shot causes a significant drop in blood pressure and unconsciousness. It doesn’t make a big difference whether it is a 9mm, .40 S&W or a .45 ACP round that is used. Accurate, multiple shots may shorten the time to that pressure drop and increase the chance that you will finally get a CNS hit.

his testimony (looks like same thing posted here) and the whole 4799 page proceedings here
2 distinct pdf files there.

“When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me”.

I suspect the explanation for the right hand in the waistband is that he knew he would have to hold his pants up were he to run.

as an MP I’ve dealt with people that got that aggressive just off pot.
thc was only thing that showed in the blood tests.
and nobody believes it.
one I dealt with ended up with my parter holding the guys 44 revolver up while I literally dented (and ruined) a 6 cell maglite over his skull. broke a 2×4 wall stud with his head too.
if I had been alone I would have had to shoot no matter that there were 2 kids in the room.
we got lucky there were 2 of us.

when a 44 is crossing your face it looks like the end of a pipe.
I got pissed.
he lost.
partner thought he was going to have to stop me but I kept it in check.

    NavyMustang in reply to dmacleo. | November 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Glad you still around to tell us about it.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to dmacleo. | November 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    nice job

    After all my “armchair investigation”, I was sure they’d find some other substance in Brown, like PCP, whatever, to explain his aggression, in the store, the vehicle, the charge. But I do hear that thc can be more intense these days, not like the old “ditch weed”.

    Still doesn’t seem “gentle giant” Brown was in his normal state. Sure he may not have been raised quite right, but that doesn’t really explain assaulting the cop in his vehicle. He was “cranked up” on something, more than attitude, surely.

    Evidence is still evidence, but an altered state would still be explanatory and instructive.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Actually, the THC could have been why he attacked a cop, remember just like alcohol THC/pot lowers inhibitions, so if Browns natural attitude and state of mind was violent then that could explain it.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 25, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      He could also just be an 18 yr. old, 300 lb. bully thug who thinks he’s invincible and was behaving in his usual manner.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to dmacleo. | November 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    That a given perp had THC in the system is a correlation, but not necessarily a causation for his violence. He may also have had a hot dog in his stomach, but you need more to certify it was the THC (or the hot dog) that made him violent. Correlation error.

    Marijuana/cannabis is not at all known for inducing violence. However, any drug, including alcohol… especially alcohol, can have a disinhibiting effect, that is, the drug or booze makes it difficult to hold back anger like they can when sober. Most of us are familiar with having done or said something we wouldn’t have sober.

      Most people who drink alcohol don’t become violent. Even if they become VERY drunk, they don’t become violent.

      But there’s a small minority for whom alcohol intoxication leads to violence as if it were a clockwork mechanism. We’ve all met these people.

      I would suggest the same is true for marijuana, and generally for most intoxicants.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        Exactly, I spent 10 years as a psych nurse treating criminally insane drug abusers and I can tell you that there are exceptions to every rule when it comes to humans and chemicals. God loves wondrous variety and since we are all made slightly different different drugs can have different effects depending on the individual.

        Some folks can do meth and just clean the yard and mow the bedroom. A very small percentage can get “amphetamine induced psychosis”. AID can mimic the symptom’s of schizophrenia and/or schizoaffective disorder.

        So yes it is entirely possible that the “harmless” drug known as marijuana could have a negative effect on someones mood and make them more likely to lash out than to eat Twinkies with canned cheesedip.

      we had a lot (this was in the 80’s in germany) of alchohol and pot related stupidity and deaths. like how funny would it be to climb this pole and touch the top up the way to get munchies. problem was the top was 440 volts. had 2 cinders in a few months from that.
      but we had a few pot only, this was one, got very paranoid and aggressive. we fully expected to find anything else, this one was a shock as the few other pot only also had speech troubles where he was extremely coherent.
      until I beat the hell out of him at least.
      this guy was well known by family and friends to get like this when smoking we found out weeks later. would have been nice to know beforehand.
      the point is it affects many differently and those who say it doesn’t are generalizing for whatever reason.
      generalizations are not something you should be willing to bet your life on.
      hell the smell alone literally makes me gag and vomit. it doesn’t do that to many others (had 1 other guy overseas that it would bother but not this bad) but you cannot say it doesn’t do it to anyone as it does. also does the same to my father.

      now heres a shocker.
      I’m actually for decriminalization of it.
      I’m not for making it legal just so it can be taxed though, an items legality should not depend on its taxability.
      we have OUI laws, you get stoned and kill someone you (and drunk drivers who purposely drank) should be executed.

      The toxicology report stated he had enough THC in his system to induce hallucinations.

      That sounds like more than just a little bit.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to mariner. | November 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        That would be an overdose in relation to the ‘recreational’ dose.

        I have no doubt that violent people have been found with THC in their system. Correctly identifying the THC as the specific cause of their violence is exceedingly difficult, nigh unto impossible, because it is virtually impossible to eliminate every other reason a person might get violent, much of which does involve intoxicants at all. It is unscientific to assign the cause to THC only because a different cause could not be identified. Scientifically speaking, you need a direct and specific cause/effect connection.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | November 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm

          DOESN’T involve intoxicants…

          ReallyVeryObnoxious in reply to Henry Hawkins. | November 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm


          If what you said about science were entirely founded, the state of art in experimental design would be very poor indeed.

          The point of control groups is that they do not have the feature you are examining the effects of varying, pot here, and do have about the same amount of everything else as the other groups, like hot dogs.

          Sure, individual incidents of violence cannot be a well designed experiment. Frankly, it would probably be unethical and prohibitively costly to do a conclusive experiment of such directly.

          This is almost exactly the reason we use things like animal models.

          So one can seperate out the chemicals found in pot. Then, using experiements informed by intensive study of cognitive function and the nervous system, one can test rats to see what effect each chemical has on a specific type of cognitive function.

          Perhaps one finds that a specific chemical impairs risk assessment. Perhaps one knows that, given variations in the composition of pot, a certain level of impaired risk assessment is likely at a certain level of THC.

          Then someone else might fairly conclude that a person killed committing assault with enough THC in their system likely had impaired enough risk assessment that their overestimation of the degree to which they were an invincible badass contributed to their choices.

          ReallyVeryObnoxious in reply to Henry Hawkins. | November 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

          So, what can someone do to evaluate this who doesn’t want to read what more they need of pharmacy, psychiatry, statistics, and so forth to get the most out of what Robert E. Hampson and others have published in scientific journals?

          Well, the hard core ‘pot is harmless’ and ‘pot must be legalized’ types may be a good enough proxy for pot smokers. At the very least, they may be intellectually influenced enough by pot smokers that their arguments may show traces of pot’s characteristic impairments if pot has such.

          Which is to ask the undecided to think about whether Henry Hawkins made an excessively risky argument in trying to bring in scientific standards of evidence. Did he need it to make his point effectively? Did it open him to stronger counter arguments than he might have otherwise faced? Was it a good choice to make his arguments so close to the ‘pot fixes cancer’ guy in one of the other recent Ferguson threads?

          How about that guy? How about the claim that pot successfully treats and cures all forms of cancer? Does this convince the undecided to legalize pot, or is it more likely to convince one that legalizing pot is without basis?

          There is no such thing as a harmless panacea. All medicines are poisons. The way a chemical can help at one dose will cause harm in exactly the same way at a higher dose.

          Evidence that a chemical is effective as a psychiatric drug is evidence that the chemical is too dangerous for recreational use.

          Arguments like ‘pot cures cancer’ have in the past caused me to wonder why pot smokers should be considered mentally competent adults, fit to make decisions about how they live their own lives.

          The choice to use such arguments may indicate impaired risk assessment. Or perhaps there is a more significant cognitive impair, as yet too subtle to have been conclusively demonstrated by science.

Some of those Collectivists will not be happy until Wilson has to fight for his life again.

One of several things that strikes me from Wilson’s account, which is supported by the physical evidence, is how many times Wilson gave Brown a chance NOT to die that day.

Every time he stopped firing, every step he back-peddled, every order he gave for him to get down was pure mercy, IMNHO.

I don’t think I would have stopped firing after I started, and I’d at least have been rooted. Maybe even advancing as I was firing.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | November 25, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    The truly sad part about it is if Brown had just kept walking the worst he probably wouldn’t have gotten more than a face full of pepper spray when the other cops arrived. Its obvious from his testimony that Wilson was not eager to start a confrontation with someone of Brown’s size.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 25, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      At the risk of sounding heartless, I’d say Brown is where he needs to be. This was his destiny. His size was very intimidating, as it is with all big guys. It is in their interest to be nice rather than thuggish because people will be afraid to take them on physically. People are more likely to shoot them than to fight them. Brown was too dumb or perhaps too inexperienced to understand this. Whoever was responsible for him as a minor should have taught him this when he started getting big.

      Living in the moment and not considering the repercussions of and the reactions of others to your deeds can get you dead.

The Sig is a not a striker fire. I can’t say for sure about the P229 (my wife’s main pistol is a Sig P226 in 9mm). Hers is a SA/DA. And yes, she trains in both SA and DA.

    I believe Sig now makes a striker fired gun, but I can with ABSOLUTELY certainty assure you that the SIg 229 is a traditional hammer-fired gun.

    I lugged one around on my right hip for several years, shot LOTS of matches with it. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      did they light or were they too wet from your…pocket sweat?
      most of us shoot at targets not matches.
      sheesh you lawyers 🙂 🙂
      HA could not resist 🙂
      probably should of huh?

        Haha, I was TRYING to burn down ALL the matches I shot in.

        Alas, in the days I owned the Sig 229 I hadn’t yet learned how to actually shoot a pistol effectively (although I THOUGHT I knew how).

        That’s no reflection on the pistol, which was awesome. I just was not yet competent.

        But with diligence, determination, and ridiculously vast amounts of ammo, I got better.

        Actually, I got better almost entirely for ONE reason–after studying under world-renowned instructors for decades, I finally met one who could actually teach. George Harris, then (and for many years) head firearms instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, now private.

        Would never have made Master without him. No joke. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    DARN the lack of an edit function. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    SRaher in reply to jnials. | November 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    This is why I need more diversity^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H variety in my collection. I own three Glocks, and love them all, but I should get familiar with other designs. My next will probably be a 1911.

      I’ve carried a 1911 for ~25 years. I’m a fan.

      But a 1911 is NOT like a Glock. They are NOT cookie cutter guns. There is ENORMOUS variation in quality and reliability.

      A “standard” build 1911 is affordable, but rarely sufficiently reliable for social purposes.

      A “combat reliable” 1911 is VERY reliable, but maybe not so much affordable.

      My 1911 has been flawless (with one exception) in 25 years and over 100,000 rounds (it’s also my competition gun). I have 100% confidence in that weapon (as much as you can have in ANY mechanical device, at least).

      But it’s a Wilson Combat 1911, and it cost a pretty penny, indeed. Wilson knows how to put together a 1911. So do many others, but they all also charge premium prices.

      Were I contemplating a personal defensive pistol today, I would almost certainly choose a Glock 19, belt-sand down the hump in the back, put some decent sights on it, and call it a day. A small fraction of the cost of a “combat reliable” 1911.

      As an aside, I’m sure other guns would also be excellent choices, perhaps an M&P or a Sigma or whatever, I just don’t have any personal experience with those, as I do with the 1911 and Glock platforms.

      Anyway. Just one guy’s two cents. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        the springfield arms 1911A1 I literally depended on was the most comfortable one I have ever handled.
        way my hand is shaped and with certain physical issues it was just right.
        we didn’t get to fire a lot overseas so no practice before qualifying (nice…no practice but if you fail you out of a job) and lot of guys had troubles due to that. weapon was so comfortable to me I had to miss on purpose to avoid qualifying expert. we had one of those provost marshalls who would crucify you if you fired expert yet in situation made error.
        so we had to play friggin games.
        was glad I was due to qualify just weeks before I left for good and got to actually pin expert badge on.
        that weapon just fit me.
        played around with bunch of barettas, h$k,glock, they just didn’t feel right. sure I could hit good but the feeling wasn’t there and I’ve always thought that if it didn’t feel right it wasn’t. not much time with any sigs though and I have wanted to get back into it and try some of them.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to SRaher. | November 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I have a 1975 Colt Commander 1911 I wouldn’t trade for Obama’s impeachment.

        You’re very fortunate. The smaller models of 1911 are MUCH more prone to malfunction than the 5: guns, MUCH harder to get to run reliably. If you’ve got a good one, you are a blessed man, indeed. 🙂

        I just caution anybody looking at buying a sub-$1,000, heck a sub-$2,000 1911 today for serious social purposes. Especially with so many less costly, equally useful handguns available on the market.

        Sure, it MIGHT be reliable. But there’s an enormous variability in 1911s that’s not found in, say, a Glock, or a Sig, or lots of other guns of modern manufacture.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to SRaher. | November 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Same here, I want a 1911. I have been looking at the new ATI 1911, its a reasonable price and looks very nice.

      Sanddog in reply to SRaher. | November 26, 2014 at 1:06 am

      I have a ’77 Colt Commander and a Kimber Pro Aegis II which is remarkably reliable for a 9mm 1911. I love them both but my go-to gun is a Glock 31. I was a latecomer to Glock but now I have 4 of them and they’re about as reliable and idiot proof as you can get in a firearm.

In order to better understand the workings of a Grand Jury, does their decision require a simple majority vote? A super majority? A unanimous vote?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to jpintx. | November 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    In most cases it takes 9 of 12 jurors to agree one way or the other. If it is 5 for, 5 against, and 2 undecided then that means no charges.

Hi Andrew,

Great write up and analysis, I really appreciate it.

Hey, did the evidence on the scene include the box of cigarillos DW say MB carrying?

Thanks much.