Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Missouri Governor: "We Don't Need No Stinking Evidence"

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already decided that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is guilty of murder in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The governor put out a five and a half minute video yesterday evening in which he pointed out his three-part plan for the town of Ferguson. Included in that plan was: "Second, a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued."

"The democratically elected St. Louis County prosecutor and the Attorney General of the United States, each have a job to do. Their obligation to achieve justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly, and correctly; and I call upon them to meet those expectations."

Finally, once we have achieved peace in Ferguson and justice for the family of Michael Brown..."

Governor Nixon's office was called by several news agencies to see if what he said was what he meant. After all, the governor didn't say "vigorous investigation" - he said "vigorous prosecution." His office said they had nothing to change. Despite the as yet incomplete investigation and evidence to the contrary, the governor has decided that Michael Brown's death was a criminal act for which Officer Wilson must be prosecuted.

It seems the governor, who is an attorney and once held the position of Attorney General for the State of Missouri, has forgotten one of our most important rules of law - that a person is innocent until proven guilty and that the prosecution needs solid evidence of guilt before taking the case to court.

I'm really having trouble understanding these politicians who are already calling Officer Wilson a criminal and demanding his prosecution. Most of them are attorneys and know how the system works. Yet they're willing to toss the process aside for a quick conviction, regardless of the evidence.

Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) — all members of both the CBC and the House Judiciary Committee — said Thursday that Congress has a responsibility to look into the shooting of Michael Brown. Really? How many other local incidents does Congress routinely investigate? Particularly before the case itself has even been fully investigate by local authorities?

"These incidents raise concerns that local law enforcement is out of control and, instead of protecting the safety and civil liberties of the residents of Ferguson, is employing tactics that violate the rights of citizens and hinder the ability of the press to report on their actions," the Democrats wrote. "This situation requires immediate congressional scrutiny."

CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) joined Conyers and others in calling on Eric Holder to expand the DOJ's investigation to include Brown's death along with "the potential for any pattern or practice of police misconduct by the Ferguson Police Department."

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who never shies away from saying something ridiculous, summed it up this way:

“All of us are strong supporters of law and order and most of us, such as myself, have strong working relationships with local and federal police agencies. I know good police persons who are professional and follow the law,” she said. “In the instance of Michael Brown and other cases, a failing to follow the law is obvious."

“Michael Brown was shot down in the street.”

"A failing to follow the law is obvious." And you arrived at that conclusion how, exactly, Ms. Lee? Because a black man is dead? Is that your only evidence? Do you know exactly what happened? Exactly?

The bottom line is that politicians who make public statements about the case do nothing but taint a jury pool, making it more difficult for Officer Wilson to get a fair trial - if the case ever goes to trial. Pressing the prosecutor to charge and try Wilson before the investigation is completed is just wrong. 

I believed that Eric Holder invited himself into this investigation but I learned last night that Governor Nixon asked Holder to look into it. Given what the governor said yesterday that makes complete sense. The governor is committed to convicting Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown - any way he can. Who better to call in than the Attorney General who admits to being a race activist and who will advertise nation wide to get information that can be used against one of his targets. (George Zimmerman ring a bell?)

In other Ferguson, Missouri, news - the Brown family attorneys are busy making names for themselves in Ferguson and further tainting the jury pool. Benjamin Crump keeps repeating over and over on national television that Michael Brown was executed. Crump knows this is inflammatory rhetoric that will be remembered by potential jurors yet he continues to say it.

Their other attorney, Daryl Parks, said last night in an interview that the autopsy performed by renowned medical examiner Michael Baden proves that Brown was surrendering when he was shot. Baden himself says that while it is possible that's the case, it is also possible that Brown was charging the officer when he was shot. The results, Baden said, are inconclusive. 

Parks has said more than once that the bullets that hit Brown in the head traveled from back to front. There is absolutely no indication on the autopsy photos that indicate that to be true. In fact, there are no marks whatsoever noted on the back of the body or the back of the head. But Parks insists Brown was shot from the back. It seems odd to me that you'd pay a private medical examiner to perform an autopsy then go on national TV and dispute his findings. Maybe there are other reasons, besides a lack of evidence, that these guys lost the Trayvon Martin case....?

The bottom line is that Darren Wilson has a lot of political enemies. From Eric Holder to the Congressional Black Caucus to Governor Nixon, Wilson's guilt has already been decided and those in power are simply attempting to manufacture find the evidence to prove it. 

One Missouri state senator, whose name I cannot find right now, said basically that if Darren Wilson is not convicted of murdering Michael Brown the current rioting in Ferguson will look tame compared to what will happen. It seems rather than ask for calm, that senator is simply stoking the fire. Politicians need to stay out of it. There are enough problems without them making the situation worse.

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