Mistakes are not mistakes when they serve an intended purpose.
Ferguson, MO– Lawrence O’Donnell has exposed prosecutors in the case of Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown – proving the demonstrators fears of misconduct to be absolutely correct.
On September 16, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kathy Alizadeh handed the grand jury a copy of Missouri statute 563.046- the state’s use of force doctrine.
This 1979 doctorine was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court based entirely on the portion of the statute that was helpful to Officer Darren Wilson, the part that states police officers are permitted to shoot any suspect that’s simply fleeing.
In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Tennessee v. Garner, a 15 year old boy who was shot in the back of the head by a police officer as he attempted to flee after a robbery. The ruling meant that cops could no longer legally kill someone only for attempting to escape, the officer must now have a reasonable belief that the suspect poses a dangerous threat to someone or had committed a violent felony.
Keep in mind that Darren Wilson had no idea that Brown had previously got into the infamous altercation which was so conveniently sent to the media with plenty of false rumors and speculation surrounding it.
The grand jury listened to Darren Wilson’s testimony having been told by the prosecutors office, the people who were supposed to actually attempt to prosecute this man, that Darren Wilson did absolutely nothing wrong as long as at some point Mike Brown attempted to flee, based on a law that has not been legal in nearly 30 years- since before Darren Wilson was even born!
For three long and important weeks Alizadeh let this law simmer in the minds of the jurors.
On November 21, only three days before the Grand Jury would make their decision, Alizadeh attempted to protect herself by some-what coming clean, only in a way seemingly devised to confuse the jurors. This woman deserves a portion of the defense money for doing their job so well.
Here is how that happened.
Grand Jury November 21, 2014
“Previously in the very beginning of this process I printed out a statute for you that was, the statute in Missouri for the use of force to affect an arrest. So if you all want to get those out. What we have discovered and we have been going along with this, doing our research, is that the statute in the state of Missouri does not comply with the case law. This doesn’t sound probably unfamiliar with you that the law is codified in the written form in the books and they’re called statutes, but courts interpret those statutes.
And so the statute for the use of force to affect an arrest in the state of Missouri does not comply with Missouri supreme, I’m sorry, United States supreme court cases.
So the statue I gave you, if you want to fold that in half just so that you know don’t necessarily rely on that because there is a portion of that that doesn’t comply with the law.”
At this point Alizadeh handed the jurors a new explanation of the laws on deadly force.
“That does correctly state what the law is on when an officer can use force and when he can use Deadly Force in affecting an arrest, okay. I don’t want you to get confused and don’t rely on that copy or that print-out of the statute that I’ve given you a long time ago.
It is not entirely incorrect or inaccurate, but there is something in it that’s not correct, ignore it totally” Alizadeh stated.
Confused, presumably by the lack of explanation, one juror asked if Federal court overrides Missouri statutes. Her reply? “As far as you need to know, just don’t worry about that.”
A second ADA in the room then chimed in to state “We don’t want to get into a law class.”
It doesn’t take a ‘law class’ to explain to a Grand Juror that Yes, the United States Supreme Court does indeed override Missouri statutes. It takes one word – Yes.
But that is not the worst, most unprofessional aspect of ADA Kathy Alizadeh’s presentation to the Grand Jury about this law. The very worst part of it is that she never, ever explained to the Grand Jury what was incorrect about the unconstitutional statute that she had given them and left with them as one of their official papers for weeks and weeks and weeks.
You will not find another legal proceeding in which jurors and Grand jurors are simply handed a law, and then weeks later handed a correction to that law; and then the Grand jurors are simply left to figure out the difference in the laws.. by themselves. That is actually something you would do in a law class – figure it out by yourself.
With prosecutors like this, Darren Wilson never really needed a defense lawyer.” O’Donnell eloquently states.
Community clergy members and activists have been marching to his office demanding his recusal since the beginning, even before McCulloch’s bizarre press conference for the announcement which could have just as easily have come from the defense.
A state senator wrote him a letter asking him to step aside, and even Governor Jay Nixon, hinted that Mr. McCulloch should recuse himself, the New York Times previously reported.
The MoveOn petition for his removal states:
McCulloch’s decision not to charge officers who murdered two unarmed African-American men in 2000 by shooting into their car 20 times, especially in the face of the U.S. Attorney’s independent investigation finding that those officers lied about their actions, gives us no confidence that his office can provide a fair and impartial investigation into this current matter.
That failure, coupled with McCulloch’s recent participation in one of the most racially polarizing elections in the history of St. Louis County, means that his office’s continued oversight of this tragedy will only sow further distrust and discord in our community.
For the good of the entire St. Louis region and the nation as a whole, we call on Robert P. McCulloch to recuse himself and his office from this matter and to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the murder of Michael Brown.
Was there ever any case against Darren Wilson, or was this really a case against Mike Brown?
h/t Daily Kos for the transcript