Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson grand jury's extraordinary efforts to establish truth - but does it matter?

NY Times  Officer Wilson’s version of events was just one part of a vast catalog of testimony and other evidence that the grand jurors absorbed during the three months that they heard the case. Yet it appeared to have helped convince the jurors, a group of nine whites and three African-Americans, that the officer had committed no crime when he killed Mr. Brown. On Monday, the announcement that there was no indictment set off violent protests, burning and looting throughout the beleaguered St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Most grand jury proceedings are swift and simple: a few witnesses are called, the prosecutor makes the case for an indictment and the jurors vote.

But the grand jury in the Wilson case met for an extraordinarily long session, hearing what the prosecutor said was “absolutely everything” that could be considered testimony or evidence in the case. While what happens in the grand jury room is almost always kept secret, Mr. McCulloch insisted on making the transcripts of the proceedings available to the public immediately after the session concluded. Unlike most defendants, Officer Wilson testified before the grand jury.

The grand jurors in the Wilson case met in a St. Louis County courthouse on 25 separate days. They heard 70 hours of testimony from roughly 60 witnesses. And they confronted a jumble of forensics reports, police radio logs, medical documents and tapes of F. B. I interviews with bystanders. [...]


  1. Rioter: Did you hear? A fair and just hearing was conducted. Totally transparent. It's all here on the Internet. The police officer was exonerated. Now, what did I do with the matches and gasoline?

    Looter: Restores my faith in the criminal justice system. Score one for the excellent training provided police officers. Now, what did I do with my shopping list?

  2. Unfortunately, it is not so simple. There are past problems with the police and minorities, not just blacks. I respect the parents of the slain child for doing what they could to calm things down. The main testimony to save the officer was from an african-american. If we have large numbers of youth with no family life, with no jobs, with no training, with nothing but anger and frustration, we have to expect these things. Now, whose fault it is won't solve anything. But we have to be precise.

  3. Ok, I accept that. People filled with pent up rage cannot be expected to have their intellect rule over them. They may riot and look. I guess what I would like is that the police would not get involved when those people whose property is being destroyed and looted attempt to discourage the rioters and looters by shooting them.

  4. He was not a "child." He was a grown man, and a violent one. And the violence and looting going on now has zero to do with him. He's just the excuse.


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