A sealant is needed on the grand jury proceedings in Ferguson, Mo., but it probably won’t stop the leaks that were disclosed last week. There are reports that officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown Aug. 9, told the grand jury in September that he was in fear of his life when a scuffle occurred.
Wilson cited Brown as the aggressor, attacking him while he was still in the police car, where two bullets were discharged. Forensic reports confirm that two shots were fired in the vehicle, one of them wounding Brown, but what about the succeeding ones?
Several eyewitnesses of the incident—and it’s not clear at this point if they have appeared before the grand jury—have told differing accounts of what happened, but that Wilson has presented his—particularly his assertion that he “feared for his life”—may prove decisive in the case.
“Feared for his life?” said the Rev. Al Sharpton at last Saturday’s rally at the National Action Network. “The only one with a gun was him. We’ve heard this before, and what would make you think that a man who had been shot would run back at the man with a gun? That makes no sense at all.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing the Brown family, also took exception to the officer’s account, stating that Wilson “was definitely not in fear of threat when Michael Brown was running away from him. The officer is going to say whatever he has to say to justify killing an unarmed teenager,” Crump told the Associated Press. “And certainly, his statement should not be taken above independent eyewitnesses who are completely unbiased when he has every reason to be biased.”
Sharpton said that Wilson was “attempting to set a climate for not having a jury, but this is not going to work. We will be back in Ferguson on Oct. 31 for four days of protesting, and it may be necessary to bring the feds in.”
The federal government may have to take over the Eric Garner case too, Sharpton said at the rally about the man who was killed in a chokehold on Staten Island by an officer in July. In attendance were Garner’s widow, Esaw, and his mother, Gwen Carr.
After saying that he hopes that the decisions from Ferguson and Staten Island would be similar to the recent life-without-parole sentence given to Michael Dunn, the man who shot and killed Jordan Davis over loud music, Sharpton offered a few comments about the embattled Rachel Noerdlinger, chief of staff for New York City first lady Chirlane McCray.
The withering attacks on Noerdlinger, he said, were just another way the media is attempting to distract the movement. “Rather than dealing with some real issues about a young man being shot and killed and another killed by a chokehold, the media seems to be only concerned about Rachel,” he said. “Then they say I’m responsible for putting her in the mayor’s administration. If I was going to put her somewhere, I’d put her in the White House.”
His final remarks were in support of President Barack Obama, particularly on the Ebola outbreak. “They want to blame this on him, but what about a Congress that won’t confirm a surgeon general?” he snapped before delivering his sermon.