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Old 08-15-2014, 05:12 PM   #351
chadritt
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Isnt his job to be able to stop an unarmed man without killing him? I mean...maybe call for backup or something before you have to shoot a guy
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:13 PM   #352
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Isnt his job to be able to stop an unarmed man without killing him? I mean...maybe call for backup or something before you have to shoot a guy

Hard to do that if he's going for your gun / has otherwise assaulted you (which appears to be where this is heading). "Time out" usually isn't honored by criminals.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:20 PM   #353
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So all reports of him being unarmed and OUT OF THE CAR when killed are wrong? I mean...that would surely change things.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:24 PM   #354
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Like state of mind, motive, absence of mistake, plan, etc.

This is what I was wondering about and it makes sense to me that it should be part of the trial.

DT, lots of wrong with that post, but I get it, it's an emotionally charged story. I would like to clarify that I am not blaming Mike Brown's death because he's black, which would suggest I am racist or prejudice. I'm not blaming him for doing anything that warranted him being shot to death. But like everybody else, I want to know what the truth is. And I don't want false descriptions of events. I've got an idea what shoplifting looks like, I've got an idea what robbery looks like, and this is a tweener, but I'm guessing that he did enough for it to be called a robbery. Walking into a store, reaching across the counter and taking $50 from the register is a robbery. Reaching across the counter and taking $50 worth of cigars is shoplifting? I just can't buy that logic.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:27 PM   #355
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So all reports of him being unarmed and OUT OF THE CAR when killed are wrong? I mean...that would surely change things.

Honestly, I never thought there was much credibility to that* in the first place.

What appears most likely to me (based on the various tidbits, I haven't read much since this morning so maybe something has changed that I'm not aware of yet)

Cop says "get back on the sidewalk" ... random thing, as he's unaware that these are his robbery suspect

Something is said/done that draws him back to the suspects

At that point Brown thinks he's about to get nabbed on the robbery and either lunges at the cop (from outside the car) or door stuffs him planning to make a break for it.

Somewhere in that process suspect 1 (eventual dead guy) and the cop are, let's call it "entangled", suspect ends up (whether by design or happenstance) with his hands on cops weapon, perceived (rightly or wrongly) as an attempt to disarm the officer.

Officer responds by ensuring that doesn't happen, likely with a short distance briefly established between himself and the suspect.

And if he perceived that as the situation then the shooting is justifiable (pending specifics of the policy manual that I haven't seen)

*edit to add: he may have been "outside the car and unarmed" but that does not equate to "was innocently minding his own business & doing nothing to precipitate the shooting"
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:36 PM   #356
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Honestly, I never thought there was much credibility to that* in the first place.

What appears most likely to me (based on the various tidbits, I haven't read much since this morning so maybe something has changed that I'm not aware of yet)

Cop says "get back on the sidewalk" ... random thing, as he's unaware that these are his robbery suspect

Something is said/done that draws him back to the suspects

At that point Brown thinks he's about to get nabbed on the robbery and either lunges at the cop (from outside the car) or door stuffs him planning to make a break for it.

Somewhere in that process suspect 1 (eventual dead guy) and the cop are, let's call it "entangled", suspect ends up (whether by design or happenstance) with his hands on cops weapon, perceived (rightly or wrongly) as an attempt to disarm the officer.

Officer responds by ensuring that doesn't happen, likely with a short distance briefly established between himself and the suspect.

And if he perceived that as the situation then the shooting is justifiable (pending specifics of the policy manual that I haven't seen)

*edit to add: he may have been "outside the car and unarmed" but that does not equate to "was innocently minding his own business & doing nothing to precipitate the shooting"

The only problem with this is there is apparently a video showing that Mike Brown was far away from cop with his hands in the air being shot to death. (Haven't seen that video though).

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:39 PM   #357
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The only problem with this is there is apparently a video showing that Mike Brown was far away from cop with his hands in the air being shot to death. (Haven't seen that video though).

Haven't seen that one either (since mid-morning I haven't touched much aside from work & a midday Walmart run for cat food)
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:40 PM   #358
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This is what I was wondering about and it makes sense to me that it should be part of the trial.

DT, lots of wrong with that post, but I get it, it's an emotionally charged story. I would like to clarify that I am not blaming Mike Brown's death because he's black, which would suggest I am racist or prejudice. I'm not blaming him for doing anything that warranted him being shot to death. But like everybody else, I want to know what the truth is. And I don't want false descriptions of events. I've got an idea what shoplifting looks like, I've got an idea what robbery looks like, and this is a tweener, but I'm guessing that he did enough for it to be called a robbery. Walking into a store, reaching across the counter and taking $50 from the register is a robbery. Reaching across the counter and taking $50 worth of cigars is shoplifting? I just can't buy that logic.

I understand what you're saying. I think part of my frustration in this thread and these topics generally is how I'm just so wired to try to avoid implications that aren't necessarily true based on the facts we know. When it was reported that Brown committed the robbery, the media immediately assumed that the officer stopped Brown as a suspect in that robbery. But as I pointed out in post earlier, part B is not at all a necessary implication of part A. This kind of stuff, the implications that accuse people of racism (and by extension, of all law enforcement as being racist, which I know is what people think), I get the same frustration over the lack of logic, but there's then an emotional component too.

Just because Brown committed robbery, and was then killed, it doesn't necessarily mean that the officer specifically "executed" him because he committed the robbery. It could be better or even worse than that. Maybe he killed him because he said something about the officer's mother. Maybe it was lawful force. Maybe it was non-criminal but poor judgment. ...And just because an officer indicated on a report that Brown was a robbery suspect, and that action doesn't "seem like" a robbery to someone, it doesn't necessarily make that officer a racist (I know that was DT making that implication and not you). Someone can always get a break when they're actually charged. But on an initial report, about a crime suspect, a police officer should report the crime that he thinks was actually committed, not the one he thinks "feels" the best.

And I'm sure when people read that they just think I defend the officers no matter what. This is the same tension that came up in the Zimmerman thread. But when you're prosecuting a guy like this officer, or Zimmerman, you have to be aware of these issues, both the ones that make a case stronger and especially the ones that make the case weaker. You have to be able to see what the facts actually infer, and how likely those inferences are sound, and not just what your emotion and bias tell you they must mean.

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:40 PM   #359
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The only problem with this is there is apparently a video showing that Mike Brown was far away from cop with his hands in the air being shot to death. (Haven't seen that video though).

This is what I'm getting at. If this is true, then they could release videos of Brown robbing every store in Missouri and it has zero relevance to the case.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:42 PM   #360
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Isnt his job to be able to stop an unarmed man without killing him? I mean...maybe call for backup or something before you have to shoot a guy

This.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:46 PM   #361
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I understand what you're saying. I think part of my frustration in this thread and these topics generally is how I'm just so wired to try to avoid implications that aren't necessarily true based on the facts we know. When it was reported that Brown committed the robbery, the media immediately assumed that the officer stopped Brown as a suspect in that robbery. But as I pointed out in post earlier, part B is not at all a necessary implication of part A. This kind of stuff, the implications that accuse people of racism (and by extension, of all law enforcement as being racist, which I know is what people think), I get the same frustration over the lack of logic, but there's then an emotional component too.

Just because Brown committed robbery, and was then killed, it doesn't necessarily mean that the officer specifically "executed" him because he committed the robbery. It could be better or even worse than that. Maybe he killed him because he said something about the officer's mother. Maybe it was lawful force. Maybe it was non-criminal but poor judgment. ...And just because an officer indicated on a report that Brown was a robbery suspect, and that action doesn't "seem like" a robbery to someone, it doesn't necessarily make that officer a racist (I know that was DT making that implication and not you). Someone can always get a break when they're actually charged. But on an initial report, about a suspect in a crime, a police officer should report the crime that he thinks was actually committed, not the one he thinks "feels" the best.

And I'm sure when people read that they just think I defend the officers no matter what. This is the same tension that came up in the Zimmerman thread. But when you're prosecuting a guy like this officer, or Zimmerman, you have to be aware of these issues, both the ones that make a case stronger and especially the ones that make the case weaker. You have to be able to see what the facts actually infer, and how likely those inferences are sound, and not just what your emotion and bias tell you they must mean.

I'm not sure that was the implication in my post...it was more that the crime was categorized as a "robbery" because he was black rather than "shoplifting" if he was white. But that was before I saw the video - I'm not up on all those specifics - if it was him reaching across the counter to steal the cigars then I can certainly see that as more of a "robbery" regardless of whether he was black or white. I was under the impression that it was literally him grabbing some stuff off the counter and walking away with it.

Regardless - I don't think a white suspect of this type of "robbery" gets pursued with nearly as much vigor by the cops, nor shot in such a situation. So maybe that's my assumption of where race played into it, in which case I'm fine with that.

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:46 PM   #362
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The only problem with this is there is apparently a video showing that Mike Brown was far away from cop with his hands in the air being shot to death. (Haven't seen that video though).

Even then, it just turns into another George Zimmerman case where the person who shot and killed an unarmed human being only has to prove that he was scared enough to use lethal force. Like molson alluded to, the deceased victim is held to a higher standard of proof.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:48 PM   #363
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If an unarmed man with his hands in the air scares him so much that he shoots instead of calling for backup or even looking for a tazer then Im scared hes a cop. If he was being charged that argument would make some sense
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:48 PM   #364
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This is what I'm getting at. If this is true, then they could release videos of Brown robbing every store in Missouri and it has zero relevance to the case.

But it is relevant if it provides the motivation for Brown's actions.

Remember, one of the few things that seems to be clearly stated by police is this

Quote:
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

"I'm going down for that robbery" provides motive for those actions.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:48 PM   #365
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dola - hell, im scared he has a gun at that point.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:49 PM   #366
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If an unarmed man with his hands in the air scares him so much that he shoots instead of calling for backup or even looking for a tazer then Im scared hes a cop. If he was being charged that argument would make some sense

This.

When a cop's first (edit: first/second/third) instinct in such a situation is to turn to lethal force then that person likely shouldn't be a cop.

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:51 PM   #367
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Question (again, I've been away from this story for most of the day)

Do we have any proof, even any credible witnesses, about the "hands in the air" claim?

Note: No, I am not accepting his accomplice in the robbery as "a credible witness" (last I saw at least suspect #2 in the robbery was the person with Brown on the sidewalk, if that's no longer the case then I'm fine with being corrected on that point)
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:57 PM   #368
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I'm not sure that was the implication in my post...it was more that the crime was categorized as a "robbery" because he was black rather than "shoplifting" if he was white. But that was before I saw the video - I'm not up on all those specifics - if it was him reaching across the counter to steal the cigars then I can certainly see that as more of a "robbery" regardless of whether he was black or white. I was under the impression that it was literally him grabbing some stuff off the counter and walking away with it.

Regardless - I don't think a white suspect of this type of "robbery" gets pursued with nearly as much vigor by the cops, nor shot in such a situation. So maybe that's my assumption of where race played into it, in which case I'm fine with that.

If he just reached across the counter to steal cigars it would only be misdemeanor theft. Again, crimes are determined by the legislature, not what feels right, or what anyone's personal morals or expectations feel that an act should be. That's pretty important to due process.

And he wasn't even charged with anything yet. He was identified as a robbery suspect. Because there was a video of him committing robbery.

We have no idea what kind of "vigor" the cops pursued him with. This officer that shot him did not stop him because of the robbery.

But again, despite these known facts and your inferences not making sense, you're assuming that because law enforcement is involved, there must be racism. Do you make the same assumption about me? Or the cops you buy coffee for?

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:58 PM   #369
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Question (again, I've been away from this story for most of the day)

Do we have any proof, even any credible witnesses, about the "hands in the air" claim?

Note: No, I am not accepting his accomplice in the robbery as "a credible witness" (last I saw at least suspect #2 in the robbery was the person with Brown on the sidewalk, if that's no longer the case then I'm fine with being corrected on that point)

If there was proof, it would already be out there by now. Not saying he's guilty because it's not out there yet, but I don't think the full story has even remotely been told yet.

And yes, that video can be presented as motive in Missouri and likely will be. And with the reports being that he shoved the officer into the back seat of his car, he demonstrated quite well in the video how he similarly shoved a figure of authority in the shop when challenged.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:01 PM   #370
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This is what I'm getting at. If this is true, then they could release videos of Brown robbing every store in Missouri and it has zero relevance to the case.

It might still be relevant/admissible if it were being offered for a permissible purpose relating to the initial confrontation at the car. But yes, it certainly wouldn't be as helpful for the defense if there was solid evidence that there was a significant time, distance, and circumstance separation between whatever happened at the car and whatever happened further away. In fact, it'd be a shitty defense. Which is maybe all you're saying. But defendants are still allowed to put on shitty defenses if the evidence is admissible.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:06 PM   #371
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Motive of Brown is not relevant here. He is not on trial. (He's dead.) So the only trials it could possibly come up in are that of the officer or the accomplice to the robbery (if he's arrested)?

Per today's news, the officer did not know that Brown had been involved or suspected in a robbery. He stopped, approached, spoke to, whatever Brown for another reason. What ends up mattering in any potential trial of the cop is whether his perception of Brown's force or threat was reasonable.

The release of the convenience store footage is a red herring and either sloppy work by the police department or, worse, a deliberate attempt to attack the character of Brown.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:14 PM   #372
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Motive of Brown is not relevant here. He is not on trial. (He's dead.) So the only trials it could possibly come up in are that of the officer or the accomplice to the robbery (if he's arrested)?

Per today's news, the officer did not know that Brown had been involved or suspected in a robbery. He stopped, approached, spoke to, whatever Brown for another reason. What ends up mattering in any potential trial of the cop is whether his perception of Brown's force or threat was reasonable.

The release of the convenience store footage is a red herring and either sloppy work by the police department or, worse, a deliberate attempt to attack the character of Brown.

If you're representing a murder defendant, and your best defense is that the murder victim attacked your client first, and that things spiraled out of control from there - aren't you trying to get in evidence of the motive for that attack? I think it'd be ineffective assistance not to, and I can't see any way a judge doesn't allow that under Missouri's version of F.R.E. 404(b). Even if you're just trying to show that something is manslaughter or 2nd-degre murder instead of 1st-degree murder. There's no way potential evidence of the origin of the confrontation doesn't get in, unless it's really clear that the confrontation started for some completely different reason from both perspectives.

There's SOME point where the evidence has a 403 problem, in that it's substantially more prejudicial than probative, like if the shooting happened the next day or something. But when it's defense evidence, you have to lean towards letting it in. Excluding defense evidence unless it's obviously inadmissible just guarantees another thing that's fought over on appeal.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:18 PM   #373
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Not a lawyer so asking a layman question: Why would the motive for brown attacking the officer matter? Isnt the fact he attacked him all that would matter since the officer had no knowledge of the reason when the rest went down?
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:18 PM   #374
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If he just reached across the counter to steal cigars it would only be misdemeanor theft. Again, crimes are determined by the legislature, not what feels right, or what anyone's personal morals or expectations feel that an act should be. That's pretty important to due process.

And he wasn't even charged with anything yet. He was identified as a robbery suspect. Because there was a video of him committing robbery.

We have no idea what kind of "vigor" the cops pursued him with. This officer that shot him did not stop him because of the robbery.

But again, despite these known facts and your inferences not making sense, you're assuming that because law enforcement is involved, there must be racism. Do you make the same assumption about me? Or the cops you buy coffee for?

I'm going to separate my response and put the non-essential stuff in italics so that hopefully it can be put to bed.

I understand that the legislature determines what is what type of crime. I'm not an idiot, and that really doesn't even matter in this situation. Me saying that this is a pretty weak "robbery" doesn't really have anything to do with whether he gets shot or not - it's more a commentary on how the law is a bit crazy, but was also before I saw the video fully and heard about him reaching over the counter for the cigars (which I have said sounds more like a "robbery" as I would think of it). I get that you have your legal hat on, but take it off for a second hmm?

I also understand he was just a suspect, and furthermore that the stop wasn't even connected to him being a robbery suspect it sounds like.



I'm not assuming there must be racism because there's law enforcement involved - I'm assuming it because of the details that have come to light so far of the shooting (to whit - unarmed, at a distance, perhaps with hands in the air). Whether or not there was a prior scuffle with the officer or not, the fact that the officer's ultimate response was to draw their weapon and shoot an unarmed person, rather than going for a taser/calling for backup/whatever just speaks to really poor judgement on the part of the officer.

If it was over an unarmed robbery that would be a poor judgement as far as the level of force in the response. The fact that it was apparently over the guy walking in the street and blocking traffic or something, or giving lip to the officer, that's even worse judgement.

Now do I think that the judgement may have been colored by race (ie that a white person in a similar situation would not have been treated so aggressively by the cops), yes. But that's only natural as this police force has shown some shockingly poor judgement, and apparently has a history of shady behavior (this whole thing that's come out about them arresting the wrong guy on a warrant mistake, beating him, and then charging him with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms as they beat him, and then perjuring themselves over it).

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:25 PM   #375
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Not a lawyer so asking a layman question: Why would the motive for brown attacking the officer matter? Isnt the fact he attacked him all that would matter since the officer had no knowledge of the reason when the rest went down?

I think it'd be the key component of any defense theory. I have to take a step back though - just because Brown committed the robbery, that doesn't mean that this confrontation started because he committed that robbery and thought he was about to be arrested. Maybe the officer started the whole thing and the robbery truly had nothing to do with anything.

But, based on what we know how, the best defense theory would start with Brown attacking the officer. And he did have some theoretical motive to do so. Maybe there's one struggle over the gun in the car, a shot fired, and then Brown starts to flee, but because he's injured, the officer catches up with him, where there's another struggle, and a second shot. That could be a defense theory consistent with the evidence (of course we don't know all the evidence).

I guess my point would be, think of this police officer as a criminal defendant. If you're a criminal defendant, you get to put on a defense, with admissible evidence. A lot of times, defenses are just theoretical possibilities that are arguably consistent with the evidence. That's OK. It's the state's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that things happened the way they allege they did. The defense doesn't have to prove that their version is the correct one. I think that burden gets a little blurred and forgotten when the defendant is part of the "state'.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:29 PM   #376
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There's no way potential evidence of the origin of the confrontation doesn't get in, unless it's really clear that the confrontation started for some completely different reason from both perspectives.

There's really clear evidence that the confrontation started for a different reason. The police today said the officer had no knowledge of the robbery and stopped them for some other reason. And of course, the defense may try to get it in. Maybe they should try to get it in. Granted I've only done two criminal trials in my life time and those were both about 13 years ago, but I don't see this one as a very close call.

The pretty simple comparison here, while not perfect, is to the rape defendant who wants to put on evidence that the victim slept with a guy down the street the day before. Most courts aren't going to come close to allowing that to be admitted.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:30 PM   #377
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I'm going to separate my response and put the non-essential stuff in italics so that hopefully it can be put to bed.

I understand that the legislature determines what is what type of crime. I'm not an idiot, and that really doesn't even matter in this situation. Me saying that this is a pretty weak "robbery" doesn't really have anything to do with whether he gets shot or not - it's more a commentary on how the law is a bit crazy, but was also before I saw the video fully and heard about him reaching over the counter for the cigars (which I have said sounds more like a "robbery" as I would think of it). I get that you have your legal hat on, but take it off for a second hmm?

I also understand he was just a suspect, and furthermore that the stop wasn't even connected to him being a robbery suspect it sounds like.


You didn't just make a commentary on the law, you said that if this guy was white the police report wouldn't have identified the crime as a robbery. And you're basing that on the fact of what a robbery is "to you". The officer isn't identifying a crime based on what a robbery is "to DT". They're relying on Missouri law. So accusing that officer (whoever it is, it's not even the shooter) of being racist is silly to me. He just wrote down the crime that was committed in the video. It's not binding to any later charges. If an officer is downgrading crimes on his own initiative in police reports, he'd probably have a problem with his supervisor.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:36 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by digamma View Post
There's really clear evidence that the confrontation started for a different reason. The police today said the officer had no knowledge of the robbery and stopped them for some other reason. And of course, the defense may try to get it in. Maybe they should try to get it in. Granted I've only done two criminal trials in my life time and those were both about 13 years ago, but I don't see this one as a very close call.

The pretty simple comparison here, while not perfect, is to the rape defendant who wants to put on evidence that the victim slept with a guy down the street the day before. Most courts aren't going to come close to allowing that to be admitted.

We know the robbery wasn't the officer's motive for the initial contact, but we have no idea what the motive was for the initial physical confrontation.

Every jurisdiction has specific rules about the admissibility of prior sexual activity, that's a completely different thing. But it is true that the prosecution could not admit evidence of the robbery and then argue at closing, "this guy committed a robbery an hour before, he's obviously a terrible guy, so he must have attacked the officer here." That would be similar to the rape example and would be 100% inappropriate.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #379
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There's really clear evidence that the confrontation started for a different reason. The police today said the officer had no knowledge of the robbery and stopped them for some other reason. And of course, the defense may try to get it in. Maybe they should try to get it in. Granted I've only done two criminal trials in my life time and those were both about 13 years ago, but I don't see this one as a very close call.

The pretty simple comparison here, while not perfect, is to the rape defendant who wants to put on evidence that the victim slept with a guy down the street the day before. Most courts aren't going to come close to allowing that to be admitted.

Of course not, because those two things are completely unrelated.

However, in this case, there's...

1.) Pretty good indication that Mike Brown would be aware that the police might be after him and thus his reaction to this possible encounter may have been pre-meditated. Which kind of diminishes the race angle.

2.) The cop is apparently unaware that he was walking into an unfortunate confrontation with a man who just committed a crime (based on the video) and was about to get jumped. Which kind of diminishes the race angle.

I'd imagine that these things are particularly important if this were to turn into a "hate crime" styled trial, which is what the peaceful protesters, rioters, and looters are angling towards.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:47 PM   #380
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But that's just it. The officer did not know he was a suspect in a robbery, so the robbery does nothing to affect the officer's perceived threat. It only goes to show what a bad guy Brown is. Like the promiscuous rape victim, except the alleged rapist doesn't know she's fast and loose.

Now, I'll grant that there could be a situation where there are words and Brown says something like, "Oh you think I robbed that convenience store?!?! WELL, I'LL SHOW YOU." I'd still say in that case the footage doesn't really go to the confrontation and only goes to Brown's character.

And of course, I know there are technical rules on admissibility of past sexual experiences--I noted the comparison wasn't perfect. I'm not writing a law review article here.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:48 PM   #381
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It might still be relevant/admissible if it were being offered for a permissible purpose relating to the initial confrontation at the car. But yes, it certainly wouldn't be as helpful for the defense if there was solid evidence that there was a significant time, distance, and circumstance separation between whatever happened at the car and whatever happened further away. In fact, it'd be a shitty defense. Which is maybe all you're saying. But defendants are still allowed to put on shitty defenses if the evidence is admissible.

*and if the key witness for the prosecution is dead

What the people on the pro-cop side don't realize is that everyone else is granting all of these assumptions about what might have happened up to the moment that Michael Brown is a significant distance away from Darren Wilson after getting into a physical confrontation and then trying to make a run for it.

This is the point at which claims of racism come in. Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and now gets to hide behind the continuum of lawful force, and that calculus in marginal cases is clearly subject to implicit (suspect is black = scary and life-threatening) biases. As has been generally agreed upon in this thread, police officers come from the regular pool of citizens and do not have the same kind of training when compared to US soldiers, so why would they not exhibit the same biases that are clearly seen in studies of the general population?

Nobody is saying that every cop is Bull Connor, but individuals who are granted a legal monopoly on lethal force and billions of dollars' worth of military toys each year need to be held to a much, much higher standard.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:54 PM   #382
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Of course not, because those two things are completely unrelated.

However, in this case, there's...

1.) Pretty good indication that Mike Brown would be aware that the police might be after him and thus his reaction to this possible encounter may have been pre-meditated. Which kind of diminishes the race angle.

2.) The cop is apparently unaware that he was walking into an unfortunate confrontation with a man who just committed a crime (based on the video) and was about to get jumped. Which kind of diminishes the race angle.

I'd imagine that these things are particularly important if this were to turn into a "hate crime" styled trial, which is what the peaceful protesters, rioters, and looters are angling towards.

Honestly, I'm not sure how to respond to this. I wasn't talking about race at all. I'm only talking about what's admissible in a trial. If you're talking about public perception, that's a totally different thing.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #383
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But that's just it. The officer did not know he was a suspect in a robbery, so the robbery does nothing to affect the officer's perceived threat. It only goes to show what a bad guy Brown is. Like the promiscuous rape victim, except the alleged rapist doesn't know she's fast and loose.

Now, I'll grant that there could be a situation where there are words and Brown says something like, "Oh you think I robbed that convenience store?!?! WELL, I'LL SHOW YOU." I'd still say in that case the footage doesn't really go to the confrontation and only goes to Brown's character.

And of course, I know there are technical rules on admissibility of past sexual experiences--I noted the comparison wasn't perfect. I'm not writing a law review article here.

I agree on the perception of the officer, there's probably no relevance of the robbery to his perception at all (unless the officer knew generally of the robbery and then put two and two together after he tried to stop Brown).

But the police are saying, and the defense argument would certainly be, that Brown attacked the officer first. Why would Brown do that? It could be total bullshit, but the most logical explanation is that he thought the officer was coming to arrest him for the robbery, so Brown preemptively resisted that arrest, and that's why we had the physical confrontation at the car, and the struggle over the gun.

I could see a 403 argument from the state trying to keep the robbery out, arguing that even though the evidence is relevant, the limited probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the state's case. It's hard to weigh probative value v. unfair prejudice without knowing exactly what the defense theory would be. Obviously, any defense theory would have to tie that alleged car confrontation with whatever happened later nearby.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #384
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Honestly, I'm not sure how to respond to this. I wasn't talking about race at all. I'm only talking about what's admissible in a trial. If you're talking about public perception, that's a totally different thing.

This whole event is about race. We wouldn't even be here discussing this otherwise.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:10 PM   #385
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This whole event is about race. We wouldn't even be here discussing this otherwise.

Again, not what I said or was addressing at all.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:14 PM   #386
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Again, not what I said or was addressing at all.

I know you are keeping it at that scope, but I believe that the actual trial will include race and the cop's intent and that the cop would have to defend whether he is a racist and whether this is a hate crime or not. And Mike Brown's intent would go a long way to keep this as a non-hate crime judgment.

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Old 08-15-2014, 07:15 PM   #387
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I know you are keeping it at that scope, but I believe that the actual trial will include race and the cop's intent and that the cop would have to defend whether he is a racist and whether this is a hate crime or not. And Mike Brown's intent would go a long way to keep this as a non-hate crime judgment.

Unless he gets charged with a hate crime, no he won't.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:17 PM   #388
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Unless he gets charged with a hate crime, no he won't.

We'll have to wait on that one. Lots of suggestions in this thread alone that this was a hate crime.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:18 PM   #389
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*and if the key witness for the prosecution is dead

What the people on the pro-cop side don't realize is that everyone else is granting all of these assumptions about what might have happened up to the moment that Michael Brown is a significant distance away from Darren Wilson after getting into a physical confrontation and then trying to make a run for it.

This is the point at which claims of racism come in. Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and now gets to hide behind the continuum of lawful force, and that calculus in marginal cases is clearly subject to implicit (suspect is black = scary and life-threatening) biases. As has been generally agreed upon in this thread, police officers come from the regular pool of citizens and do not have the same kind of training when compared to US soldiers, so why would they not exhibit the same biases that are clearly seen in studies of the general population?

Nobody is saying that every cop is Bull Connor, but individuals who are granted a legal monopoly on lethal force and billions of dollars' worth of military toys each year need to be held to a much, much higher standard.

We can hold them to a higher standard morally, but they have the same rights as everyone else in terms of criminal charges. I think people completely forget that in the emotion of this stuff. it's easy to think of Brown as the defendant and the police officer as the state, but those roles are reversed here.

Of course, police officers are subject to the same biases as the general population, and because of their job, those same biases can have more dire consequences than others with those biases, definitely. I still don't think it's fair to throw it out there as quickly and as broadly as people do. Sometimes it's just ridiculous, like in the robbery v. theft example. Officer Wilson, who knows, maybe he reacted a certain way because of race-based fear. Maybe Brown reacted a certain way because of officer-based fear. The collision of those fears happens everywhere and it sucks.

And I think some people do think all cops are Bull Connor. Jeff061 does, and I think others feel the same way but don't want the drama of admitting it out loud. Certainly, there are posters here that think that every officer in this town is Bull Connor. There are probably a few citizens in that town who feel that way too. And there are officers who believe they are that hated as a group. It's difficult to be a good officer in that environment, because there's so many assumptions against you. And it's dramatically more difficult to be a black man in that environment, where an officer may assume you'll be hostile because of fear. It's a vicious cycle of hostility and it takes courage on either side to overcome it.

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Old 08-15-2014, 07:18 PM   #390
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Court of public opinion is a much different thing than a court of law.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:21 PM   #391
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Just watched the full video of the convinience store incident. It's clearly not shoplifting. He actually reaches across the counter into the cashier area to take things. Also, the initial smaller video is missing a part at the end where Brown physically intimidates the clerk a second time.

There HAS to be more to this shooting.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:27 PM   #392
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Court of public opinion is a much different thing than a court of law.

I'd imagine that public opinion could influence what charges are brought in a high-visibility case like this.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:34 PM   #393
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Here's full video.

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/08/1682...enience-store/
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:20 PM   #394
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This is only tangentially related, but I'm interested by exactly what/when culturally turned the individual American policeman from a social servant into an authority figure? For a time, the local beat cop was a part of the community, and of course the first person you'd talk to about any kind of local mischief...now, the beat cop doesn't even exist in most of the country, and the police are considered the absolute last resort for lots of folks. Was it the civil/racial unrest of the 60s/70s that turned that leaf? That was kind of the first time that the (white) public got regular viewings of the police conflicting with the general public, and was that what started the cultural divide?

I remember being a kid and regularly going up to police men to ask for trading cards (they were always handing out TrailBlazer cards back in the day...which seems like PR genius these days) or just to say hello, because a policeman was still a young boy's hero by default. I always remember the police saying hello, and being very friendly and approachable. Conversely, as an adult, literally every casual interaction I've had with a police officer has involved them barking at me, like a soldier talking to a foreign civilian in a war zone. At some point there was a shift to militarize not just police equipment, but police attitudes, and I think that's what's doing the most to widen the cultural rift between the police and the general public.

Regardless of any question of morals, or whether any particular cop is some shade of 'bad' or 'good', it seems obvious that in recent years police have been trained to immediately assert their authority in any situation, and to some degree that causes every interaction with police to start on confrontational footing.

While I'm in no way comfortable saying all, most, or even a large minority of cops behave in wrong moral/racist/criminal behavior, I am comfortable saying that all cops have apparently been trained to approach every situation initially as a deadly conflict, without much/any judgment or empathy for the particulars, and that IS a problem. I totally understand that in today's America every situation is a potential conflict, but I think it's completely valid to say that the current system/style of police communication tends to incite that conflict more than necessary.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:26 PM   #395
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Officers still hand out trading cards and interact with the community directly. I know one state trooper that hands out stickers to kids that are in cars he pulls over so they won't be afraid. (Of course he risks unconstitutionally extending the seizure by doing things not related to the purpose of the stop, but we'll worry about that when someone has the guts to make that argument).

There is a lot more awareness and accountability of the bad things, because of the media and internet and audio/video recordings, which is a good thing. We have a lot of sentimentality about the 50s, but I guarantee you police as a group behaved much worse then than today, especially in poor minority communities.

Edit: Only looking at the changes in the law and nothing else, police today have to be much more restrained than in decades past. All of the changes regarding Miranda, and the right to counsel, when deadly force is authorized, the limits of Terry stops and when you can detain and search people. Maybe it's possible that the profession, in some places, is more serious and less casual than it was in decades past. If that's true I think it's because the job has changed a lot. Before you'd use your experience and personality to solve problems. Now, with all of the changes from the Warren Court, officers have to know about more about the law, and be cognizant of how every word they say will be analyzed by lawyers and judges in suppression hearings. That's not a bad thing, defendant's rights are more strongly protected now. But it does change the tone of the job.

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Old 08-15-2014, 08:28 PM   #396
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Regardless of the outcome here, I think it's high time that cops just start wearing body cameras all the time with legal muscle to back it up so that tapes can not be destroyed. It would resolve much of the confusion in some cases. If Brown was shot from 20 feet away with his hands up, there's zero justification for that shooting regardless of what happened 5 minutes or 5 seconds before. If he was shot 5 feet away in an aggressive pose, then there would be good reason for that. We'd know with a camera.

The city of Rialto did this a couple of years ago. Officers' use of force went down by 60% while public complaints dropped over 80%. Those statistics are staggering.

http://www.policefoundation.org/site...e-of-Force.pdf

I'm not generally big on cameras and "big brother", but I think it's gotten to the point that the only way out is to hold both sides accountable for their actions - criminals and cops - and to do so impartially. The camera doesn't lie.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:31 PM   #397
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a deliberate attempt to attack the character of Brown.

Like attacking a unicorn.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:33 PM   #398
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But that's just it. The officer did not know he was a suspect in a robbery, so the robbery does nothing to affect the officer's perceived threat.

Don't think anybody (at least not here) said it had anything to do with the threat level. It's merely the motive for said threat.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:35 PM   #399
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This is only tangentially related, but I'm interested by exactly what/when culturally turned the individual American policeman from a social servant into an authority figure?

Somewhere in the 60s would be the most obvious turning point I think.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:45 PM   #400
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Regardless of the outcome here, I think it's high time that cops just start wearing body cameras all the time with legal muscle to back it up so that tapes can not be destroyed. It would resolve much of the confusion in some cases. If Brown was shot from 20 feet away with his hands up, there's zero justification for that shooting regardless of what happened 5 minutes or 5 seconds before. If he was shot 5 feet away in an aggressive pose, then there would be good reason for that. We'd know with a camera.

The city of Rialto did this a couple of years ago. Officers' use of force went down by 60% while public complaints dropped over 80%. Those statistics are staggering.

http://www.policefoundation.org/site...e-of-Force.pdf

I'm not generally big on cameras and "big brother", but I think it's gotten to the point that the only way out is to hold both sides accountable for their actions - criminals and cops - and to do so impartially. The camera doesn't lie.

Exactly. Cameras make everyone behave better, generally.

Per a CNN article I linked to in another thread, Ferguson police don't have dash cams because the budget isn't there.

It seems as though a lot of the issues here are also rooted in money:

- crumbling tax base for a variety of reasons
- revenue not there to adequately support services, police, etc
- revenue not there to be competitive in hiring the best police candidates (and the best ones leave for higher paying jobs in the more affluent suburbs)

On that last note, as an aside, it seemed to me that the stereotypical Police Officer's career path in metro NYC was to start out in the NYPD, survive until the pension kicks in, and then move on to a cushy police gig in a Long Island suburb. I could be off-base, though.

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