SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi expressed disappointment Wednesday with the grand jury’s decision declining to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.
Now that grand jury evidence, including forensic records and testimony from Wilson has been released, Adachi is pointing out “biased legal and ethical decisions” made along the way.READ MORE: California Health Officials 'Closely Monitoring' New COVID Omicron Variant
Among those was allowing local prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who has strong family connections to police, to supervise the presentation of evidence, Adachi said in a written statement. As a result, Adachi said the police investigation was rife with the following problems:
- “Because it was a grand jury inquiry and not a trial, Wilson took the stand in secrecy and without benefit of a cross-examination. Prosecutors not only failed to probe his incredible testimony but frequently appeared to be bolstering his claim of self-defense. Transcripts reveal that witnesses whose accounts contradicted Wilson’s were rigorously questioned by prosecutors.
- Dorian Johnson, the key witness who was standing next to Brown during the encounter, provided strong testimony that called into question Wilson’s claim that he was defending his life against a deranged aggressor. Johnson testified that Wilson, enraged that the young men did not obey his order to get on the sidewalk, threw his patrol car into reverse. While Wilson claimed Brown prevented him from opening his door, Johnson testified that the officer smacked them with the door after nearly hitting the pair. Johnson described the ensuing struggle as Wilson attempting to pull Brown through the car window by his neck and shirt, and Brown pulling away. Johnson never saw Brown reach for Wilson’s gun or punch the officer. Johnson testified that he watched a wounded Brown partially raise his hands and say, ‘I don’t have a gun’ before being fatally shot.
- Wilson’s description of Brown as a ‘demon’ with superhuman strength and unremitting rage, and his description of the neighborhood as ‘hostile,’ illustrate implicit racial bias that taints use-of-force decisions. These biases surely contribute to the fact that African Americans are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than whites in the U.S., but the statement’s racial implications remained unexamined.
- Prosecutors never asked Wilson why he did not attempt to drive away while Brown was allegedly reaching through his vehicle window or to reconcile the contradiction between his claim that Brown punched the left side of his face and the documented injuries which appear on his right side.Wilson, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and 210 pounds, is never asked to explain why he ‘felt like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan’ during his struggle with Brown, who is Wilson’s height and 290 pounds.”
Adachi said he hopes more police departments will begin using technology, such as body cameras, to improve transparency and accountability.MORE NEWS: Firefighters Extinguish 2 RVs on Fire in West Oakland
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