Everyone is scoring the St. Louis Rams for entering the field of battle with their hands up
, as a way of protesting the Grand Jury's decision (which was really prosecutor McCulloch's decision) not to indict. A lot of white people are calling this act "tasteless." Booman
has this one right:
You know what ELSE is "tasteless, offensive and inflammatory"? Subverting a grand jury process so a cop doesn't have to face charges. Conducting a secret trial designed to exonerate said cop. Announcing grand jury results well after sundown and calling a state of emergency a week before the decision. Smearing the kid's parents. Burning down the kid's father's church. These are all things that, in my opinion anyway, are a lot more "tasteless, offensive and inflammatory" than a few football players expressing their opinion.
What bugs me is this: Most white people presume that Brown charged the officer. Most white people presume that Brown did not have his hands up. They make this presumption even though everyone knows that witness testimony on this score was contradictory. That's why we have trials: To allow jurors to weigh the credibility of witnesses.
Here's a fair question: How many witnesses say that Brown had his hands up? And how many say that he charged?
Turns out that there were three witnesses
(not including Wilson) who spoke of charging.
Four said that he did not
charge: “it wasn't fast enough to be a charge” “casually walking” “he picked up a little bit of speed” “taking two small steps.” Two said he had not fully risen. Six said that he was either turning around or had just completed the process of turning around.
And six said that Brown either had his hands up or had otherwise indicated surrender. In fact, even Wilson
said that Brown had his "hands up."
Yet many white people presume the question of charging is not even in contention. He charged
. Period. Wilson said it, white people believe it, and that settles it.
White "liberal" Donny Deutsch epitomized this problem when he said on Joe Scarborough's show
"It's not a black-white situation. It's a thug-police officer situation," said Deutsch, beginning to chuckle.
This next bit is telling:
Scarborough concluded with a piece of advice to his critics:
"And by the way, if I've offended anybody by saying what I've said, trust me, 95 percent of America think just like me," he said.
witnesses say something that buttresses the white cop's self-interested story, and if at least ten
witnesses contradict that story, the testimony of the three must outweigh that of the ten. If you say otherwise, you are being tasteless and offensive.
These days, it is now considered tasteless and offensive to insist that our justice system must allow for cross-examination.
Well, at the risk of seeming tasteless, I'll say this: There is
no justice when there is no opportunity for opposing lawyers to ask the witnesses tough questions. There's a reason why we have an adversarial
Perhaps the scariest thing about the Brown/Wilson outcome is that this case pioneered a new technique which allows prosecutors to do an injustice while maintaining the pretense
that justice has been done: The grand jury.
Yes, we have had grand juries for a long, long time. But I do not believe that they've been used before in the way they have been used here. This is new. This is dangerous. In the future, I fear that "justice" will be dispensed by grand juries who get to hear only one side.