Yesterday the NY Times, which lately has been a been on a veracity-challenged course, posted an report on the Michael Brown shooting that was as significant for what it left out as for what it contained. You will remember that David Landler authored a hit piece on George Bush not long ago in which he asserted that George Bush failed to assemble a coalition for the Iraq War. Then not ago C.J. Chivers again slammed Bush with another bald faced lie.
They’ve done it again. Michael Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo and Julie Bosman report on the government’s investigation of the Michael Brown shooting. It contains important information:
The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.
The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.
Tests put Michael Brown at least partly in the police vehicle.
The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.
This is the first public account of Officer Wilson’s testimony to investigators, but it does not explain why, after he emerged from his vehicle, he fired at Mr. Brown multiple times. It contradicts some witness accounts, and it will not calm those who have been demanding to know why an unarmed man was shot a total of six times. Mr. Brown’s death continues to fuel anger and sometimes-violent protests.
Maybe because the information hasn’t been released yet? The reporters relate some of the accounts of the “eyewitnesses.” One of the, Tiffany Mitchell, says:
“Michael was pulling off and the cop was trying to pull him in.”
Don’t cops always try to pull suspects on top of the them while they’re sitting in the driver’s seat of a police cruiser?
The Times article then goes on to accord much time and credence to another witness- one Dorian Johnson.
However, Mr. Johnson’s description of the scuffle is detailed and specific, and directly contradicts what Officer Wilson has told the authorities.
Mr. Johnson has said that Officer Wilson was the aggressor, backing up his vehicle and opening the door, which hit Mr. Johnson and Mr. Brown and then bounced back.
“He just reached his arm out the window and grabbed my friend around his neck, and he was trying to choke my friend,” Mr. Johnson told reporters after the shooting. “He was trying to get away, and the officer then reached out and grabbed his arm to pull him inside the car.”
Right. Because cops routinely pull much larger suspects on top of themselves into their cruiser on the driver’s seat. It’s the normal mode of securing a prisoner. Sure.
The Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump:
“What the police say is not to be taken as gospel,”
Which leads me to the heart of this botched story. Crump asserts that we must not accept the police version of the event as gospel, but what about the “star” witness? The Times’ reporters say absolutely nothing about Dorian Johnson.
Dorian Johnson is a liar.
Eyewitness Johnson claimed that Michael Brown was shot in the back:
Brown and Johnson took off running together. There were three cars lined up along the side of the street. Johnson says he ducked behind the first car, whose two passengers were screaming. Crouching down a bit, he watched Brown run past.
“Keep running, bro!,” he said Brown yelled. Then Brown yelled it a second time. Those would be the last words Johnson’s friend, “Big Mike,” would ever say to him.
Brown made it past the third car. Then, “blam!” the officer took his second shot, striking Brown in the back. At that point, Johnson says Brown stopped, turned with his hands up and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”
Johnson denied being with Brown in the store at the time of the theft, but later recanted:
The friend who was with Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by a police officer near St. Louis over the weekend is reportedly confirming that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars from a convenience store that day.
That word comes from the attorney for Dorian Johnson, speaking to MSNBC. Police in Ferguson had earlier announced that Brown was suspected of taking cigars from the convenience store in what was described as a “strong-arm robbery.”
It also turns out that Johnson has an outstanding warrant for a theft and false police report in 2011:
During the summer after his first semester at Lincoln, Johnson was charged with a misdemeanor after giving police a false first name after he was arrested on suspicion of theft. He later pleaded guilty.
He was accused of stealing a package containing a backpack belonging to someone else from an apartment complex. When he was arrested in that case, he identified himself as Derrick Johnson and said he was 16.
He is wanted for failing to appear in Jefferson City municipal court to answer to the theft charge, court officials said.
An attorney who is a close friend of mine said Johnson’s testimony would be entirely useless to a grand jury given his history.
For some reason, the NY Times saw fit to omit the less palatable side of the “star” eyewitness. Johnson’s testimony may be “detailed and specific” and “directly contradict” what Officer Wilson has said but Johnson is a liar. That’s an important thing for readers to know.
It is consistent with the increasing tendency of the NY Times to act less like as a proper news source and more like a hopelessly biased tabloid.
We’ll revisit the Times again real soon.