Somewhere in Missouri, a grand jury continues to deliberate the facts in what’s become the most racially and culturally charged case in America, headlined by Darren Wilson and the spirit of Michael Brown. For weeks, eyewitnesses have been speaking with members of the jury telling their side of the events.
Christine Byers of the St. Louis Dispatch was able to land an exclusive interview with one of the witnesses under the veil of anonymity given the extremely sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation. According to the Canfield Green Apartments resident – the scene of the shooting – he saw this:
— After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
— Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
— Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
— The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.
— He would not detail what he told the grand jury but said the members seemed fair and asked a lot of questions.
The witness, who is African-American for what it’s worth, corroborated Brown’s best friend Dorian Johnson’s account of the incident saying he (Dorian) began running moments after the first shot was fired inside Wilson’s police SUV.
The most chilling portion of Byers’ piece, however, arises when the witness relives the actual shooting detail-by-detail.
The witness said he had been on the right side of the police SUV and did not have a clear view of what happened on the opposite, driver’s side. “There was a tussle going on,” he said, adding that he believes he saw Wilson’s hat fly off.
He then heard a shot and saw Brown run, followed by Wilson. He said Wilson aimed his handgun at Brown and yelled: “Stop! Stop! Stop!”
The witness said Brown did stop, mumbled something he could not clearly hear and took a step toward Wilson.
“When he stepped foot on that street, the officer told him to stop again, and he fired three shots,” the witness recalled. “When he (Brown) got hit, he staggered like, ‘Oh,’ and his body moved. Then he looked down.
“His hands were up like this (he gestures with arms out to the side and palms upward), and he was looking at the officer and was coming toward him trying to keep his feet and stand up. The officer took a few steps back and yelled, ‘Stop,’ again, and Michael was trying to stay on his feet.
“He was 20 to 25 feet from officer, and after he started staggering, he (Wilson) let off four more rounds. As he was firing those last rounds, Michael was on his way down. We were thinking, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, brother, stop, stop.’ He was already on his way down when he fired those last shots.”
In the two months following Michael Brown’s death, various accounts of the day in question have been made public. Nearly all have differing details in some regard, but the result has remained largely consistent: Brown was running away, turned around appearing to surrender and then shot to death. The longer a formal indictment on Wilson takes, the more paranoid the masses become, already taught first-hand to do anything but trust the legal system in place in America.
Then there are quotes like this next one that make it hard to believe Brown’s parents won’t at least receive the opportunity to fight for their son’s justice. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye,” the witness said. “What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder.”