Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson never filed an incident report after shooting and killing an unarmed teenager nearly two weeks ago, leaving his uncovered body in the street for four hours, which led to anger, resentment and eventually riots.
The reason, provided to NBC News, the St. Louis County Police Department quickly took over the investigation, so there was no need for Wilson to file an incident report.
However, both the county police department and the county prosecutor should have insisted on an incident report from the moment they started investigating.
After all, an incident report is a sworn statement where the cop who witnessed the incident describes in detail what took place to justify an arrest or in this case, a homicide.
Without that, these investigators have to depend on the witnesses to the shooting to conduct their investigation and we know they are already claiming those witnesses are not telling the truth.
In fact, police were able to manipulate one local newspaper reporter – who wasn’t even on the beat considering she is on maternity leave – into tweeting that “police sources” told her “more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version” of the story.
Christine Byers, who covers the crime beat when she is not on leave, sent out her initial tweet late Monday and by Tuesday morning, she apparently was told not to tweet anymore because she hasn’t tweeted anything since she admitted her earlier tweets “did not meet standards for publication.”
Even the New York Post ran with the story, not stopping to wonder why would police resort to informing a reporter on leave about these dozen witnesses rather than go on the record and inform the hundreds of other journalists who have been in Ferguson this week.
And not one of these sites updated their stories to mention that the reporter in question later admitted her tweets “did not meet standards for publication.”
It is obvious these dozen witnesses are fabricated, but that didn’t stopped Sean Hannity of Fox News to berate a Ferguson politician about her insistence that the protests are over police abuse in one of the most condescending interviews to ever air, telling her that the eye witnesses to the shooting – the ones who have come out on camera with their stories – are just as relevant as the mythical witnesses conjured by police.
The Blaze, which also reported the mythical dozen witnesses story, also took the curious route of defending police when they were caught on camera gassing a group of journalist from Al Jazeera, then entering the area and dismantling their cameras, which was surprising because the Blaze has always been a strong supporter of journalistic freedoms.
Although the images had gone viral, the Blaze came out with an article titled The Key Detail Apparently Left Out of Reports on Viral Photo Showing SWAT Team ‘Dismantling’ Al Jazeera Crew’s Equipment.”
From the article:
Stunning photos showing St. Charles County SWAT Team members “disassembling” an Al Jazeera America news crew’s camera equipment during unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, went viral on Wednesday night — but police say the circulating images and reports are very misleading.
In a statement on Thursday, the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department said SWAT Team officers were actually “assisting the media in moving their camera equipment and media personnel to a safer area with their consent so that they could continue to cover the event.” The news crew was caught in tear gas and had to leave their position.
The officers reportedly located the journalists and put them into an armored car and proceeded to disassemble and load their equipment. However, people snapped photos and seemingly drew their own conclusions.
According to KTVI-TV, the Al Jazeera reporters even “thanked the officers.”
“On Wednesday, August 13th, video footage was taken of St. Charles County SWAT officers handling media camera equipment,” the statement reads. “The position of the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department is that the media has the right to cover these events and supports the freedom of the press, and the SWAT Team has not been any part of attempting to prevent media coverage.”
The reporter never contacted Al Jazeera for their side of the story, but when I reached out to one of the Al Jazeera reporters who had done a recent segment on me, I was told that the Blaze article was full of crap.
The Infowars video below captured the entire scene, so you will be able to form your own deduction as to what took place.
Then there was the report, once again from an anonymous police source, that Wilson suffered severe facial damage, including an orbital fracture, a result of his life-of-death struggle with Michael Brown.
And, of course, that ended up reported by numerous sites who were also passing around an x-ray of a skull with an orbital fracture.
But the publisher of Little Green Footballs, who is neither extreme right or left in his political views, was able to debunk the rumor as well by proving that a right-wing blogger with little credibility named Jim Hoft used a scan he found on the internet from the University of Iowa to support his claim.
CNN on Thursday, citing an anonymous source close to the investigation, reported that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson did not suffer a fractured eye socket prior to fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown earlier this month. The report directly contradicts a recent Fox News story, which also cites an anonymous source “close to the [police] department’s top brass.”
CNN anchor Don Lemon reported on Thursday that Wilson did go to the hospital with swelling around his face and eyes, but an X-ray came back negative for a fracture to his orbital bone.
“That source says it is not true, at all, he did not have a torn eye socket,” Lemon said. “Unequivocally.”
However, the initial “bombshell report” received 9.2 thousand shares while the story redacting the report received 3.6 thousand shares at this point.
Meanwhile, police continue cracking down on journalists who are trying to cover the story in Ferguson with their cameras in order to not have to depend on all these anonymous sources.
Here is an account from Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept, pictured above in handcuffs, on what led up to his arrest.
The situation did not look or feel good. Hermsmeier and I had a wide street filled with tear gas and armored vehicles between us and our ride home. The police began turning off W. Florissant and opening fire with gas canisters at unseen targets in the dense residential area. At one point, one of the canisters appeared to start a small fire in the driveway of a home.
We decided our best bet was to walk north on Gage Dr. in hopes of getting beyond the wall of gas and finding a safe route to our car. We didn’t make it far. Between the gaps in the houses we could see the armored vehicles quickly moving up and down W. Florissant, parallel to us. Two turns and the police would find us off that main road and, potentially, shoot at us. We took cover behind a large tree in case the firing started again.
It was then that one of the armored vehicles entered the neighborhood once more, this time ahead of us, slowly moving in the direction we were walking. With their high-powered lights scanning the neighborhood, the only option we had was to announce ourselves as members of the press and hope they wouldn’t shoot. We stepped out of the shadows, our hands in the air, and began yelling, “Press!” and “Journalists!” and “We’re media!” over and over. An officer on top of the vehicle turned his light on us. After a pause, he beckoned us forward. We continued walking, our hands still in the air, still shouting that we were journalists.
With rifles trained on us, we turned right on Highmunt Dr., in the direction of W. Florissant and toward another police vehicle, which had more guns pointed at us. As we made our way forward, I heard a pop and felt a stinging in my lower back. I jumped up instinctively, and realized that the officers behind us, the ones who had asked us to move forward, had shot us with what I believe were rubber bullets. I was hit once and Hermsmeier was hit twice.
The shooting left a mean bruise, but all the guns trained on us provided an ample distraction from the sting. We were frightened. The police, who made no verbal commands that we had heard, had clearly demonstrated their willingness to shoot us. With several similarly armed and approaching officers directly in front of us, we dove behind a car, expecting more shooting. The police came upon us with their guns pointed directly at us. We continued repeating that we were journalists. They pulled us out from behind the car, walked us to their armored vehicles, and zip-tied our hands behind our backs.
The police loaded us a vehicle known as a Bearcat and drove us to the command center. We were sitting across from a massive man in a gas mask who looked more like a sci-fi video game character than a police officer. He asked us what we were doing out when police had told people to leave. We replied that we were doing our jobs.
It was at the command center, a suburban parking lot awash in neon light and men in camouflage, that we learned we were going to jail. No one read us our rights. I was later informed that we–along with just about everyone else in our jail cell–were arrested for “refusal to disperse.”
The National Press Photographers Association along with several other journalism organization have created a coalition to protests these arrests.
One of the photojournalists who was arrested, Scott Olson, saw one of his images on the cover of Time Magazine, so it’s not like they are preventing the message from getting out.
So what we have here is an extreme form of damage control from police, starting from not requiring Wilson to write an incident report to manipulating reporters they know and arresting reporters they don’t know.
Maybe the truth will eventually come out now that the FBI is investigating and the case is set to go before a grand jury.
But only if they’re not as gullible as many of the reporters on this story.