St. Louis County and Ferguson Police Violating Public Records Laws Regarding Michael Brown Shooting Death

Michael Brown’s body lay uncovered on the street for four hours after the shooting


On Wednesday, August 20th, stories began to appear in the media that Incident Reports were being released in the Michael Brown shooting incident. But that they contained very little actual information.

Let me explain how these reports were released in response to citizens filing legal demands under Missouri’s Sunshine Law – and then show how further public records requests have revealed that the Police officials are “knowingly” refusing to comply with the law and the rules on what these reports MUST contain and that the public is ENTITLED BY RIGHT to have that information.  The unlawful denial of the records is a civil violation of the law – but the “knowing” violation constitutes a Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri.

On August 12th the ACLU made a public records request under Missour’s Sunshine Law – for the St. Louis County Police Department’s Incident Report of the Officer-Involved Shooting (involving Wilson and Brown).

[ACLU REQUEST] [scribd id=237640839 key=key-eFo3mEqAZeN3J2fD92jC mode=scroll]

On August 13th the St. Louis County Police Department responded – DENYING the request – claiming that it was EXEMPT based on a claim that there was an “open-investigation” and that this exempted it.

[ACLU DENIAL] [scribd id=237640838 key=key-dReZD3YM5K4DgxjNppll mode=scroll]

After which the ACLU filed a lawsuit the next day to compel them to produce the record – and to get other relief. They were followed in this by the National Bar Association in a suit filed on August 18th.

[ACLU LAWSUIT] [scribd id=237641195 key=key-d0fapsvGKNOxvieMTo6V mode=scroll]

At that point in time – the Police Department DID NOT produce the record because of the lawsuit – but was ready and willing to use that process of DELAY to keep denying production.  This was soon to change.

It is in this context that I then entered the picture. Last weekend I made a new public records request for that particular Incident Report. I included in that a statement of the law that the Incident Report is NOT the equivalent of the Investigation Report, the latter IS exempt while the investigation is ongoing, the former IS NOT – but is a public record AT ALL TIMES. I also included a statement to the officer, Lieutenant Burk, who is the Commander overseeing the Central Records Division that to try that game with me – was not going to work – and that it constituted a violation of his oath of office as well as a criminal offense.

[OUR REQUEST] [scribd id=237641369 key=key-I4zVhftG1CEFN0r6AsTq mode=scroll]

I sent that via email on Sunday. But I did not stop there. I have had in waiting and development for a long time a STRATEGY for public records law usage to investigate public agencies and officials – that included what I have called a “Global Public Records Request.” What I mean by that – is for not just one person – but a large number of people filing for the same record. This to put pressure on the agency to release, to strengthen the evidence that this record was needed in the public interest, and to potentially add plaintiffs to a legal action if the record were not immediately produced.

So I put out a call – using primarily an article I published on – as well as using an online petition site to provide the information – and this led to 160 others filing the request. [Here’s how to Make a Public Records Request for Ferguson Investigation]

[MY FOLLOW UP EMAILS TO CENTRAL RECORDS] [scribd id=237642651 key=key-PSJzolxhMDqraa43a8Mo mode=scroll]

On Monday morning I called and followed up on this – to ensure it was received and to verbally restate what I put in writing – I was NOT asking for the exempt Investigation Report – and they cannot claim that the records that are used by the Investigation are exempt – because the exemption applies only to the Report. [The Public Records Circus: Ferguson]

What I was told was a bit disturbing. Their email system had just been brought back up online. And so all the emails from that weekend had “disappeared.” So I stated to the Lieutenant what I requested and then stated that I would send it again – and I would contact all the others to resend theirs.  The Department as well as the City of Ferguson have been claiming that emails are not being received because their systems are under attack by Anonymous.  But I have seen no credible evidence that this is the cause of the problem.

I then discussed with him what I requested and how it was not exempt.

[scribd id=237642653 key=key-V59x3u9Zm5oVHmeg9O0d mode=scroll]

[EMAILED ERROR MESSAGE – SECOND OF SEVERAL VERSIONS] [scribd id=237641679 key=key-PyoF3MXlqpJ54pD6Mgtf mode=scroll]

He agreed to me it was a public record under the law, was not exempt, and had to be produced. We then discussed the denial, from his department – in a hand written note – claiming it was exempt. He explained he was not the one who denied it. As I probed more in our conversations it was clear that the game was being played by the Legal Division of the Police Department.

[EMAIL EXPECTING RECEIPT TUESDAY 19th] [scribd id=237641990 key=key-ScBY4KS7HwDrBKf6L8Mp mode=scroll]

I immediately contacted the Missouri ACLU and the National Bar Association informing them that I was getting the Report and that I had the Lieutenant on record stating it was a public record and was not exempt.

[EMAIL TO ACLU] [scribd id=237642404 key=key-ihlOvhH9pRFFwFWSdPqo mode=scroll]

He then told me I could expect the Report on Tuesday. I did not hear back from him until about 7 pm that night. He did email me – recognizing he did not deliver as promised – and stated that he could not send the record that day because he had been called out to Ferguson all that day.

[EMAIL APOLOGIZING] [scribd id=237642199 key=key-PslTbnY1x4dw33KMo4sJ mode=scroll]

On Wednesday, however, he produced it pursuant to my request. I then provided what I received to the ACLU and National Bar Association.

[RESPONSE PRODUCING THE INCIDENT REPORT] [scribd id=237642650 key=key-7Pr1dFgmeozLClovzgFb mode=scroll]

I also told them that I had followed up after receiving it to inquire as to why there were some glaring omissions – and to get confirmation that these omissions did not come from a redaction or other withholding of information and that no exemption was being claimed. I was told there was no redaction – and that was the entirety of the Report.

[REPORT] [scribd id=237642652 key=key-RvkhgzRtszLW5QskURTB mode=scroll]

I stated to him that there was a significant set of information – namely the “narrative summary” of the officer about what they were called to, what they found, and what they did – that is glaringly absent.

He stated to me that the Legal Division had stated that Incident Reports only contained THREE items of information: Date, Time, and Location. I told them that was not the case – at least not in any agency I had ever seen. In fact I brought to his attention the Incident Report of the alleged robbery by Brown that the Ferguson Police eagerly released – with no purpose other than to discredit Brown and portray him in a bad light – in the “defense” of the officer. Clearly if that Report was routinely filed, this one should be. If that Report was releasable and not exempt from the Public Records Law, this one too should be.

[ROBBERY INCIDENT REPORT] [scribd id=237642654 key=key-ztrSjHXGFyMoNm8hnb3A mode=scroll]

He stated to me that Missouri’s Sunshine Law DEFINES the Incident Report – and that he was told it only prescribed those three things. I disagreed.

Here is the actual statute that is applicable to this – what the Police MUST create, maintain, and produce upon request:

610.100 Revised Missouri Statutes:

(4) “Incident report”, a record of a law enforcement agency consisting of the date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident, including any logs of reported crimes, accidents and complaints maintained by that agency;

[MO SUNSHINE LAW] [scribd id=237552356 key=key-Wq9wavGj5oVqFyyM8fe3 mode=scroll]

Note in particular the following clause in that: “and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident“.

This is exactly what I stated was glaringly missing from the Report. I conveyed all of that information about that conversation to the ACLU and National Bar Association.

[EMAIL TO ACLU/BAR] [scribd id=237642708 key=key-5kZsDKXOe7TZ8d0IGsED mode=scroll]

What is further revealed in the Report released – is that it did not exist when the original request was made and then denied. But – problematic for the official story – is the fact that if no record existed this would have been stated to the ACLU, rather than making the claim (knowingly false – a class A misdemeanor) that it was exempt because of an investigation.

What is also clear from the record as well as my conversations with Lt. Burk – this record of this Incident Report was created in response to my request, rather than at the time of the incident as is normally required, and that it intentionally has been created to withhold the key narrative elements, normally provided and required under law, that make the report useful and that is what the public is seeking according to our rights under the law.

Here is what we learn from what is in the record (the mistake these actors make is to think they are smarter than they really are – and smarter than everyone else.  Sometimes what is in the records, leads to answers to other questions as well as raises further questions, and what is not in the record, often itself is revealing of much of significance).

[ST LOUIS COUNTY PD INCIDENT REPORT] [scribd id=237642652 key=key-RvkhgzRtszLW5QskURTB mode=scroll]

In this record are two dates: the date filed and the date signed off on by a superior. The date it was filed – was Tuesday August 19th. This is after the original denial (August 13th) – AND – after my request (August 17th). Thus – recognizing they had a legal obligation to produce the record upon my request – rather than produce the the original report, if one existed as was required by law, policy, and practice, what they did is REDEFINE what their policy and practice was and what they routinely put in Incident Reports – and then CREATED A NEW one according to that new definition.

(I am inclined to believe an Incident Report DID exist prior to and independent of what has now been produced – and they are playing a game of sleight of hand to avoid giving it to the public.)

Thus when Lt. Burk told me on Tuesday night that the delay was because he was called out – that is not entirely true.  (Perhaps he was not able to push the others in the Department to produce it – but the Department was not ready to produce it nonetheless). That had to wait till a supervisor approved it – that happened Wednesday – and then it was released.

Now here is where they have trapped themselves – and will be caught red-handed. Every time you create a record – you create evidence. If you play a game and it is recorded – your game will be exposed if someone knows what to ask for and does.

And so I have been asking for other records – and I have been gradually getting most of them.  Some are not being honestly responded to and I have had to follow up to try and enforce the law with regard to record production.  And I will get all of them even if it is necessary to go to court to compel the police to produce them.

[I will update further as to what I am requesting, why I am requesting those, and what I receive in response. And I will also be calling on others to participate in the process of these requests and – if again necessary – to employ the tactic of anotehr Global Public Records Request.]

After the game played by St. Louis County Police, in response to my request, providing a new “report” that provides only date, time, and location – in violation of the law and policy – Ferguson followed suit and also did the same.  Again violating both policy and law.

[FERGUSON REPORT] [scribd id=237673059 key=key-3qWKdMccGabW06KDXLxb mode=scroll]

One record that I did get – was the policy on Reports of the Ferguson Police: including when they needed to be filed, by whom, what they needed to contain, and how they were to be filed and maintained.

[REPORTING POLICY REQUEST] [scribd id=237643265 key=key-s6GjJmLOGyyqC8W3fKxt mode=scroll]

And this really spells trouble for the Ferguson Police (a similar request is still pending for the policies of the County police).

[FERGUSON POLICY] [scribd id=237642655 key=key-vguDPnSdMp697jg7ZOgd mode=scroll]

Because here is what it says about filing reports:

A. Whenever an officer makes an arrest, responds to a call that requires a report or otherwise conducts an investigation, which requires a written report, he will obtain

a “report” number from the dispatcher.

B. The officers are held accountable for submitting a report for every report number they requests.

C. Generally, officers are to submit their completed reports to their supervisors for approval prior to terminating their tour of duty. This is accomplished by radio or email notification to the supervisor that a numbered report is ready for supervisor review in the I. T.I. system

And this is what is says about when reports are REQUIRED:

406.02 REPORTS

A. When Required: Officers are required to complete written police reports when the following incident(s) are reported:

1. violations of law or ordinance

2. arrests for any charge

3. use of force

4. motor vehicle traffic crashes as defined in General Order 486.00

5. protective custody

6. damage to city property

7. any situation which may result in civil action or complaint against the department

Clearly (1), (3), and (7) – and possibly (2) since the clear intent was to make an arrest of Brown – apply to Darren Wilson and this incident. Thus HE was REQUIRED to file – at minimum – an Incident Report (also a Use of Force statement – which is also pending production upon a request that I have filed.  The City of Ferguson has falsely stated to me that it has produced the Incident Report – when what it produced was not this one, but the one regarding the alleged robbery by Brown.  And it has claimed that that report, an Incident Report in an unrelated incident, is responsive to my request for the Use of Force report/statement clearly required in the Department’s policy only in instances where there was a use of force and thus distinguishable from the routine Incident Reports).

Now look to this next section – because this is even more critical:

C. Information required in reports: The I.T.I. computer report system has required fields for data entry. In addition to completing these fields, an officer’s narrative as to the nature, facts and officer actions are required in all reports.

Note that this REQUIRES that “an officer’s narrative as to the nature, facts and officer actions” be part of all reports.

And so what we now know is that despite the games being played with the original report, if there was one, the police are knowingly violating the law (which we know that other parts of that policy required it to be filed by the end of the shift – or with permission the next day – and absolutely no later than the officer’s next “break” from duty). And we can see clearly the game of the “new” report policy and the new report creation.

What we know is that the reports that both agencies have released violate Missouri’s law on what is to be contained in a report of this kind and that the public has a right to obtain. And we know that – at least Ferguson PD –  has also violated its own policies.

Thus it has become clear that both law enforcement agencies are engaged in UNLAWFUL activities in order to cover up the facts and provide cover for the officer. And this is highly problematic. It has the law enforcement agency declaring that it is “above” the law.

Here is the relevant statute on the CIVIL violations of law for not producing the records upon lawful demand:

610.100 Revised Missouri Statutes:

6. Any person may apply pursuant to this subsection to the circuit court having jurisdiction for an order requiring a law enforcement agency to open incident reports and arrest reports being unlawfully closed pursuant to this section. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the law enforcement officer or agency has knowingly violated this section, the officer or agency shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount up to one thousand dollars. If the court finds that there is a knowing violation of this section, the court may order payment by such officer or agency of all costs and attorneys’ fees, as provided by section 610.027. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the law enforcement officer or agency has purposely violated this section, the officer or agency shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount up to five thousand dollars and the court shall order payment by such officer or agency of all costs and attorney fees, as provided in section 610.027. The court shall determine the amount of the penalty by taking into account the size of the jurisdiction, the seriousness of the offense, and whether the law enforcement officer or agency has violated this section previously.

And here is the statute on the CRIMINAL penatles for knowingly violating this law:

610.115. Penalty.

A person who knowingly violates any provision of section 610.100, 610.105,610.106, or 610.120 is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

I will have more information and analysis tomorrow and in the next few days on what is being learned from this important use, by citizens, of public records laws and the public records obtained by them to both investigate what is going on in those two police agencies and in an effort to hold those agencies and their officers and officials to account under the law they are sworn to uphold and to the public for whom they are supposed to serve.

I can add one further dimension to this. In the wake of the reports in the media that there was no report or that the report contained no narrative statements of the officer – many have surmised that this was the result of what is know as the Garrity Rule. That rule, deriving from a US Supreme Court decision in the 1970s, states that a government employee cannot be coerced to provide incriminating testimony against himself – based on the fifth amendment right. The reason this applies to government employees, and not private sector ones, is because that amendment states that the government – not private entities – cannot compel a person to give self-incriminating testimony.

This idea however is fundamentally flawed. The reasons is that an Incident Report is not testimony in an investigation by the government agency into the actions of the officer. It is, instead, a routine duty of the officer and an essential and necessary part of the Department’s mission to enforce the laws and to conduct proper and effective policing to the public.

See for example the following from Watson v. County of Riverside, 976 F. Supp. 951 (C.D. Cal. 1997)

“Accordingly, the court finds that the report in issue here regarding Watson’s arrest of an incarcerated prisoner WAS a requirement of plaintiff’s job and DID NOT constitute a compelled self-incrimination. As the element of compulsion was absent, the court finds that there is not a reasonable probability of success on the merits of Watson’scontention that his Fifth Amendment right was violated by defendants when they ordered him to write the report. In weighing this factor against the balance of hardships and possibility of irreparable injury to Watson, the court will DENY the motion as resting on this assertion.”

Most significantly to the reporting and the editorial comments on the inappropriateness of this lack of information being provided to the public, in the incident report, is that this court explicitly recognized not just the routine nature and duty of filing of Incident Reports by the officer and the essential function they play in the agency’s fulfillment of its mission. But they explicitly state that this information being made public is “crucial” to the public’s confidence in those agencies and their officers.

“A police officer’s DUTY to provide a report concerning his official actions is an ESSENTIAL element in the administration of our criminal justice system, and CRUCIAL to the maintenance of public confidence in it.”

Now there is one caveat about the mistaken claims that Officer Wilson did not provide this report due to the Garrity rule. While there is no coerced self-incrimination in requiring an officer to file a routine Incident Report that could invoke Garrity – an officer may still choose invoke the fifth amendment if they believe that the filing of the report, or particular information in it, may be “incriminating.” In that case they do not have the same protections as provided under Garrity – and they may be disciplined and even fired for insubordination or failing to fulfill the duties of their office.

HOWEVER, if an officer does invoke their fifth amendment right, they must do so explicitly and formally. Thus if such an invocation of the right against providing self-incriminating testimony occurred on the part of Officer Wilson there would, again, have to be a public record to this effect. So I made that request of the Ferguson Police Department. In their response, that there was no such record, they have thus answered the question: No, Wilson has not invoked the fifth amendment.

[REQUEST 5th AMENDMENT] [scribd id=237643727 key=key-vKT8D0enJpRpGOarjwSH mode=scroll]

Thus we are left with a bigger story than simply Officer Wilson’s actions that led to the death of Mike Brown – which could and certainly to a reasonable person without a bias for law enforcement would appear to be an unjustifiable shooting and thus have resulted in an unlawful homicide.  (Not all homicides are unlawful – but there are also various forms and level of crimes when the killing is unlawful, such as negligent homicide, manslaughter, and yes the various forms of murder – all potentially to be considered in this shooting)  Unfortunately there are those who would shield all police officers from the consequences of their actions under the law – for either mistakes or wrongdoing.  A shield that is denied to ordinary citizens.  But police officers must be held accountable, at minimum, under the same laws and standards as the rest of us.  A good argument can be made that their standards ought to be even higher.  But it is simply not legitimate to have police subject to a lower and different standard of law than the citizen.

[RESPONSE 5th AMENDMENT] [scribd id=237643726 key=key-VDxN7YVvDiBKKrOQqTTt mode=scroll]

But now we also have the evidence to demonstrate that not only one, but two, police agencies – and thus the officials in charge of those agencies – are willing to thwart the law, deny the public its rights, and claim effectively they are “above” the law. All this in an effort to cover-up and conceal from the public just what happened that day in the streets of Ferguson. To cover for a “fellow” officer. This abuse of power and authority simply cannot be tolerated in a free and democratic society committed to the rule of law.  It is the root cause both of the significant problem of police abuse of force and authority/power across the country and the growing loss of public trust and confidence in the police.

NOTE: The Sunshine Law ALSO defines, in a broader CATEGORY of “Incident Reports” OTHER reports – such as the CAD Report [Computer Aided Dispatch] and other logs – and these also are supposed to contain more than just the date, time, and location – but should include, not a narrative statement, but a log of the dispatchers statement and the officers response or a description of what was being sent via the dispatch.

You can see in the Ferguson robbery report that this information (as well as the narrative statements missing from the actual Incident Report itself) is contained in the associated CAD report.  You can also see that this is missing from the CAD report released by the St. Louis County Police in addition to  the narrative statements missing in the Incident Report itself.

This is clear evidence that this incident is being treated DIFFERENTLY than all other incidents – and that the Departments, not just Officer Wilson, are willing to violate both the policy and law to withhold this information from the public – even though it is their legal duty to produce it and our right to obtain it.

This is thus evidence that both agencies – and thus their commanding officers – deem themselves to be “above” the law. Evidence that they approach the law, and law enforcement, without an actual respect for the law. And that they believe there are “two sets” of laws – one that they enforce on “us” the citizens, and another for “them.”

Herein lies the core of the problem with the out-of-control police across the country.

It thus becomes incumbent on the Citizenry itself to hold them to account and to force the system to enforce the law upon the agencies they entrust with authority and the power to exercise it.

The public has reserved to police officers officers the exclusive authority to use the ultimate force – the deadly force of a gun – but only when such actions are absolutely necessary to prevent further loss of life.  And only when those actions and the required responsibilities afterwards are fully and faithfully within the established policies and laws.  Without this restriction that power would be – and thus is being – abused.

Police are expected to respect both the public they are sworn to serve and protect and the laws they are sworn to uphold and defend. Until police are held to, at minimum, the same standards as the rest of us – they will continue to abuse their power and to cause real harm, including the most significant form thereof, and thus literally “get away with murder.”



Charlie Grapski, who is heading PINAC’s new Open Records Project, can be reached at

About Charlie Grapski

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  • brunocerous

    Ferguson police are so far up the creek, they won’t even realize it for years to come.

    • Guest

      They face no consequences for being traitors.

  • nospamformo

    You are on this like a big dog on a bone. Keep it up. Overall great article. However, you stated that:

    “The public has reserved to police officers officers the exclusive
    authority to use the ultimate force – the deadly force of a gun – but
    only when such actions are absolutely necessary to prevent further loss
    of life.”

    The Citizens have not granted the police any such exclusive right. In most, if not all states, citizens can protect themselves and others from death or grave bodily harm by using deadly force, which in most cases constitutes using a gun. And in many states citizens can open carry their guns just like the police.

    I believe I understand what you were trying to convey, but the assertion above is incorrect as stated.

    • Charlie Grapski

      That is different. But the distinction can be drawn out to what you are saying as well.

      • Chip Seal

        We have granted them greater arrest powers.

        • Charlie Grapski

          And they are the only GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS given such power/authority to use deadly force. That was my point.

          • nospamformo

            The police have the power to use deadly, but so do scores of regulatory agencies that have become militarized. M16s for the EPA? Really?

          • Charlie Grapski

            I think what is going on – is those agencies now have “police” under their jurisdiction.

  • Difster

    Excellent work Charlie. It will be interesting to see how much deeper they dig their own hole.

    Sadly, I fear no officials will actually face criminals charges even though the law was blatantly violated.

  • Boko Hos

    Great work. I can’t wait to see what happens. Maybe they can call ECLS and get some free legal advice.

  • inquisitor

    Great work Charlie.

    Sounds like bullshit that their email was down because of cyber-attack.

    I wonder what would present itself if you did a public records request for the exact dates and times their email was down.
    And whether or not there are records of other emails during this timeframe proving their email was working just fine.
    Seeing how it was a criminal attack from Anonymous there must be some type of incident report available to prove this actually occurred.

    • Chip Seal

      Calls would have been made to IT to troubleshoot, so there would be a paper trail if the system actually crashed.

      • Charlie Grapski

        Working on that. Its on the back burner though.

    • patb2009

      and ask for all IT Service requests related to the failed IT system. All trouble tickets,
      all repair tickets…

  • Fedup

    I must admit, I’m torn on this issue. Granted, I recognize that LEOs all over the country are high on power, corrupt to the gills, and willing to do anything to cover their own. But, I also have had many experiences (grew up in the not-so-nice areas of Washington, D.C) with the cocky, demanding, and “you owe me everything” entitlement mentality that has been cultivated in the poor, urban, black community. They may not have much compared to most, but their feeling of having been wronged, and the corresponding attitudes make up for it.

    For example, seeing how Brown was leaving with the cigarellos and heading out the door, when the store employee/owner said something, Brown stopped his exit, reversed his direction, puffed up his chest, and using his body language stated “you want more of this?!” to further intimidate the much smaller guy. Classic bullying. Does that warrant death? Absolutely NOT. But it helps paint a better picture of how untouchable, tough, and intimidating this kid thought he was.

    So it’s easy for me to accept the narrative that a cop who asks such a person to stop blocking traffic might well receive some resistance – which if not de-escalated, could turn into a fist pounding. A guy standing outside a car has substantially more leverage (never mind the size and strength mismatch) than a person sitting inside a car. If this kid felt like he was going to get busted for the stollen goods, I can also invision how he would do whatever is necessary to get away (i.e. punching the cop or even trying to take his gun).

    Finally, as Brown tried to retreat, imagine what it did to his ego to have a scrawny little white man bark an order to stop. The fact that that scrawny white man had a gun drawn on him for the prior assault incident didn’t phase the entitled Brown. No, just like in the store, he turns and starts charging the cop. This may seem far-fetched an unreasonable to those who have not had first-hand experience with violent entitled poor black youth, but these are the same guys who think nothing of drive-bys and mugging their own for a pair of shoes.

    Now, the cop, have already received a beating in the car, has a genuine fear for his life. Yes, Brown was unarmed, but with the size, speed, and strength disparity, if Brown gets another crack at Wilson, there’s little doubt who will end armed and who won’t. So, Wilson had a legitimate fear for his life.

    It sickens me to defend a cop, but out of all of the scenarios that I’ve seen so far, in my own mind (again, shaped by my own life’s experiences), I think this one makes the most sense.

    Why the City is playing these games, I don’t know. But the idea that this is a racist copy who’s just looking to murder a black kid “hunting him down like a rabid dog” is the lease plausible.

    • Steve_Mart1n

      There is SO much I could say about your post, picking it apart piece by piece… and there are a lot of pieces able to be picked apart…

      However I will simply say this, you make a vast majority of assumptions, assumptions that are not backed up by the known facts to date and more than a few that are straight pulled out of your ass (ex: “A guy standing outside a car has substantially more leverage (never mind the size and strength mismatch) than a person sitting inside a car.” Absolute bullshit since the guy in the car can always drive away quickly to a safe distance to exit the car).

      You really need to re-read this with a lot larger set of blinders on so you stop being distracted by the nickelodean going on to the right and left… i.e. stay in the center because right now, your comment is anything but due to your overwhelming number of assumptions.

    • Dolt

      2 wrongs do not make a right. Given the fact that one of the wrongs was delivered by a government agent who killed an unarmed citizen, that wrong deserves much, much more of the focus.

      Race need not even enter the picture here. This is about abuse of authority. Militarization of police force. The deprivation of rights of the press and 1st amendment by those trying to expose such, And a large scale government cover-up of both.

  • Juan Montoya

    why do YOU use capitol letters so often ? there is no NEED to do so. please EXPLAIN yourself.

    • Charlie Grapski

      Because I CHOOSE to do so.

  • purosol

    Photography is not a crime…..but strong armed robbery is !!

    • Charlie Grapski

      Not punishable by death – is it?

      • Gregor

        No, it isn’t. But when you are 6’4″, 300# and are charging at a person who has the means to defend themselves… deadly force is perfectly acceptable. Even when you’re white.

        • Steve_Mart1n

          He was charging??? According to who? 1 cop.

          But 2 witnesses and the available to date forensic evidence, including the cops own statement about being a significant distance away don’t mean shit, right?

          What happened to the taser? Batterys low or something???

          35 feet, body to patrol car… officers own statement saying the subject was a significant distance…

          but you go ahead and brown nose.. I have a feeling you excel at that and that alone.

          • Scott

            The family’s forensic team stated that they could not tell how far away he was when shot and that the wounds could be consistent with a person charging towards the officer but they need to examine the clothing to be able to tell more.

            I have not seen the officers own statement about the shooting. Is this something I missed?

          • Steve_Mart1n

            The families forensic team concluded that the shooting was definitely not close range, due to the lack of GSR and splintering/tearing around the wounds, that means it was a greater than 4′ away shooting.

            The lack of GSR was confirmed in the initial county autopsy as well.

            The polices own measurements place the body 35′ away from the patrol car, the place where the OFFICERS OWN STATEMENT (verbal via the Dept – no official written statement have been released) places him when he was shooting.

            The COULD BE consistent statement – that means nothing, just that it’s possible, nothing more.

            The charging aspect was brought up since one round entered the top of the head, traveled through exiting the lower chin and continuing on into the torso… in which case it’s possible he was charging..

            it’s also possible he was falling forward after being hit initially,
            it’s also a possibility he was on the ground flat with his heads top towards the officer,
            it’s also possible several other things… like the officer firing after Brown was already down…

            Also, so what if he was charging.. he was clearly, from the body position and the officers own statements, at a range far enough that a taser WAS an option, one that was clearly never even thought of.

            It has also been verified that 1 round was discharged INSIDE the squad car, supposedly during the ‘struggle’ where Brown tried to get the gun… then where is the GSR on Brown??? A gunshot inside the enclosed space of a car would have coated anything in the car, like Browns arm/hand where he was trying to get the gun, with GSR.. but there was none on Brown…. curious…

          • Scott

            The family’s forensic experts said that they could not conclude anything at this point.

            I have not seen the officers statement – can you point me in the right direction?

          • Steve_Mart1n

            There is no written statement from the officer, since they did not make him right one. (which is a problem in and of itself)

            The statement was verbal and relayed to the media during one of the initial press statements made by the County Sheriffs office. I am sure it’s on youtube.

            The families forensic expert DID conclude that the shooting was NOT at close range due to the lack of GSR – don’t ignore that little detail.

          • Charlie Grapski

            No. He concluded many things.

          • Charlie Grapski

            Its something intentionally being withheld.

          • Gregor

            According to the evidence. He was shot in the top of the head. I’ll trump your two witnesses with the twelve who have been reported to back up the officer’s story.

          • Steve_Mart1n

            What 12 witnesses???

            So far we have not seen them, heard from them, none have been interviewed…. except by the cops…

            Where are they, IF they exist.

          • putaro

            If you watch police shootings, for example the shooting of Kajieme Powell,you’ll see that police officers tend to continue firing after the target has fallen down. That’s as good an explanation as that he was charging at the officer. In fact, at Brown’s height, it’s unlikely that even if he was charging he’d have brought his head down far enough for Officer Wilson to shoot him in the top of the head.

          • Charlie Grapski

            OK – produce a (valid) source that say that twelve witnesses say anything like that. Its just not true – I know some very non-credible web sites are posting this – its just not true. Not one single witness has taken the position you claim.

        • Charlie Grapski

          No – not for police officers. Not under the law.

          • Gregor

            I don’t give a damn about the law when it comes to self-defense. As much as I dislike cops, they are entitled to defend themselves from a true attack. This cop supposedly had no prior complaints, which is telling. Most of these jackbooted, badged, egomaniacal thugs have a complaint sheet a mile long.

          • Steve_Mart1n

            “This cop supposedly had no prior complaints, which is telling. ”

            Yeah, it’s telling that he got away with it up until now.

            Oh so he’s go no complaints… SO WHAT!!! EVERYONE HAS NO COMPLAINT UNTIL THE FIRST ONE!

            What an asinine excuse for you to even offer

        • Elliott Whitlow

          I think we need to consider those claims in light of the lack of evidence of actual injury to the officer and the agencies actions in the matter.
          Am I saying it didn’t happen? No, I AM saying that we need more actual evidence to support that position. And when the agencies play games with records that there is no possible debate are to be produced it leads honest people to ask uncomfortable questions.

          • Gregor

            But, at this point it’s not the public’s responsibility to weigh in on the matter. Yes, public records are public records. But there’s a process for any potential criminal case. And it certainly is not indictment-by-public-outrage. Can you imagine if every case was handled in that manner? The public needs to get out of this situation and let the process begin. The records will have to be made available during discovery, if there’s an indictment and trial. If there is no indictment, then Reichsmarschall Holder will be sure to get a federal indictment, even if there’s no cause. If for some strange reason there is no federal indictment, then the public should do the records requests and seek justice, if called for, based upon the contents of the records.

          • Elliott Whitlow

            I have to disagree, in the end WE are the END authority on all actions performed by the police.

            The process defined by law has NOT been followed, the requests for the documents have not been fulfilled as they are required to be, so perhaps arguing that there is a process would carry more weight if the people required to follow it WERE. THESE records are required to be available NOW, not later, NOW. So refusal to provide them or playing games with them gives reasonable people a reason to ask WHY, and they should. When government actors refuse to do their statutory jobs the people have a right to demand WHY and demand punishment of those who fail.

            While I agree that an indictment by public outrage as you call it or indictment in the court of public opinion which is what I call it, is not necessarily the right approach it has become clear that the police have learned that there is little repercussion for what most of us would consider murder. People are finally waking up to the fact that many innocent people are dying due to the negligence and lack of oversight. I don’t know whether THIS shooting was valid, I go back and forth, my mind is open to the possibility that THIS shooting was indeed valid BUT I need to see evidence to support that position. Unfortunately there are many shootings that are NOT valid, written off as “the officer was in fear for his life” when that wasn’t really true. Beyond that how much fear should he endure before he is authorized to fire, because the standard now is about a half second.

          • Charlie Grapski

            It is ALWAYS the “public’s” role and responsibility.

          • Charlie Grapski

            The records are THE PUBLIC’S records – and they have a RIGHT to them – not when the department feels they want to give them – but at all times.

        • patb2009

          If he was charging, where is the incident report?

          • Charlie Grapski

            And where does that constitute a deadly force? To be met with deadly force?

    • Steve_Mart1n

      Yes, it is.. for which you get ARRESTED, TRIED and INCARCERATED (if guilty)… not murdered by an overzealous control freak who had NO idea that the person (Brown) he was interacting with had any connection to the strong arm robbery… that’s per the officers OWN statements….

      • Ordinary Citizen

        You’re missing the point – Mr. Brown knew that he’d just committed a strong armed robbery, and when he was pulled over by Officer Wilson reacted accordingly. Mr. Brown had just left a crime scene and, one can reasonably assume, was ‘on guard’ at the thought that the police finding him. Unless, of course, you’re willing to concede that strong armed robbery was a normal part of Mr. Brown’s life and he wouldn’t have given it a second thought once he left the store with his stolen blunts.

        Given that Mr. Brown had just ‘gotten away’ with strong armed robbery, along with physical intimidation of the store owner, he tried it again on Officer Wilson. A struggle ensued, in which Mr. Brown regrettably lost his life.

        It’s not what the cop knew or didn’t know…it’s what Mr. Brown knew that caused the confrontation.

        • Steve_Mart1n

          You entire comment is nothing but assumption.

          You torpedo’ed your own argument when you said ‘reasonably assume’ – fancy speak for you don’t know so you are going to ASSUME – end of story.

          • Ordinary Citizen

            As usual, you’ve completely missed the point.

            Whether your ignorance is from sheer stupidity, or simply because you’re sticking your fingers in your ears and stamping your widdle feet to avoid a conversation which doesn’t completely agree with your opinion, remains to be seen.

        • putaro

          It would be interesting if that was the narrative in the Incident Report. Tellingly, the Incident Report is empty when it is the best avenue for Officer Wilson to get his side of the story heard. I think he couldn’t even concoct a lie that lined up with the physical evidence OR what he wrote shows that the use of force was not not justified and the department is stonewalling.

          If the Incident Report had a narrative like it’s supposed to we’d at least have a “he said, she said” situation between Officer Wilson and the eyewitness statements. As it is, we have multiple matching accounts from the other eyewitnesses and NOTHING from Officer Wilson. Hmmmm….

          • Ordinary Citizen

            I’m not basing my comments off of a blank Incident Report.

            I’m basing my comments off of information given by the Chief during the press conference when the Gentle Giant’s strong armed robbery video was revealed.

          • putaro

            The press conference on Aug 15th? I reviewed the video ( and during that conference Chief Jackson never discusses the shooting, only the video and the alleged robbery. You are making up a story about Michael Brown’s state of mind and what happened that has no basis in fact. It’s pure supposition. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but you can’t say you’re basing it off the Chief’s remarks.


            Funny thing… Chiefs lie… Here in Albuquerque the Chief originally justified the murder of a homeless man camping in the mountains by his police… He originally justified the murder of a man holding a cell phone… I could go on… They lie to cover their own behinds… It is an insurmountable wall that cops put up to cover for each other… Most cops are good cops BUT when they aid in protecting bad cops sadly they have become just as bad…

          • Charlie Grapski

            If the Chief had information – where did he get it from if the officer wrote no statement? Or is it OK for the Chief to make things up?

          • Ordinary Citizen

            Shouldn’t you be asking HIM that question?

          • Steve_Mart1n

            “Shouldn’t you be asking HIM that question?”

            So NOW you say that, meanwhile in earlier comments you are speaking as if you know everything, refusing to accept even other possibilities… you really are a troll… a shitty one

          • Ordinary Citizen

            “Know everything”? Seems like that’s your self appointed role.

            Unlike you, it’s just my opinion, not some revealed wisdom for all to acknowledge while we murmur and wait for more brilliance from your keyboard.

          • Steve_Mart1n

            Thanks for admitting that all you are posting is your opinion, it sure did not sound like it from your posts. Too bad for you, opinions are often nothing more than assumptions. A statement you have proven correct easily.

            Meanwhile all that i have posted is actual information, not assumptions about states of minds, especially of a dead man (pretty convenient for you).

            You must be a mind reader, someone call Guinness quick….

            Don’t bother replying, I am done wasting time on the idiot you are.

          • Ordinary Citizen

            Thanks for proving my point. Your grand pseudo-facts seem concrete new, but may tur to quicksand in less than a heartbeat.

            No matter. You’ll claim you were right all along. Enjoy the view from your lofty perch.


          IF there was a struggle and Brown was shot during a struggle or withing 5 feet of the officer he would have been covered in GSR… There was NO GSR on Brown… Interesting eh???

        • Charlie Grapski

          Yes – this “mindset” argument is circulating around the internet. It is irrelevant – but that doesn’t matter. Just keep repeating it.

          The law – however – in this case – depends on WHAT THE COP KNEW.

          • Ordinary Citizen

            “Circulating around the internet…”? Do you have some sort of CharlieGoogle analytics working in the background, or should we just take your word on it?

            Luckily, I can form my own conclusions without the need to resort to popular opinion as a nudge towards consensus.

            Thanks for taking the break from your minutiae-driven wild goose chase, though.

          • Charlie Grapski

            Been watching as that “claim” has developed.

          • Ordinary Citizen

            Well, that’s…objective…I guess.

      • Gregor

        But Brown knew that he had a connection with a robbery. Which goes to HIS state of mind. In order to be arrested, tried and incarcerated (if guilty) you have to make sure you comport yourself in a manner that assures you will make it to the jail. If you become a deadly threat to the arresting officer by acting inhumanely, well, you’re probably not going to make it to the jail. And rightly so.
        The cop (with whom I was acquainted) who captured Ted Bundy also did not know he was a criminal. But Bundy knew… and that’s explains the manner in which he acted with Patrolman David Lee.

        • Steve_Mart1n

          No, it does not. You are making an ASSUMPTION about his state of mind.

          IF you become a deadly threat to an officer – IF – to which we have ZERO evidence of and a lot of evidence against.

          Ted Bundy??? Give me a break – now you are just trolling

          • Gregor

            I give up on all of you sad, little lemmings. I’ll be thinking of all of you when the truth is revealed.
            I’ll leave you all with this little nugget of truth.
            Michael Brown… the poor little gentle giant, would be alive today if he had been a law-abiding citizen.
            Heil Sharpton!

          • Ordinary Citizen

            My, my. I am completely mystified why you shout your own story as some sort of proven fact, which it’s not, while ignoring a completely plausible alternative theory.

            If you’re going to completely believe one side of the story and completely discount the other side, why bother interacting with other people at all? I’m sure that the local DA would love to have you stop by and tell them exactly how everything you say must be true and any other version of the story is false. That way he can send the grand jury home and get a good nights sleep.

        • Charlie Grapski

          Brown’s “state of mind” is irrelevant to the officer’s use of force. But you can keep spreading this myth.

  • Cynic in New York

    Government creates rules and refuses to follow them. Whos shocked by that one?

  • cattletracks

    The email wasn’t working because they got put on a spam list, either by hackers reporting them, or their email system was poorly designed and the hacker attack put them on the list. It would have taken an hour to get off the list by any IT person with half a brain, but seeing how they got busted by the global list in the first place, it’s probably some kid in his mama’s basemnt.

  • cattletracks

    Secondly, most email servers will try to resend email messages for up to three days if they don’t go through at first. Also, their email is hosted in LA, at a large McAfee data center, while their website is hosted in Wichita at another large AT&Tdata center, unlikely that a DDOS attack took them down. Burke is lying.

    • Charlie Grapski

      That is what I said to him. The emails took THREE days to bounce back as rejected.

    • Charlie Grapski

      If you can “think” of some good requests to make – starting tomorrow we are going to try and start coordinating requests to make and seeking people to agree to make particular ones (as opposed to the “Global” request approach).

      • Steve_Mart1n

        One thing I would request, is all digital server logs related to the ‘outage’ of their email, including but not limited to mail server logs and firewall logs to 1) prove the outage and 2) prove the outage if it was real, was due to what they claim, an attack.

        I would also request any and all IT reports and communications (important it’s worded as ‘communications’) relating to the outage as well as logs of any phone conversations relating to the outage, irregardless of the format (dept. land line, cell phone, carrier pigeon, etc..)

        I would also request to know who provides their data/IT services and if a contracted entity, make sure the requests cover that entity as well (i.e. data center logs since I am sure if they are data center hosted, the data center would have been involved in fixing any outage)

  • Christopher Shepard

    Long story short, these departments are going to lose a lot of money to citizens in the wave of civil rights violations, and failure to follow Sunshine Laws.

  • Charlie Grapski

    The games have begun. Cornered with this production of a “non-report” Incident Report – I am able to PROVE they knowingly violated the law.

    So I have made requests that WILL prove this – and that they created a UNIQUE “report” just for this one case alone.

    They are now playing two predictable games (more on this later) – but I’ll give a heads up: Inordinate Delay and Exorbitant Fees – before they produce more records.

  • Guest

    Charlie, I believe you might even be able to nail jello to the wall.

    If you keep at it they will eventually dig their own graves for you.

    You may also want to request all email server log files from the before your requests started through current. You should be able to quickly determine if there actually were any system attacks, down time or if the emails really were received or not. At this point it is clear that every single thing they say needs to be verified with some sort of documented proof other than their statements.

  • beaglebailey

    Thank you, Charlie for reporting on this. The amount of effort you put in to getting the facts is to be commended!
    If I had any money, I would donate to your site.
    Maybe once I get a job I will be able.

  • Rogue cops cost us money

    It seems the the rest of the media has their head up their ass. Keep chugging Carlos. Ferguson PD must have done this before, but this time it will backfire right in their profiling racist ass.

  • patb2009

    what you need to request is every incident report filed in Ferguson MO in the 24 hours before the brown shooting, then ask for every incident report filed that day, then every incident report filed in the days since.

    what you want to look for is “Holes”, see if there are missing numbers.

    • Charlie Grapski

      I have made requests of this nature. More to come – they are trying to make it impossible to get those. They are now claiming no records for at least 15 days because there is a “state of emergency” and so many requests being made. The SINGLE person they have to answer requests – has taken the next three days off. And to get the month prior reports – they have demanded $35,000.

      • Guest

        I assume that is a flat $10 fee per report? I can see the courts supporting $10 for a single incident report as the reasonable cost the law allows but it doesn’t take 3500 times as much time and money to produce all the reports.

        • Charlie Grapski

          The law provides that they MAY (not must – they are supposed to lean toward not charging – when it is for non-commercial, public interest, purposes) charge.

          BUT – only the ACTUAL COST of duplicating the record.

          A two to ten page document – should cost – what – at maximum a dollar.

          • Guest

            Maximum of 10 cents per page plus hourly cost for duplicating plus hourly cost for researching the request.

  • James M Morriss

    Not to be too pessimistic about all your hard work but, SO?

    What is going to be done about it? We (anybody that fact checks the oceans of bullshit handed out by the PD) sift out all the relevant grains of information from the silo full of misinformation fodder; arrange it in such a way as to make it clear to five year old; we hand the information all to ….???
    WHO? The >Media<, so they can use words and syntax to misconstrue, obfuscate, and trivialize what it means; if they report the findings at all? Another police agency so the information can be ignored? How do we get someone slapped on the ass for not doing their job and arrested and fined for breaking these laws?
    I really want to know. I get so tired of allegations being made of wrongdoing by the police and them saying "prove it." So you get the proof and the police say "Yep it's happening we'll look into it. It's not going to stop though"
    How do we the people translate your hard work, Charlie, into the spanking the bastards involved so sorely need? I mean short of actually having a mob go start dragging offenders out and putting them in the in the stocks on the public square.
    Just a late nite rant after a shitty, frustrating day. I really want to know how to make your efforts fruitful. these turds broke the law. It was not the "legal division", it was a guy and he made a conscious decision to break the law to cover the collective PD asses.

    • Carlos_Miller

      It’s about inspiring you guys to do what he has done in your own communities. If everybody does it, every time they want something, then maybe we can start getting their attention.

      • James M Morriss

        Thanks Carlos, it worked.

        I have sent several requests to the Rowan county Sheriff for the
        department’s training and policy on photography and never received any
        reply. Same with the Salisbury PD. After reading this I want to try to
        do a FOIA request for it.

        What Charlie did here is, to me quite frankly, is amazing. It borders on magic. this article re-enforces something my father taught me and I passed to my children; what someone is NOT telling you is at least as important as what they are saying to you.
        Charlie’s knowledge of those laws and the reports was important in this case. I’m sure the cops were sure that their BS of what an incident report is would fly. This is why these kinds of things are defined internally in all really complex legal documents.
        To paraphrase Clinton”
        “It depends on what your definition of “incident report” is.”

    • Charlie Grapski

      Well – the objective is to demonstrate it and then bring it to two courts – the court of public opinion – and the actual court. There are civil penalties for violating the public records law. And “knowing” violation is a Class A Misdemeanor.

    • Charlie Grapski

      So I am putting together a strategy – for all of us to become part of – to put TEETH into the law – and to hold these official to account.

      This is what is so important and overlooked in the public records law. It HAS potential teeth – if the public fully exercises their rights.

      So stay tuned – this is going to be a long war with many smaller battles. But it can be won – in the end. And it needs to be fought.

  • Kerfuffulator

    Another excellent article. Charley, if you have not already done so, consider requesting when the Report Writing Policy was issued, who wrote it and any revisions to the policy that have been made in the past 5 years.

    • Charlie Grapski

      I have not even gotten the Policy yet (and I have stated if it was newly produced within the last month – to provide the prior one as well). They are delaying – saying a minimum of 15 days to get it – because of an alleged “state of emergency.”

      But their games will add up – to a major black eye – and perhaps more.

      • Kerfuffulator

        Also, what is the Policy for CHANGING Policies, or instituting NEW Policies.

        ie, did they in fact follow policy, when making the recent change? Given that the “new policy is contrary to State Law, I suspect the Policy Change can not be lawful, which of course should have consequences…

  • Charlie Grapski

    PARTICIPATE: EMAIL ME ( if you are willing to file requests in the next round of strategic requests.

  • Steve_Mart1n

    Interesting information coming about regarding the shooting specifics…

    IF this is verified…. why the pause in the shots???

    Oh of course… Brown must have stopped after the first shots… THEN charged the officer since of course everyone, even criminals, charge at the gun after the gun was fired at you…. (/sarcasm off)

    • Guest

      Michael Brown was shot at least 6 times in the front. So at the very minimum the last 6 shots had to be while Michael Brown was turned toward the cop. A few posters kept asking why cops shoot so many times and why they don’t shoot a few times, stop to see the result and then shoot some more if still necessary. So up pops an audio tape that suggests just that and now that’s not a good thing either?

      Could the cop have fired off 6 rounds hitting the kid 3-4 times in the right arm but he doesn’t go down. Pause, the kid is really ticked off now and launches a final charge that is stopped by 4 more shots with two of those to the head.

      He couldn’t have fired 6 shots while the kid was running away, none hit him and that doesn’t leave enough shots left for the wounds he did get. It doesn’t seem likely that in that rapid burst of 6 shots the kid suddenly turned around in time to catch 2 or more to the arm and then launched his attack that ended with 4 more shots.

      Maybe the tape is fake, what about the shot while they were struggling in the car? Was that before the recording started?

      It will be interesting to match up the audio tape with the witnesses including the cop’s statement. While you don’t expect exact matches due to faulty heat of the moment memory it will give some insight as to the credibility of the cop and the witnesses.

      • Steve_Mart1n

        And what about that shot in the car??? When Brown supposedly had his arm in the car, reaching for the gun….

        Interesting how there was no GSR on Brown…. a shot in an enclosed space like that would have covered any arm reaching in the window with GSR….

        • Guest

          Baden said there was no GSR on Michael Brown’s skin, it is unclear what he based that on and he made it clear that he didn’t have access to MIchael Brown’s clothing.

          • Steve_Mart1n


            In an enclosed space a gunshot would have spread GSR all around the inside of that car and Brown was wearing a short sleeve t-shirt – i.e. bare arms elbow down… the part that reaches in to get the gun as the officer claims… but no GSR on the body…

            Absolute BS… if any part of brown was in that car when the gun went off as the officer claims, where is the GSR?

            Too many things not adding up, this officer no matter what is lying out his ass.

          • Guest

            Why are you saying wrong?

            I’m asking what Baden based his statement that there was no GSR on Michael Brown’s skin and pointing out that he didn’t have access to the clothing.

            Baden examined the body after it was sent to the mortuary. I don’t know if the body had been washed, cleaned or was in the same state it was when the coroner examined it.

            The claim of the gun going off in the car was also made by Michael’s friend who asserted that the shot hit Michael.

            It remains to be seen if there was GSR on Michael or his clothing. You are of course free to jump to conclusions based on facts not in evidence.

  • TheMoneyGoRound

    LOL look at his underwear sticking out. What an ass clown. Sorry, can’t feel compassion for thugs.

    • KatieAnnieOakley

      He deserved to die for his underwear showing?

  • More video missing?

    Did they ever release footage from the cameras outside the gas station store?