Officer Darren Wilson's List of Admissions
March 15, 2017 1:57 PM   Subscribe

The Washington Post has a Request for Admissions court document in which Darren Wilson admits, among other things, that Michael Brown never went for his gun, that he shot at Brown while Brown was fleeing, and that, at the time, he was engaged to his training supervisor who watched as he destroyed evidence.
posted by AceRock (47 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
>41. Before drawing your weapon, Michael Brown had not displayed any weapon.

>Response: Objection on the grounds the term "weapon" is vague. To the extent Michael Brown's body (including his fists) constitute "weapons", this is denied.

>42. Before drawing your weapon, Michael Brown had not displayed any threatening object.

>Response: Objection on the grounds the term "weapon" is vague. To the extent Michael Brown's body (including his fists) constitute "threatening objects", this is denied."

To sum up: black people walking around in possession of their own bodies is grounds for shooting them.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:15 PM on March 15 [185 favorites]


I have no words.

Actually...I have quite a few choice ones.

I'm so angry and tired, all at once.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:16 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


I can only imagine that he would admit these things because he knows that he will never, ever have to answer for his crimes. There aren't words for how upsetting this is.
posted by indubitable at 2:20 PM on March 15 [24 favorites]


That phrasing really struck me, too, Sing or Swim. RFAs tend to use very formalized/mechanical language, but that was telling.
posted by praemunire at 2:22 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Wesley Lowery, who reported on this case extensively at the time for the Washington Post (and was arrested in Ferguson), on these admissions.
posted by brentajones at 2:24 PM on March 15 [16 favorites]


Everything You Think You Know About the Death of Mike Brown Is Wrong, and the Man Who Killed Him Admits It (The Root, March 14, 2017)
New court papers reveal that Brown never tried to take the officer’s gun, never struck the officer and did not initiate any contact with Wilson, who was cleared of wrongdoing by a secret grand jury in November 2014.

As part of a civil suit filed last year against Wilson, a court document reveals some stunning admissions from the former Ferguson police officer. In a court docket filed Dec. 28, the cop who killed Brown admitted to using racial slurs, cursing at Brown before he was killed and grabbing him without provocation.
...
I’m sure this news will comfort the family, friends and loved ones of Brown, who only got 18 years on this earth, while the man who shot him rests comfortably in the free house he bought with the $500,000 in donations he received from supporters, who rewarded him for shooting the teen. While the Brown family still mourns their son, Wilson spends most of his time with his wife, who helped him bag his gun as evidence after he shot Brown, and their brand-new child.
I have no words left.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:25 PM on March 15 [65 favorites]


So, basically everything that was said at the time to make sure there was no accountability was an outright lie? Outside of the fact that just being black was enough to make Michael threatening?
posted by nubs at 2:25 PM on March 15 [10 favorites]


My first reaction is that it's pure bullshit to object that "weapon" is vague and to deny the request based on the notion that someone's body could constitute one. Apparently there's a motion to compel proper answers on these and other questions, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Court orders Wilson to drop the bullshit and give a straight answer.
posted by Zonker at 2:26 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


So if I understand correctly, this guy is walking around free, right? What happens because of this? Nothing?

It's a good thing there are Paid Protesters because being outraged at the shit that is wrong in this country is a full-time fucking job.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:26 PM on March 15 [26 favorites]


So if I understand correctly, this guy is walking around free, right? What happens because of this? Nothing?


Yep, he's free and living with his wife in the home bought with the money all his supporters raised to help the poor guy out. This document is part of the lawsuit against him, so there might be financial consequences down the road, I guess. Maybe.
posted by nubs at 2:30 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


Can he please go to jail now?

No?

Damn.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:30 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


114. Michael Brown's body had begun to fall to the ground before you shot him in the face.
RESPONSE: Denied.
115. Michael Brown's body began falling to the ground after you shot him in the face.
RESPONSE: Denied.


Unless there's a subtle difference between "had begun to fall" and "began falling" that I can't see, I presume that Wilson claims:
a) Brown's body was not on the ground;
b) Alternatively, he did not fall: he placed himself on the ground.
c) Alternatively, he began to fall at the exact moment he was shot in the face.

Is this sort of legalism typical? If so, why was the questioner so bad at phrasing questions? Too many of them have wiggle room, or assert a fact that wasn't yet admitted, or have a literal meaning that's obviously different from the one that was intended.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:39 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Civil suit. It still isn't justice, but I hope it ruins his effin' day.

People suck.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:40 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


>People suck.

Yeah, but racist cops are the worst.
posted by Catblack at 2:43 PM on March 15 [15 favorites]


How is it they couldn't be convicted for destroying evidence?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:46 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


no prosecutor will charge them, no grand jury would indict anyway...ugh
posted by j_curiouser at 2:50 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Per the DOJ report, Wilson's claim was that he drew the gun and then Brown went for the gun. Admitting Brown didn't reach for his gun while holstered doesn't mean he's changing his story.

In other words, I wouldn't read into this that Wilson is changing his story.
posted by jpe at 2:57 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


that he shot at Brown while Brown was fleeing,

I see he specifically denies he did at Q69. I don't see where he admitted it; I'm on a phone, though, and it's tough to read.
posted by jpe at 3:05 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Bottom line is that Wilson could have just driven on, minding his own business, and Michael Brown would be alive.

Wilson just had to stop and get up in the grill of two black kids walking in the street, for no good reason.
posted by JackFlash at 3:13 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


>People suck.

Yeah, but racist cops are the worst.


Yeah racist cops suck, but the people that actually support them, up to and including giving them money and rewarding them for their lies and murderous behaviors, are just as bad. They create the environment in which the racist action is absolved.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:18 PM on March 15 [23 favorites]


My first reaction is that it's pure bullshit to object that "weapon" is vague and to deny the request based on the notion that someone's body could constitute one.

If you deny based solely on one interpretation of an RFA, then it doesn't really matter if the interpretation is far-fetched. It's admitted for all other interpretations.

Is this sort of legalism typical? If so, why was the questioner so bad at phrasing questions? Too many of them have wiggle room, or assert a fact that wasn't yet admitted, or have a literal meaning that's obviously different from the one that was intended.

This is a formal procedure in civil litigation, so, yes, a lot of legalism. Drafting good RFAs is hard for this reason, and also because admissions are binding on the party, so a court is usually not going to be very aggressive in policing responses. A claim that a person began to fall at the exact moment he was shot doesn't actually strike me as outlandish, though; to cut that off, better language would be "at the moment or after..."
posted by praemunire at 3:19 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


In David Simon's book Homicide, there's an interesting part about how people who get shot don't actually always fall over at once, which can be surprising if you've only seen people get shot on TV and in movies.
posted by thelonius at 3:24 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


This post is very innacurate. Please read Wesley Lowery's explaination linked above.
posted by cyphill at 3:25 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


there's an interesting part about how people who get shot don't actually always fall over at once

I'm sure they don't, but it doesn't stretch the bounds of plausibility to say that one did.
posted by praemunire at 3:26 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but racist cops are the worst.

I would suggest the so-called-Good-Cops who turn a blind-eye to the racist cops are worse.

The worst are the so-called-Good-Cops who turn a blind-eye to the criminal cops.
posted by mikelieman at 3:26 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I know you can't be tried twice for the same crime, but you can be indicted and re-charged, right? Not that I think his will happen, but it's technically possible, yeah?

I'm sickened for the Brown family, everyone in Ferguson, and Black people generally. I wish this would make a dent in the racism of those who defended Wilson, but probably not.
posted by AFABulous at 3:36 PM on March 15


>My first reaction is that it's pure bullshit to object that "weapon" is vague and to deny the request based on the notion that someone's body could constitute one.

Of course it is. There's a legal distinction between being armed and being unarmed. "Armed robbery", for instance, is distinct from, and generally carries worse penalties than, plain old robbery, unless I completely misunderstand. If being in possession of fists or a body meant that you were armed then everybody would be armed all the time and the distinction would be meaningless. It's not just bullshit, it's the bad-tasting kind that makes you wonder how some people can stand to have it coming out of their mouths all the time.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:39 PM on March 15 [12 favorites]


Okay, I read Wesley Lowery's tweet thread and I see his perspective. I trust him, he's been there from the beginning. I talked to him (online) briefly when we had our own "officer involved shooting" here in Milwaukee (and ensuing riot).
posted by AFABulous at 3:39 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Wesley Lowery, who reported on this case extensively at the time for the Washington Post (and was arrested in Ferguson), on these admissions.

Lowery says in one tweet that it's untrue that "New court papers reveal that Brown never tried to take the officer's gun...", but then like two tweets later he's saying that Wilson "admits" that Brown did not "try to remove your gun from your holster." That is not same as admitting Brown never "reached for gun".

That doesn't make any damn sense. How the crap can you say that it's untrue that court papers reveal that Brown never tried to take the officer's gun when Wilson admits that Brown did not try and remove the gun from the holster? How does someone try and take a gun without trying to remove it from its holster? Is he trying to say Brown was trying to remove the gun with the holster attached? Was he saying that Brown was reaching for a gun but not trying to take it?

Lowery seems full of crap to me.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:47 PM on March 15


There's a legal distinction between being armed and being unarmed.

In some contexts, yeah. But theres no such distinction in self-defense law. Wilson's claim is that Brown assaulted him and went for his gun, so the fact that he wasn't armed doesn't mean self-defense wasn't warranted.
posted by jpe at 3:49 PM on March 15


That doesn't make any damn sense.

Wilson claimed he unholstered his gun and then Brown grabbed it. Brown didn't go for it while it was holstered.

The question was: did Brown try to unholster the gun.
posted by jpe at 3:50 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Gotcha. Appreciate the clarification.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:55 PM on March 15


The question was: did Brown try to unholster the gun.

The actual question IS, "What is the risk that Brown could defeat the retention holster holding the firearm?"
posted by mikelieman at 4:01 PM on March 15


>39. The holster you carry is designed to prevent someone from easily pulling your weapon from the holster.

>Admitted.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:08 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


It's unfortunate that this post seems to prominently feature a claim that isn't true: Darren Wilson admits, among other things, that Michael Brown never went for his gun
posted by layceepee at 4:15 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Objection on the grounds the term "weapon" is vague

I know little of how UK law works, let alone US law, but... in a case like this, wouldn't there be a definition of what a "weapon" is? And since we're talking about Brown trying to grab the officer's gun, why not say "gun"?
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 4:25 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Suggested edit (dunno if MeFi really edits post-text after the fact): Darren Wilson admits, among other things, that Brown never tried to take his gun from the holster, that his holster is designed to prevent someone from easily pulling his weapon from the holster,...
posted by 23skidoo at 4:28 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


This post uses misleading framing text and contains nothing but the raw document. Too late to delete, not sure it's worth taking to metatalk because there's no general principle at stake here. Just a post that needed a little more care.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:30 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Not much of a post if it's not telling us anything new. As stated, this doesn't contradict Wilson's earlier testimony.
posted by AFABulous at 4:31 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


And since we're talking about Brown trying to grab the officer's gun, why not say "gun"?

Well, it's a plaintiff's attorney trying to tee up juicey bits for trial. They probably asked that question hoping they could say "you admitted you shot an unarmed man!"

And thus the funny part where they ask Wilson whether the Incredible Hulk and demons are people. They're teeing up their grandiose crescendo where they thunder that Wilson admitted - under oath! - that he doesn't even think Brown was a human being.
posted by jpe at 4:35 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


The holster/reached for gun thing is, I would hazard a guess, part of a line of questioning trying to determine if Wilson had a reason to draw his gun at all. If you leave your gun in the holster, it's incredibly unlikely (especially if you're in your car) that anyone is going to take it from you. You need justification to pull out your gun. If someone attempts to reach for your gun once it's already out, then there's a different set of circumstances that are evaluated.

So the question remains: why the fuck would he draw his gun from inside the car, where he was sheltered?
posted by mikeh at 4:53 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Because he was afraid for his life! Just like he was afraid for his life when he *got out of the car* to fire at someone running away!
posted by uosuaq at 4:57 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


And thus the funny part where they ask Wilson whether the Incredible Hulk and demons are people.

They didn't use the word "people"; corporations can be "people". They asked whether they're human beings.

Hulk is the alter-ego ("other self") of Dr Robert Bruce Banner. He is a brave man who was injured in the service of his country, and I think it's quite hurtful that neither the prosecution nor the defense think he's a human being.

Demons, on the other hand, are (mostly?) not human, so I'll accept that answer on technical grounds while pointing out that it's using exclusionary language in a pejorative manner.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:02 PM on March 15


Sorry folks, this was indeed sloppy posting on my part. But I'm learning quite a bit from the ensuing discussion and I appreciate the links and comments that provide more clarity and accuracy.
posted by AceRock at 5:07 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


I've yet to figure out how much of this information is new or contradictory or newly damning. My initial googling suggests that the information about tampering with blood and gun evidence while his fiance, who was also his training officer, was present for at least some of it, and who knows what she was saying or doing to help him, but she certainly wasn't stopping him, hasn't been known or widely reported until now. I mean, the tampering was, but not the suggestion about his fiance possibly colluding to get rid of damning evidence.

As far as the official story, it's still REALLY hard to believe his version of things unless you think Brown was some kind of superhuman monster who can take bullet after bullet, including a shot to the face, and still pose a threat, despite being unarmed. Wilson's testimony plays out like Brown was a boss zombie from the House of the Dead games.

This part of the RFA underscores this:
106. Michael Brown was always unarmed throughout the incident, and you fired your gun at him several times.

RESPONSE: Admitted.

109. You fired a volley of shots at some point after Michael Brown turned toward you.

RESPONSE: [some wiggle words about "volley" being vague etc] [T]o my understanding, admitted.

110. You fired your weapon at least ten times throughout the incident.

RESPONSE: Admitted. [my note: there were 12 total shots fired, I believe]

111. Your training requires that each shot be a justified use of deadly force.

RESPONSE: Admitted.

112. One of your shots struck Michael Brown in the face.

RESPONSE: Admitted.

116. After shooting Michael Brown in the face, you shot him in the top of his head.

RESPONSE: Admitted.

Also crucial: autopsy evidence shows that the last shot was what killed Brown, the last shot being the shot to the top of his head. Wilson's training required that EACH shot be a justified use of deadly force. So his story hinges on the idea that Brown just kept on coming - I'm sure I'm not getting the timeline right, but he was shot at close quarters to the car, he turned and fled, he was shot again, he turned back to face Wilson, more shots with 1-2 hitting him, he came lunging forward in a full sprint despite all this, also finding the time mid-sprint to reach into his waistband according to Wilson, more shots with 1-2 hitting him, nothing stopping him, then he's shot to the face, keeps coming, shot to the top of the head, he's finally down. This is remarkable, insane demon strength and perserverence the likes of which we haven't seen outside of horror movies and video games. That anyone can buy the story is really quite something. That the DOJ apparently found it to be 100% legit is, well, I still don't know how to process that.
posted by naju at 5:26 PM on March 15 [20 favorites]


>My first reaction is that it's pure bullshit to object that "weapon" is vague and to deny the request based on the notion that someone's body could constitute one.

Of course it is. There's a legal distinction between being armed and being unarmed. "Armed robbery", for instance, is distinct from, and generally carries worse penalties than, plain old robbery, unless I completely misunderstand. If being in possession of fists or a body meant that you were armed then everybody would be armed all the time and the distinction would be meaningless.


Unfortunately, the law is often not as simple as common sense would suggest. In at least some jurisdictions, for example, a "shod foot" --i.e., a foot with a shoe on it -- is a deadly/dangerous weapon. (And then you get into all sorts of arguments about soft shoes and sandals not counting... I literally have written a legal memo about whether a sneaker makes a foot "shod".)
posted by alligatorpear at 7:11 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


"Darren Wilson admits, among other things, that Michael Brown never went for his gun"

Not quite, but the reality is just as damning. Michael Brown Did not try to unholster his gun, and he was in the car. Michael Brown didn't touch the car door or the officer.

So why the hell was the sidearm pulled? If he imagined Michael Brown was "going for his gun" is immaterial, the gun should have never left the holster.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:48 AM on March 16


« Older Coming home to roost   |   "extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments