Monday, December 1, 2014

It was Negative Campaign 101 against Michael Brown

There's plenty of good analysis out there about the distorted grand jury process that was used in Missouri to exonerate Darren Wilson.

Here's another thought about this tragedy and travesty: the authorities in Ferguson ran what was essentially a negative political campaign against Michael Brown,

It had all the elements, including:

*  The swift release of grainy store video showing Brown stealing cigars and shoving a clerk - - just like the menacing images you've seen a thousand times in negative political ads designed to enhance your fears and prejudice your attitudes as the campaign progresses.

* Opposition research against Michael Brown to further run up his negatives - - not conducted by political operatives, but by police investigators and prosecutors who dug up nuggets of one-sided or negative information that would be used later to assassinate Brown's character in front of the voters - - in this case, the twelve grand jurors.

*  Strategic leaks of information about the shooting and investigation - - Darren Wilson's alleged eye socket fracture, for example - - or from the grand jury process itself under the control of the authorities calculated to taint and steer public opinion to line up with the eventual, wired grand jury outcome.

*  The demonization and conviction of Michael Brown by this negative campaign was completed when the grand jurors heard Darren Wilson say that Brown looked like a demon.

An the votes were in - - Darren Wilson won, and Michael Brown lost, for the second time.

Darren Wilson has said his conscience is clear.

I wonder if everyone else involved in the campaign to convict the victim and get the perpetrator a get out of jail free card can say the same.


Anonymous said...

If you take out the "black" teenager and "white" police officer and just say a teenager and a police officer, how much does that change the entire scenario? Answer: Completely.

The entire problem with everyone rehashing this story in the media is to make it more than it is. Was it really? Yes, it was. But continually referring to the subjects as black and white only exacerbates the story and the outcome.

Were there issues with how the Grand Jury was convened? Yes. Were the proper procedures followed? No.

In the end, Michael Brown was no angel and Darren Wilson was no angel. Two wrongs don't make a right. Brown could have moved out of the street when asked or told to and Wilson could have backed off rather than provoking a face off.

I see people walking down the middle of our street all the time and I wonder what's wrong with the sidewalk. When sidewalks are icy it is understandable to walk in the street where it might be more slushy and less chance of slipping, but other than that all I want to know is why are you walking in the middle of the street?

Willy said...

There are lots of little tidbits to this whole thing that really stink...

Basically what Bob McCulloch did was use the grand jury as a little secret mini-trial, something it's not supposed to be used for. The grand jury when used as intended was simply supposed to evaluate the evidence to see if there is mere probable cause that a crime had been committed. Probable cause is a lower bar than beyond a reasonable doubt. The grand jury isn't passing final judgment on the actual crime. It's merely assessing the quality of evidence: could a reasonably prudent person find that X had committed crime Y based on the evidence presented.

And when a DA goes to a grand jury, they aren't required to present both sides of the argument. The DA-- under normal circumstances because DAs normally want an indictment from a grand jury-- presents his or her most favorable evidence for the charges. They don't have to present the arguments against that evidence or evidence to the contrary. It's just an attempt to get over the low bar of probable cause in order to simply bring the charges. From there, if charges are issued, the quality of evidence and the issues raised will have a full airing out in open court under the auspices of a judge and/or jury at a trial. That's where the counter-arguments are heard against the evidence.

McCulloch completely perverted the grand jury process. Not only did McCulloch NOT want to indict Darren Wilson. McCulloch basically wanted to try his best to completely exonerate Wilson in the eyes of media and the public. That's why he kept talking about how he laid out all the evidence before the grand jury. It made the whole process seem like a trial, and because the media and the public often don;t get subtle arguments, they went along with McCulloch and confused the two processes: a grand jury investigation and a trial. Much of the public as well as the media conflated these two processes and went along with McCulloch's tortured rendition of the grand jury process: if McCulloch presented all the evidence to the grand jury and Wilson was not charged, why then, not only was there bad evidence to bring charges, but Darren Wilson must be innocent! Why surely they would have brought charges if ALL the evidence were presented and they looked through all the evidence and Wilson had done something wrong! Therefore Wilson is completely innocent!

It was a real travesty of justice. I don;t know how McCulloch could say much of what he said with a straight face. He completely lied his way through everything, beginning to end. The other big lie of his was that this process as he presented it was the exact same process that every grand jury goes through.... And that just isn't true. Most grand juries hear only the strongest evidence for the charges being sought. They don;t hear both sides nor do they hear all the evidence as the Ferguson grand jury did.

Lastly, there was one other way that McCulloch and his team engaged in a negative campaign against Mike Brown: they continually and repeatedly stressed Mike Brown's pot use:

So while it's Darren Wilson who was supposed to be the one potentially facing charges, the prosecutorial team-- which is supposed to represent the victim in criminal proceedings-- spent a good portion of the proceedings actually attacking Mike Brown and trying to run him down with his alleged pot use-- as if smoking pot would make someone charge at a police officer who has their gun drawn.

A sickening display of good ol' boy justice.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Oooh, so close to reality. If you rove the racial identities from both Brown and Wilson, and the abuse of authority by the cop becomes obvious.

And thanks for proving James's point- why was Brown convicted without a chance to speak for himself? This is even before he was, you know, SHOT DEAD

Boxer said...

Shoot a boy and your conscience is 'clear'? I submit you never had much of one to begin with.