Ferguson grand jury evidence reveals holes in investigation
Evidence reviewed by a grand jury tasked with deciding on whether or not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown had a lot of missing information.
In an interview with police investigators, Wilson admitted that after the shooting he returned to police headquarters and washed blood off his body — physical evidence that could have helped to prove or disprove a critical piece of Wilson’s testimony regarding his struggle with Brown inside the police car. He told his interrogator that he had blood on both of his hands. “I think it was his blood,” Wilson said referring to Brown. He added that he was not cut anywhere.
The first supervising officer to the scene, who was also the first person to interview Wilson about the incident, didn’t take any notes about their conversation. In testimony more than a month after the incident, the officer offered his account from memory. He explained that he hadn’t been equipped with a recorder and hadn’t tried to take any written notes due to the chaotic nature of the situation. He also didn’t write up any notes soon after the fact. “I didn’t take notes because at that point in time I had multiple things going through my head besides what Darren was telling me,” the officer stated.
The same officer admitted during his grand jury testimony that Wilson had called him personally after they both had been interviewed by investigators. Wilson then went over his account again with the officer. The officer told the grand jury that there were no discrepancies between Wilson’s first account in person and his second account on the phone. But the call raises questions about whether Wilson may have influenced witness testimony.
An unnamed medical legal examiner who responded to the shooting testified before the grand jury that he or she had not taken any distance measurements at the scene, because they appeared “self-explanatory.”
“Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there,” the examiner told the jury.
The examiner also noted that he or she hadn’t been able to take pictures at the scene — as is standard — because the camera’s batteries were dead. The examiner later testified that he or she accompanied investigators from the St. Louis County Police Department as they photographed Brown’s body.
An analysis of evidence also reveals that investigators did not test Wilson’s gun for fingerprints, nor did Wilson immediately turn his weapon over to them after killing Brown.
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