The New/Old Evidence From Ferguson

It would have been easy to miss in all the IS-o-mania of the last 48 hours, but CNN’s turned up some new–though actually original and eyewitness–evidence of what happened between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson on August 9 in Ferguson, MO.

[WARNING: There are some graphic descriptions of violence in the following passages]

Two men, shocked at what they saw, describe an unarmed teenager with his hands up in the air as he’s gunned down by a police officer.

They were contractors doing construction work in Ferguson, Missouri, on the day Michael Brown was killed.

And the men, who asked not to be identified after CNN contacted them, said they were about 50 feet away from Officer Darren Wilson when he opened fire.

An exclusive cell phone video captures their reactions during the moments just after the shooting.

“He had his f**n hands up,” one of the men says in the video.

The man told CNN he heard one gunshot, then another shot about 30 seconds later.

“The cop didn’t say get on the ground. He just kept shooting,” the man said.

That same witness described the gruesome scene, saying he saw Brown’s “brains come out of his head,” again stating, “his hands were up.”

The video shows the man raising his arms in the air — just as, he says, Brown was doing when he was shot.

The other contractor told CNN he saw Brown running away from a police car.

Could this be a game-changer for the grand jury investigating the shooting, which has been widely expected to exonerate Wilson? Maybe.

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin says the video could play an important role in the case.

“You have practically in real time someone discussing what they saw, and that’s just good evidence,” he said on CNN’s “AC360.”

Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, says it’s important to note that several witnesses are telling the same story.

“They’re saying that he was running from the police officer and that his hands were up,” she said. “I don’t know what other witness testimony at this point or account we have to hear. The bottom line is having your hands up is the universal sign for surrender.”

So we’ve always thought.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.