Shutting Down Ferguson

Yes, at some point, we all need to “move on” from what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, but as Digby says, not just yet and not without a protest at the grand jury’s statement of “facts” that aren’t quite facts.

Setting aside that there were plenty of witnesses who disputed Wilson’s account, that Wilson’s behavior after the event was highly questionable,that the Grand Jury process was bizarre and unusual, this whole line of discussion in a red herring. The reason people are upset about the non-indictment isn’t because they don’t believe Darren Wilson testified truthfully, it’s that his decision to shoot Michael Brown was based upon dubious justification. It’s perfectly fair to think that a trial is the proper place to sort out the question of whether a policeman should have killed an unarmed citizen under this set of facts.

You could believe that Brown was belligerent and that he reached for the gun and that he hit Wilson and still believe it’s wrong for a police officer to get out of his car and shoot an unarmed suspect who is several feet away from him. If there’s one part of Wilson’s story that it’s certainly reasonable to wonder about, it’s that he thought Brown was reaching for his waistband and charging him like a demonic, comic book super-villain. Some of us think that too many people are having this particular delusion and shooting too many unarmed kids and that the system is far too lenient about it.

Apparently this alleged “finding of fact” ends all the questions and means that we’re also supposed to agree it’s fine for police officers to shoot unarmed teenagers if they think they look like demons. Do we now have consensus on that? I hadn’t heard.

So no, we can’t just shut down talk about Ferguson because the grand jury has “spoken.” In this case, the facts certainly do not “speak for themselves.”

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.