DAs May Have Misled The Ferguson Grand Jury, And No One Seems To Care

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A few days after the grand jury’s decision, in his “Last Word” segment, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out some very disturbing evidence of “mistakes” the DA made in the Ferguson grand jury proceedings. These “mistakes” are so unbelievably shocking, I thought for sure they would be all over the news. Even those who support Darren Wilson have to believe in the sanctity of our judicial process, right?


During the proceedings, St. Louis County assistant district attorney Kathy Alizadeh handed the jurors a copy of a 1979 Missouri statute saying police were “justified in the use of such physical force as he or she reasonably believes is immediately necessary to effect the arrest or prevent the escape from custody.”

However, the Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional six years later — a detail Alizadeh either did not know, or neglected to mention. Here is a part of that Supreme Court decision, as reported by the Daily Kos:

“The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so. It is no doubt unfortunate when a suspect who is in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot does not always justify killing the suspect. A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead.”

So that’s where the question, “Did Darren Wilson need to get out of his car and pursue Michael Brown?” would come in. A question that a trial could — and should — have answered. That question alone is reason for an indictment, no?

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