Recent forensic examination of the police cruiser, uniform and firearm issued to Officer Darren Wilson has revealed traces of blood belonging to Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri, this August. Revealed to the public by unnamed government sources, the results shone a new light on the federal investigation into the incident. The testing conducted by the FBI forensics team revealed that Officer Wilson’s gun was fired twice within the patrol car. One bullet pierced Brown’s arm, while the other missed. Blood was found along the interior panel of the car door, as well as on Wilson’s uniform and gun. According to the testimony Officer Wilson gave to investigators, he had been attempting to exit the vehicle when he pulled up to Brown, only for the teen to push him back and pin him down. Wilson then claimed that Brown scratched and hit him, causing the officer to fear for his life and draw his weapon. While it has been widely debated as to whether this evidence proves Officer Wilson’s account of what transpired or is, in fact, a fabrication leaked to the media in order to prevent his indictment, it most certainly leads to questions that have thus far gone unanswered.
Dorian Johnson, the friend accompanying Brown during the incident, and the eyewitness closest to the altercation, recounts an entirely different chain of events. While the two young men were walking across the street on their way home, Wilson pulled up alongside them and told them to get on the sidewalk. They assured the officer that they would return to the sidewalk once they arrived at their destination. Wilson at first continued forward before quickly reversing the vehicle, almost striking Brown and Johnson, and flinging open the door with enough force that it ricocheted off of the two. Johnson’s statement continues with Officer Wilson appearing to be the main aggressor in the struggle; grabbing the teen by the throat and attempting to pull him towards the police cruiser. As Brown struggled, Wilson drew his gun and fired, a claim that appears to be supported by the forensic evidence found on the cruiser’s door. The biggest difference within the two accounts is what is alleged to have transpired after the two initial shots, even with the current evidence already brought up in the investigation. As Brown attempted to flee, more rounds were fired at him, at which point Johnson and several other eyewitnesses claim that Brown raised his hands up in the air and declared that he was unarmed. The last shots that rang out took the young man’s life.
The response to the shooting was instant and fueled by communal outrage, as protests and riots ensued for weeks on end. The general populace has been dissatisfied by the overall lack of response from the judicial system, as well as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed commission that would “address the social and economic conditions” that led to Ferguson’s riots. Neither this proposal nor the current investigation seem to be addressing the issue of what transpired, and Officer Wilson has not yet been indicted. Legal analyst Paul Callan states that this new-found forensic evidence may be strong evidence in favor of Wilson’s testimony, but the case should be shifted to what transpired after Brown’s attempt to run away from the car. While it is true that police officers have the right to protect themselves and the public from possible threats, once Brown had surrendered with his hands above his head, according to Callan, he was legally no longer a threat and therefore, should not have been shot.
Speculation suggests that a decision will be made by early November, and social media sites have been abuzz with Twitter and Facebook updates from jurors on the case. Protesters representing Brown and those supporting Officer Wilson’s side wait to hear an answer. With the federal and local government’s investigation nearing completion, whether or not this latest revelation caused by the revealed forensic evidence is entirely up to the jury. Only they can decide what form justice shall be served.
By Justin Ochoa