Avvo legal analyst Lisa Bloom covers Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict

Opinion, Crime, NakedLaw, News

Protests erupted last night in Ferguson, Missouri after the announcement that the grand jury would not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the August 9 shooting and killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Avvo legal analyst Lisa Bloom read the grand jury transcripts over night and offered her analysis on Twitter.

Lisa has covered the events in Ferguson over the past months here on Avvo’s NakedLaw blog.

The shooting of Michael Brown: Why it’s time to move beyond condolences

“President Obama offered his ‘deepest condolences’ to the family and community of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot to death by police Saturday.

‘I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,’ Obama said.

‘We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.  Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.’

Talk with one another? Prayers? With all due respect, Mr. President, we need more than calm reflection and quiet conversation. We need outrage. We need change…” Read full article.

The long, strange path to charges (or not) against the police officer who killed Michael Brown

“Seven weeks after Mike Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, the police officer who killed him remains uncharged and on salary. Why?

Six eyewitnesses have said publicly that Brown’s hands were in the air at the time the fatal shots were fired: Dorian Johnson, Piaget Crenshaw, Tiffany Mitchell, James McKnight, Phillip Walker, and a construction worker whose name has not been publicly released. Yet Wilson remains on paid administrative leave while the wheels of justice turn laboriously slowly in this case. An unusual grand jury proceeding that’s been predicted to take until November or longer has been hearing evidence just one day per week.

What’s not in dispute is that just after noon on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon, Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Brown in the middle of a residential street. An amateur rapper who aspired to own his own business, Brown had no criminal record and was set to start college two days later, studying engineering.

Because Officer Wilson never completed an incident report about the homicide and has given no public statements, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly what his version of events is. Through others, we’ve learned that he claims that Brown was “charging” or “rushing” him at the time the fatal shots were fired. No eyewitness has publicly corroborated that claim…” Read full article.

Anonymous to Ferguson KKK: ‘We are the law now’


1) After teenager Mike Brown was gunned down in the street on a sunny August Sunday, his blood literally ran in the street for four hours as his killer stood by. No arrest was made, though six witnesses have said publicly that Brown’s hands were up in the universal sign of surrender when he was fatally shot.

2) Officer Wilson, the shooter, was not even required to fill out an incident report explaining his killing of an unarmed civilian. Nevertheless, he has not been fired or even disciplined. He’s been on a paid leave since the killing.

3) Prosecutors did not file charges, an option available to them, though five of the six eyewitnesses who saw Wilson fire the fatal bullets into Brown’s head while his hands were up did not know either man in the incident. This is more than enough to establish probable cause, the lowest burden of proof in our legal system.

4) Prosecutors instead chose the secrecy of a grand jury proceeding, and then dragged it out, making getting to charges far more difficult by two highly unusual choices they made:

(i) putting on all the evidence as if this were a full blow trial; and

(ii) not recommending any particular charges be filed. As this same grand jury has been hearing other matters for months under standard operating procedure — where the prosecutor puts on a few witnesses and then advocates for specific charges — they will surely notice the difference.

In the unlikely event that the grand jury does indict, it would be in spite of, not because of, the prosecutor’s presentation of evidence in that room.” Read full article.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Avvo.

Photo via AP

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