Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Johnson ran toward the Monte Carlo after the first gunshot

In my previous article, I focused on the statements of Balcony Brother. In this article here, I will focus on the statements of his brother, Visiting Brother. The combination of both brothers' statements provides a reliable sequence of events surrounding Johnson's run toward the Monte Carlo. In particular, Johnson ran there immediately after Police Officer Darren Wilson fired his first gunshot from inside his police vehicle.

Following is the sequence of events. 

1) From his bedroom window, Balcony Brother watched Wilson's police vehicle back up and block Brown's and Johnson's path. Brown begin to accost Wilson at the vehicle.  Balcony Brother left his bedroom window before Johnson ran away from the vehicle.

2) Climbing up the apartment building's outside stairwell, Visiting Brother and Visiting Sister-in-Law likewise saw Wilson back up his vehicle and block Brown's and Johnson's path and saw Brown accost Wilson. Unlike Balcony Brother, they did see Johnson run away from the vehicle. 

3)  While Balcony Brother moved from his bedroom, through his living room and through the sliding glass door onto his balcony, Johnson ran away from the police vehicle.

When Balcony Brother came out onto his balcony, he saw Johnson standing near the tree in the photograph's bottom-right corner. Immediately after the first gunshot was fired inside the vehicle, Johnson ran toward the Monte Carlo, which had backed up to the driveway entrance in the photograph's upper-center.
4) After Balcony Brother came out onto his balcony and looked around, he saw Johnson standing near between the tree and the sidewalk on Canfield Drive's north side. 

5) Visiting Brother and Visiting Sister-in-Law went through the sliding glass door into the apartment but immediately turned around and joined Balcony Brother on the balcony. They too watched the scene from the balcony, but they focused on the police vehicle and did not notice Johnson.  

6) After the first gunshot was fired inside the police vehicle, Balcony Brother saw Johnson running on the sidewalk toward the Monte Carlo.   

7) The three witnesses retreated from the balcony back into the living room. They could see some of the event through the sliding glass door, but their view was obstructed. 

8) The three witnesses remained inside the apartment and heard the second gunshot. While they were inside the apartment, Johnson got into the Monte Carlo. 

7) When a silence continued for a while, the three witnesses came back out onto the balcony. At that moment, Brown was running up the street, away from the police vehicle. Then the three witnesses watched the final, fatal shooting of Brown. 

8) The white car drove away. After some discussion, the three witnesses agreed with Balcony Brother's supposition that Johnson might have entered into and departed inside the white car.  

Blue line = Monte Carlo
Black line = Police vehicle
Red lines = Johnson's run
A few hours after the incident, Visiting Brother was interviewed by a detective, who subsequently summarized his understanding of the incident's first part as follows. 
[Visiting Brother] said he and his wife pulled up to his [brother's] residence. As they exited the vehicle, [Visiting Brother] observed a police vehicle parked in the roadway. [Visiting Brother] saw a large person [Brown], whom he could not further describe, standing beside the driver's door of the vehicle. [Visiting Brother] said the person [Brown] had the upper portion of his body inside the driver's area of the vehicle. [Visiting Brother] said from his position, he could not hear any dialogue between the officer and the person.
[Visiting Brother] said he continued toward his [brother's] residence. While at the door, [Visiting Brother] heard what sounded like a gunshot. 
[Pages 50-51]
Visiting Brother's attention was attracted by the strange sight of Brown thrusting his upper body inside the vehicle. His attention toward the sight remained casual, however, until the first gunshot was heard. 


On August 16, a week after the incident, Visiting Brother told a fuller story to another detective. Now he and his wife perceived that Brown was struggling with Wilson at the vehicle while Johnson ran away. He and his wife saw the struggle continuing as they came onto the balcony. Then the gunshot scared them off the balcony and into the apartment. 

Visiting Brother I see them [Brown and Wilson] going back and forth. Mike is going back and forth with the police officer, and then that's when we heard the gunshot go off. 
Then me and my wife and my brother run inside the house. We stay there about thirty seconds, and then we come back out. 
[Visiting Brother interrupts his narration and mentions earlier actions.] 
[While] Michael still was struggling with the officer ... his friend ran. 
[Visiting Brother returns to his narration.] 
He [Brown] broke off. He finally broke away from the police officer, and he started to run down the street. He got to the edge of the driveway. He looked at his hand, and he turned around and started walking back toward the police officer. 
Detective  Prior to that [Brown breaking away], you were in the apartment? 
Visiting Brother  Yes. 
Detective That's a second-floor apartment?
Visiting Brother  It is.
Detective  You guys were standing on the balcony?
Visiting Brother  Um hum [yes]. If you're standing on [Balcony Brother's] porch, you have a clear shot straight down Canfield. 
Detective  Who was on the porch with you?
Visiting Brother  My wife, my brother and [the elderly mother].
[Pages 4 - 6]
On October 2, Visiting Brother testified to the grand jury and further elaborated his narrative. I have emphasized some words in order to emphasize Visiting Brother's changing locations. He watched an early segment of the incident while climbing up the apartment building's outside stairwell and then watched later segments from his brother's balcony.

Pay attention to his remarks about the Monte Carlo. I will address those remarks at the end of this article.  

Me and my wife was going up the steps. Then we turned and looked back down Canfield because we saw the officer's truck going down the street. He stopped in the middle of the street .... Then I saw the two gentlemen walking down the street. I don't know if he [Darren Wilson] said something to them. I guess they said something to the officer, and then they kept walking. ....
It was about 15 seconds, maybe 20 seconds at the most. 
As he [Wilson] is talking to the gentlemen, there was another white vehicle pulled up behind him. 
When the gentlemen started walking down the street, he [Wilson] in turn threw his truck in reverse and pulled it like he was trying to block their way of going back down Canfield.....  
From that point I turned around, and I told my wife they're down there struggling. I mean, they're down there fighting or something. I couldn't tell exactly what was transpiring because I was on this [passenger] side of the truck, looking at what's going on. I couldn't see exactly if the gentleman [Brown] reached inside his truck or the officer reached and grabbed him or whatever.
But the other gentleman [Johnson], he stood down. He ran somewhere. There was a white car that was behind him [Wilson]. I don't know what happened with the white car, but then he [Johnson] took off.
At this point, it seems, Visiting Brother and Visiting Sister-in-Law walked the rest of the way up the stairwell, walked into the apartment, and then came back out onto the balcony and saw the struggle continuing.  

The prosecutor asks Visiting Brother to clarify that he changed the location from which he watched. 

Visiting Brother  Something happened. I heard a gunshot go off inside the truck. 
Prosecutor  Let me stop you. Are you still outside of the apartment?
Visiting Brother  I am. I'm standing on the porch, on the second [floor]. .... I can see the passenger side of the vehicle and the back .... I'm standing on the porch at an angle looking down, so I could see something going on, but I can't tell ... who grabbed who. I don't know because ... it happened on the driver's side of the vehicle.
Prosecutor  Okay. Who was engaged in the struggle? You said there was two boys or gentlemen walking and then the officer that was driving. who among those three were engaged?
Visiting Brother  Mr. Brown and the police officer.
Prosecutor  And then what happened? Then you heard a gunshot?
Visiting Brother  I heard a gunshot, and about another 20 seconds later, I heard another gunshot go off, maybe 15 seconds. Another shot goes off.
He [Brown] was still standing at the door, at the window, of the vehicle. They were still, I guess, struggling or going back and forth. 
Prosecutor  And then you heard another gunshot?
Visiting Brother  Another second gunshot.
Prosecutor  What, if anything, did he [Brown] do after the second?
Visiting Brother  He took off running. He started running down Canfield, this
direction. He was running in the street.
Prosecutor  Now, at this point are you still on the porch?
Visiting Brother  I am.
Prosecutor  Did you ever go inside?
Visiting Brother  Yes, I did. I stepped inside the door when the first gunshot went off. My family ran inside the door. Then we came back outside, -- because we didn't hear any more shooting -- to see what was going on. 
Prosecutor  So let me get this straight. Were you inside or outside when the first gunshot went off?
Visiting Brother  We were outside when the first gunshot went off.
Prosecutor  Were you inside or outside when the second gunshot [was fired]?
Visiting Brother  We were inside when the second gunshot went off.
Prosecutor  Okay. So you run inside. Were you fearful because the gunshots were going off?
Visiting Brother  Correct.
Prosecutor  And then you said he took off -- meaning, Michael Brown took off and started running down Canfield. Were you observing that from the inside of [Balcony Brother's] apartment or did you come back outside?
Visiting Brother  I came back outside. .... So, I saw Mr. Brown running down the street. .... He stopped right here at this driveway, and he turned around in the entrance of the driveway, about right there on the corner of the driveway. And he looked down at his hand ....
[Page 75 - 84]
A little later, the prosecutor asked Visiting Brother to confirm where the three witnesses were located at specific moments. 
Prosecutor  You saw the first gunshot. You were outside and looking when the first gunshot went off, but you were inside when the second gunshot went off?
Visiting Brother  Correct
Prosecutor  Were you looking when the second gunshot went off?
Visiting Brother  We were looking out the window. 
Prosecutor  So, was the officer still in the car for the second gunshot?
Visiting Brother  Yes, he was.
Prosecutor  And then Michael Brown takes off running after the second gunshot?
Visiting Brother  Uh-huh [yes].
[Page 86]

Immediately after the first gunshot, Johnson began running toward the Monte Carlo and the three witnesses retreated from the balcony into the apartment. Therefore the three witnesses did not see Johnson get into the Monte Carlo. They could only guess that he did so. 


During the October 2 interview, quoted above, Visiting Brother made the following remarks:
As he [Wilson] is talking to the gentlemen, there was another white vehicle pulled up behind him.  .....
But the other gentleman [Johnson], he stood down. He ran somewhere. There was a white car that was behind him [Wilson]. I don't know what happened with the white car, but then he [Johnson] took off.
I am skeptical that Visiting Brother paid attention to the white Monte Carlo during the incident. 

On the other hand, Balcony Brother certainly did pay attention to that car, explaining specifically how Johnson ran toward it and speculating that Johnson must have gotten into it. As the two brothers discussed the incident with each other, I speculate that Balcony Brother influenced Visiting Brother to remember seeing it and to relate it to Johnson's actions. 

If, however, Visiting Brother's memory of the Monte Carlo approaching the police vehicle during Wilson's initial encounter with Brown and Johnson is genuine, then that is evidence contradicting my speculation about the Monte Carlo making a U-turn while the police vehicle backed up. 

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