Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Johnson stopped at a tree near Copper Creek Court

A quartet of witnesses watched much of the incident from a second-story apartment overlooking Canfield Drive. One of them reported that Dorian Johnson ran from a tree near Copper Creek Court toward the Monte Carlo. 

PV = Police Vehicle
MC = Monte Carlo after it backed up

DJ = Dorian Johnson's position near the tree.
From the tree, he ran toward the Monte Carlo.

Copper Creek Court is at the upper blue arrow's point (near the tree).
Copper Creek Court is not near the arrow's beginning (near the words).

BB = Balcony Brother's bedroom.
(The balcony itself is just off the photograph.)

The photo's top side points southeast.
The photo's left side points northeast.
1) An elderly African-American woman who lived in the apartment. She did not provide any publicly known statements to the investigators. 

2) The elderly woman's 62-year-old African-American son, who lived in the apartment. The grand jury designated him as Witness 14, and the US Department of Justice designated him as Witness 112. I will call him Balcony Brother. More than the other three witnesses, he watched the incident from his apartment's balcony (also called a porch and a patio).

3) The elderly woman's 51-year-old African-American son, the brother of Balcony Brother. This younger son was visiting the apartment during the incident. The grand jury designated him as Witness 17, and the US Department of Justice designated him as Witness 110. I will call him Visiting Brother.

4) A 48-year-old African-American woman, the wife of Visiting Brother. The grand jury designated her as Witness 18, and the US Department of Justice designated her as Witness 111. I will call her Visiting Sister-in-Law.

For this article, the most important of these witnesses is Balcony Brother, since only his published statements provided details about the actions of Dorian Johnson. He indicated in his statements that the other three witnesses generally agreed with his own statements about Johnson's actions. 

This picture shows the location of Balcony Brother's apartment.

PV = Police Vehicle    MC = Monte Carlo (moved back after first gunshot)
Red Line = Balcony Brother's line of sight to the police vehicle
Tree = Place where Johnson started running toward the Monte Carlo.
Building 5 stands immediately north of the tree.
A previous article described the apartment buildings' standard features.

Balcony Brother was sitting in his bedroom and looking northwest up Canfield Drive. He saw the police vehicle drive backwards and block Dorian Johnson and Michael Brown. As the confrontation at the vehicle developed, Balcony Brother left his bedroom and moved to his living room, where a sliding glass door opened onto his balcony.

As he was moving thus, Visiting Brother and Visiting Sister-in-Law were walking up an outside staircase to the balcony and watching the police vehicle. Just after Balcony Brother came out through the sliding glass door onto the balcony, the couple walked into the apartment through the same door. When the couple heard the first gunshot, they came back out onto the balcony. 

Balcony Brother told two detectives that he began moving from his bedroom when the police vehicle was backing up. When he came out onto his balcony and resumed watching, Brown and Wilson were struggling through the vehicle's window. 
I always sit on the second floor at my bedroom window. I can look straight down Canfield toward West Florissant. I was [sitting so] at that time. I was looking out the window, and I happened to see two young men coming down the street. They were in the middle of the street, and I was like: "What the heck are they doing? Why are they in the middle of the street?" ..... 
Then I saw the police truck. He passed them a few feet, and then he backed up. When he backed up I knew something was about to happen. I went to the [sliding glass] door and I came out and stood on the porch.  
By the time I got there they were tussling in the car. .... They were wrestling in the truck. When he was wrestling with him, I saw something fly. I don't know if it was a hat or something. Then I heard a shot. "Pow."  
[Page 3]
Balcony Brother specified the locations of everyone in his apartment at the moment of the first gunshot:
When he [Wilson in the police vehicle] start back up, I'm looking at these two guys [Brown and Johnson]. I say, "something's going on". 
I ran to the front [sliding glass door]. It's not far from my [bedroom] door -- my bedroom to my front door.
My brother and his wife had just got there. They were coming in, and when they heard the first [gunshot] they spun around. 
I had walked out. ... I had the door open, and I'm looking. They [Visiting Brother and Visiting Sister-in-Law] turn around. They were right behind me. I was standing in the windows [i.e. sliding glass door]. We had these patio doors, and I was standing right there. We weren't going to let [elderly mother] come out.
[Page 9]
Balcony Brother specified Johnson's location at the moment of the first gunshot. Johnson was near a tree on the street's north side. 
Detective Where was he [Johnson] when you saw the struggle going on in the car? 
Balcony Brother  He was on the sidewalk on the north side .... close to a tree that's right there. There's a tree up in the yard. Here's the memorial where they got all the bears tied on a lamp post. Behind that lamp post is a tree. 
Detective So he was by that tree? 
Balcony Brother  He was by that tree.
When he heard the shot, he went [toward the police vehicle]. He had moved back there [to the tree] because they was struggling, and he was over there. The next thing I know, he was gone. 
Detective  You're saying when the shot went off -- which shot? 
Balcony Brother  The first shot. 
Detective  In the car? 
Balcony Brother    Right. 
Detective  .... Which way did he run to? 
Balcony Brother  Toward West Florissant [i.e. toward the police vehicle]. 
Detective  So, the other male [Johnson] takes off running towards West Florissant, right? 
Balcony Brother  Right. 
There was a white car sitting right here, before the next driveway. .... It was stopped on Canfield ... facing toward West Florissant.  And we truly believe that he jumped in that car .... because that car left out of there in a hurry. I guess -- you know the shots being fired -- they [the people inside the white car] could hear the volleys going off, so they pulled off. ....  
Detective  Do you think he [Johnson] had any involvement in the incident at and/or in the police car itself? 
Balcony Brother  No. 
Detective  Do you think he [Johnson] had any involvement in anything that took place after that? 
Balcony Brother  No, he wasn't even around. ... When he was standing there [by the tree], he saw the struggle, and when that first shot got off, he was gone [away from the tree]. 
Detective  And he ran where? 
Balcony Brother  Straight toward West Florissant. 
Detective  So from this tree, this tree area right here, toward West Florissant. 
Balcony Brother  Yeah, running straight up the sidewalk going that way. 
Detective  And then this is where that white car was roughly? 
Balcony Brother  Yeah. Then he disappeared, and the car sped off. 
We don't know if he went around the building or either he jumped in that car. I can't say for sure because I didn't see him [jump into the car]. 
All I know is when that first shot rang out you could see him running [from the tree toward the police car]. He was like he got the hell out of Dodge. 
If he did jump into that car, he could have seen it [the final, fatal shooting of Brown] by looking out the back window. 
I would say -- with at least about a 99-95 percent certainty -- I didn't see nobody peeking around the building at the end of that apartment building [Building 5] that sits there ... on the north side of the street.  
He [Johnson] didn't run up on the porches [of Building 5]. He ran down the sidewalk
Detective  You're just speculating whether or not he got into that car. You're not sure. 
Balcony Brother I'm not sure. That's what we -- me myself and my family -- we was: "Did you see him? No, I didn't see him. Did you? No." 
But all of a sudden, all we know is he ran and the car left. The car was there, and he ran, and the car left. But we don't know if he got in there or not.
He might a have ran down further down [northwest on Canfield Drive] to look back [toward the incident scene], but we couldn't see nobody. I could look straight, I could see from there [my balcony] to ... where it [Canfield Drive] bends, headed out towards West Florissant. From my porch -- if I stand on the corner of my porch where I am at -- I got a clear view of everything.    
[Pages 25-29]
Dorian Johnson stopped between the tree and the sidewalk on the
north side of Canfield Drive. The tree was near Copper Creek Court.

Balcony Brother saw Johnson running from the tree
toward the white Monte Carlo
when the first gunshot was fired.
Because of his own movements, Balcony Brother missed seeing a couple of moments of the incident:

1) While he was moving from his bedroom to the sliding glass door, he did not see Johnson run away from the police vehicle.

2) While he was hiding inside the apartment after the first gunshot, he did not see Johnson get into the Monte Carlo.

In the interval between those two moments, however, Balcony Brother did see Johnson standing by a tree that stood immediately to the west from Copper Creek Court. Then during that same interval, Balcony Brother saw Johnson running west toward the Monte Carlo. 

Balcony Brother did not see Johnson get into the Monte Carlo, but Balcony Brother said that the others in his apartment agreed with his assumption that Johnson must have disappeared into the car. 


On September 24, about six weeks after the incident, Balcony Brother was interviewed by an FBI special agent. Balcony Brother described Johnson running toward the police vehicle and Brown running away from the police vehicle. 

In relation to his own apartment's location, Balcony Brother referred to two driveways -- 1) "the first driveway", which was Copper Creek Drive, and 2) "the last driveway", which was the driveway blocked by the Monte Carlo. Balcony Brother saw Brown run toward the first driveway, and Johnson run toward the last driveway. 
FBI SA  During the tussle [between Brown and Wilson] that you describe where was the friend [Johnson]? 
Balcony Brother  Practically on the sidewalk. 
FBI SA  What was the friend doing? Do you remember? 
Balcony Brother  Just standing there watching what was going on between the officer and Michael. 
FBI SA  From your advantage point, when Michael Brown took off running, what did the friend do? 
Balcony Brother  He ran the opposite way. .... 
This is the last driveway  .... His friend [Johnson] went toward West Florissant [toward the last driveway].   
Michael ran toward the first driveway which is located were the memorial is on the post. 
[Pages 8-10]
In another passage of that same FBI interview, Balcony Brother described those opposite running directions as follows: 
FBI SA  Once the shot rang out and Michael Brown started running, how soon after did the police officer get out of the vehicle? 
Balcony Brother  A matter of seconds. 
FBI SA  Was it instantly or was there a slight pause? 
Balcony Brother  It was like a slight pause. Within two or three seconds he was coming out. 
As Michael was running away, the other gentleman [interrupts himself] Mike went one way, and the other gentleman went the opposite direction
FBI SA  The other gentleman meaning Michael Brown's friend? 
Balcony Brother  Michael Brown's friend.  ..... 
FBI SA  When you said Michael Brown took off running, there was a pause when the police officer chased. What was that friend doing? 
Balcony Brother  After he [Johnson] ran, he disappeared. We couldn't see him. We don't know where. We had thought he ran around to the side of the building [Building 5] .... 
[Pages 7 -9]

Visiting Sister-in-Law was interviewed by investigators and she testified to the grand jury. The last moment when she remembered seeing Johnson was when Wilson drove the police vehicle backward and blocked him. (See pages 33 - 34 and 40.)  She saw Brown alone run away from the police vehicle. 

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