Friday, April 17, 2015

Pickup Driver said Johnson was not standing by Brown

A 58-year-old African-American male driving a pickup truck east on Canfield Drive saw the incident when his path was blocked by Darren Wilson's police vehicle. The grand jury designated him as Witness 34, and the US Justice Department designated him as Witness 103. I will call him Pickup Driver.

The US Justice Department's report about the shooting concluded that Pickup Driver was a credible witness.
.... he ultimately testified consistently with his original account, with the physical and forensic evidence, and with other credible witness accounts. ....
After a thorough review of all the evidence, federal prosecutors determined his account to be credible and likewise determined that a jury appropriately would credit his potential testimony. 
[Pages 29 - 30]
Pickup Driver had been driving southeast on Canfield Drive but stopped when his path was blocked by the Wilson's police vehicle. Pickup Driver was looking at the vehicle's driver-side door, where Brown was attacking Wilson through the window. Pickup Driver did not see Dorian Johnson anywhere.

However, after Pickup Driver drove away from the scene, he discussed the incident with his passenger, whom I will call Pickup Passenger. The latter remarked that he had seen another African-American male behind the police vehicle. 

Pickup Driver was questioned by a detective and some FBI special agents on September 3, 2014. On that occasion, he said that he was the only person in the pickup and that he himself had seen another, smaller African-American male standing behind the police vehicle on its passenger side. After the first gunshot, this other, smaller person ran away north. (See pages 3, 7, 16-18.) Everything that Pickup Driver said during that interview about this other person (about Dorian Johnson) was based entirely on what he remembered Pickup Passenger telling him. 

When Pickup Driver testified to the grand jury, he admitted that a passenger was in the pickup with him and that only this passenger allegedly had seen the other person standing behind the police vehicle. Pickup Driver now clarified to the grand jury that he himself had seen only Brown. 

Investigators learned about the existence of Pickup Passenger for the first time during Pickup Worker's grand-jury testimony. Investigators subsequently contacted Pickup Passenger, but he refused to answer any questions.


In his testimony to the grand jury, Pickup Driver described his location during the incident. He stopped behind a white car* and near a driveway (where he eventually was able to turn around for his departure).  

Pickup Driver told the grand jury that Brown was the only person in the police vehicle's vicinity. 

Pickup Driver  I was coming from West Florissant.....  
Prosecutor  Were you with someone in your [pickup truck]? 
Pickup Driver  Yes, one of the guys that work with me.  
Prosecutor  Was he going to work with you that day? 
Pickup Driver  Yes. 
Prosecutor  Is he African-American or is he Caucasian? 
Pickup Driver  African-American 
Prosecutor  As you entered, [as you] were coming into the Canfield Green Apartment Complex, did you see anything unusual? 
Pickup Driver  Yes, when we got turned into Canfield, coming up Canfield, all of the sudden, a van is parked kind-of across the street and there is a [white] car in front of us. And we saw the police and a young man struggling. ..... 
There was one car right in front of me when I was there. 
Prosecutor  You were facing the police car? 
Pickup Driver  Right. 
Prosecutor  And his police car was facing you? 
Pickup Driver  Right, like [the police car was] coming back toward West Florissant. 
Prosecutor  Was that police car -- when you first saw it -- was it moving or was it standing still? 
Pickup Driver  It was sitting still, but it was kind of across the street, so nobody can really get by.  
Prosecutor  So did you have to stop your car? 
Pickup Driver  Yes, yes, we had to stop. 
Prosecutor  And the car in front of you -- was it stopped also? 
Pickup Driver  Yes, it was stopped. 
Prosecutor  Do you remember anything about the car in front of you? 
Pickup Driver  It was white  .... 
NS = Near-Sighted       PD = Pickup Driver      WC = White Car
PV = Police Vehicle      MC = Monte Carlo
Pickup Driver and the the White Car eventually turned around in the nearby driveway
Prosecutor  Could you see the people in the white car -- people or person?
Pickup Driver  I wasn't really paying attention to them, you know, I don't remember seeing them. I was looking at the police truck really.
Prosecutor  What did you see at the police truck?
Pickup Driver  The police and the young man, they were struggling. The young man [Brown] was standing outside the window. The police inside the window, and he had ahold of the young man, and the young man had ahold of him, and they are struggling with one another.
Prosecutor Could you see the police officer inside the truck?
Pickup Driver I could see him, but not clearly. I could see him.
Prosecutor  How many police officers were inside the truck?
Pickup Driver  As far as I could tell, one.
Prosecutor  Now you say there was a young man standing outside the truck? Was he the only other person you saw outside or around the truck?
Pickup Driver Yes, he was the only person that I really saw by the police.
Prosecutor  Can you describe anything about the man that was standing outside the truck?
Pickup Driver  As far as I could tell, he was a young man, tall. At the time, I couldn't really see him clearly. I could see he was a black young male standing there. 
I turned to Mr. [Pickup Passenger]. I said: "Man, you see this? We've got to get out of here." ....
I didn't want to get blocked in. I had an appointment to be at.  ....
The next thing I heard was a shot, pow, and then the young man took off running.
[pages 10 - 16]

Later in Pickup Driver's testimony to the grand jury, however, the prosecutor challenged Pickup Driver to confirm that he saw only Brown by the police vehicle. Pickup Driver wavered. 
Prosecutor  Do you remember seeing another young African-American guy at or near those cars that you described? 
Pickup Driver  I can't remember if there was somebody else there or not. [I remember] only the somebody [Brown] I seen. I can't really remember. 
[Pages 38 - 39]
Later in the testimony to the grand jury, the prosecutor confronted Pickup Driver with the transcript of the interview that had taken place on September 3 (the grand jury testimony was on October 16, 2014). In that previous interview, Pickup Driver had told a detective and some FBI special agents that ""there was just him [Brown] and there was another black guy standing back behind the police car."

The conversation between Pickup Driver and the prosecutor continued in front of the grand jury as follows:

Pickup Driver If I said it, you know, like it is true. I do have a problem with my memory sometimes.I can't tell you what I ate for breakfast this morning. ....
Really, I can't remember the other guy [Johnson].
The gentleman with me [Pickup Passenger] told me. We had talked about it, and he said: "There was one black guy that was standing back there by the car also."  
If I said it [about Johnson] to them [the detective and the FBI special agent] at that time [on September 3], that's what I said.
Prosecutor  So when you spoke to the federal agents and the county detective back on September 3rd, were you telling them as best you could what you remember from that day?
Pickup Driver  As best I could, right.
Prosecutor  Were you truthful about everything as best you could?
Pickup Driver  I was truthful about everything that  I remember, that I could remember. ....
[Pages 41 - 42]
Many witnesses in this case told investigators that they themselves had seen things that actually had been told to them by other people. Ultimately, Pickup Driver indicated to the grand jury that he himself had not seen a second man (Johnson) standing behind the police vehicle -- rather, only his passenger had seen the second man. 


In previous articles, I have pointed out that an eyewitness whom I call Stairwell Man saw "the white car turn around in the street". This white car in front of the pickup truck -- not the white Monte Carlo -- might be the white car that Stairwell Man saw turn around, at the end of the incident. 

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