Eric Holder's Question: It remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative [false] version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily.
My blog's answer: A few self-proclaimed eyewitnesses lied about the incident convincingly through the mass media.At the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the US Department of Justice began investigating the Ferguson incident almost immediately after it occurred on August 9, 2014.
Several self-proclaimed eyewitnesses had told the public -- directly in television interviews and indirectly though journalists -- that they personally had seen police officer Darren Wilson shoot multiple bullets into unarmed teenager Michael Brown while Brown was standing still with his hands raised high above his head and trying to surrender.
Despite all those "eyewitness" accusations, the US Department of Justice exonerated Wilson in a report, titled Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation Into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson, released to the public on March 4, 2015. Holder supported the report publicly and completely.
The report contradicted those "eyewitness" accusations -- that Brown was standing still with his hands high above his head and trying to surrender -- with the following summary of facts, which massively overwhelmed the lies.
Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not support a prosecution of Wilson. As detailed throughout this report, some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those accounts are materially inconsistent with that witness’s own prior statements with no explanation, credible for otherwise, as to why those accounts changed over time. Certain other witnesses who originally stated Brown had his hands up in surrender recanted their original accounts, admitting that they did not witness the shooting or parts of it, despite what they initially reported either to federal or local law enforcement or to the media. Prosecutors did not rely on those accounts when making a prosecutive decision.The report's two most important passages were (emphasis added):
While credible witnesses gave varying accounts of exactly what Brown was doing with his hands as he moved toward Wilson – i.e ., balling them, holding them out, or pulling up his pants up – and varying accounts of how he was moving – i.e., “charging,” moving in “slow motion,” or “running” – they all establish that Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot him. Although some witnesses state that Brown held his hands up at shoulder level with his palms facing outward for a brief moment, these same witnesses describe Brown then dropping his hands and “charging” at Wilson.
Wilson’s account was consistent with those results [the autopsy, DNA, and ballistic results], and consistent with the accounts of other independent witnesses, whose accounts were also consistent with the physical evidence. Wilson’s statements were consistent with each other in all material ways, and would not be subject to effective impeachment for inconsistencies or deviation from the physical evidence.
Therefore, in analyzing all of the evidence, federal prosecutors found Wilson’s account to be credible.
The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson after Brown turned around were in self-defense and were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
On that same March 4 that the report was issued to the public, Holder gave a speech defending the report and trying to explain "how the [Justice] Department’s findings can differ so sharply from some of the initial, widely reported accounts of what transpired .... how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily". Holder said (emphasis added):
.... Nearly seven months have passed since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. That tragic incident provoked widespread demonstrations and stirred strong emotions from those in the Ferguson area and around our nation. It also prompted a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri and the FBI seeking to determine whether this shooting violated federal civil rights law.
The promise I made when I went to Ferguson and at the time that we launched our investigation was not that we would arrive at a particular outcome, but rather that we would pursue the facts, wherever they led. Our investigation has been both fair and rigorous from the start. It has proceeded independently of the local investigation that concluded in November. And it has been thorough: as part of a wide-ranging examination of the evidence, federal investigators interviewed and re-interviewed eyewitnesses and other individuals claiming to have relevant information and independently canvassed more than 300 residences to locate and interview additional witnesses.
This morning, the Justice Department announced the conclusion of our investigation and released a comprehensive, 87-page report documenting our findings and conclusions that the facts do not support the filing of criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson in this case. Michael Brown’s death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson.
This conclusion represents the sound, considered, and independent judgment of the expert career prosecutors within the Department of Justice. I have been personally briefed on multiple occasions about these findings. I concur with the investigative team’s judgment and the determination about our inability to meet the required federal standard.
This outcome is supported by the facts we have found – but I also know these findings may not be consistent with some people’s expectations. To all those who have closely followed this case, and who have engaged in the important national dialogue it has inspired, I urge you to read this report in full.
I recognize that the findings in our report may leave some to wonder how the department’s findings can differ so sharply from some of the initial, widely reported accounts of what transpired. I want to emphasize that the strength and integrity of America’s justice system has always rested on its ability to deliver impartial results in precisely these types of difficult circumstances – adhering strictly to the facts and the law, regardless of assumptions. Yet it remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative [i.e. false] version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily.
Holder's explanation about how the false version of events "was able to take hold so swiftly and be accepted so readily" was that the Ferguson Police Department issued tickets for traffic and other minor violations disproportionately to African-American citizens of Ferguson. That explanation is nonsense, but you can read it in the last part of Holder's speech.
The real reason why the false version took hold so swiftly and was accepted so readily was that a few self-proclaimed eyewitnesses lied about the incident convincingly through the mass media. Those few did not see the killing, but they concocted a false story with each other and then told it energetically and repeatedly in the mass media, which reported about the incident incessantly.
None of those liars -- although they all repeated their lies under oath to a grand jury -- ever were or ever will be charged with perjury. Their lies provoked massive looting and arson in Ferguson and caused various law-enforcement agencies to spend millions of dollars investigating those accusations. Their lies inflamed racial antagonisms throughout our society. A proper resolution of this case would have included public trials and convictions of those few liars for their perjury.
This blog will examine all the available evidence to explain the actions and motivations of those few but influential perjurors.
This blog will not address, except in passing, many important aspects of this case, such as the details of the gunshots or Wilson's self-defense justification.