Friday, July 31, 2015

The Monte Carlo's driver and passenger evaded investigators

MC Owner was interviewed by a detective of the Saint Louis County Police Department on August 9, 2014, from 6:40 to 6:49 p.m., less than seven hours after Michael Brown was killed.  

She herself did not contact investigators. Rather, without her knowledge or approval, a casual acquaintance informed the police that she had witnessed the killing. The detective contacted her five minutes after the acquaintance provided the tip. The detective described the circumstances of that interview. (I have filled in the whited-out space.)

At approximately 6:35 pm, Detective [Name] was re-contacted by [MC Owner's acquaintance] who indicated he had located another person who claimed to have witnessed the entire incident. [MC Owner's acquaintance] directed Detective [Name] to [3000 block] Canfield Drive where he contacted a witness who identified herself as [MC Owner].  
At approximately 6:40 pm, Detective Moore spoke with [MC Owner] who indicated she was a witness to the incident. ..... 
[MC Owner] agreed to complete an audio recording of her account of the incident. A department-issued digital recorder was used to capture the statement. [MC Owner]'s audio statement was later transferred from the digital recorder to a CD which was packaged as evidence and released to the Saint Louis County Property Control Unit. .... 
The interview with was completed at approximately 6:49 pm. 
[Page 46-47]
The transcript of that brief interview, which lasted only 8½ minutes, is here

The next time MC Owner was interviewed by investigators was more than two months later, on October 13. The reason so much time passed was that she evaded the investigators' attempts to question her again. 

MC Passenger likewise did not want to provide information to investigators. He feared that someone ("they") might assume he knew "much more" about the incident. 

Almost two weeks passed, until August 22, when he was convinced by the local NAACP office to provide information to investigators. Later, MC Passenger told the grand jury how he reluctantly, eventually agreed to be interviewed:

Prosecutor  You actually spoke to the police for the first time on August 22nd.  What was going on between August 9th and August 22nd? As far as you knew, there were people saying "hands up", and you'd seen it. What was going on in your mind about why wouldn't you come forward and tell the police what you saw?
MC Passenger  I don't know. Just the thought, I guess, just being there really. I didn't want to get into it, you know.
Prosecutor  Didn't want to be involved? 
MC Passenger  Yeah, just be involved, you know. Just seeing what was going on on TV every day ..... You never know how people react to certain things. Did you know this?  
Or you might know much more, so they could be after you. People are crazy out here, so they might come for you first if you say something.
Prosecutor  Sure. But at some point you got together with the police. So how is it that the police knew to contact you? 
MC Passenger  Well, a friend of mine, his name is [Friend] -- his daddy knows Mike Brown's people, and they wanted to talk to me ... His daddy got in contact with some guy, and he knew some guy from the NAACP. I guess they gave him my number, and then they contacted me.
It took me a couple days from then to even go talk to them. ....
Prosecutor  Your friend's dad arranged for that [the NAACP office] to be a meeting place for you?
MC Passenger  I guess he just wanted me to talk to them. I told them [his friend's dad and the dad's friend] I didn't want to get into it, so I didn't tell them either. .... I still didn't say nothing to them. And he ended up giving my number to somebody [at the NAACP], and they ended up calling me.
Prosecutor  You didn't give him a detailed statement of what happened, did you? 
MC Passenger  ... I ended up giving them [the NAACP] a statement because that's where I was going to -- the NAACP. 
Prosecutor  Did you give them [the NAACP ] a statement before you talked to the police or after you talked to the police?
MC Passenger  Before.  
Prosecutor  I wanted to know if you felt pressured in some way to come forward and say something? 
MC Passenger  No, I didn't want to just not say nothing ... [not] talk to the NAACP, because I know that [organization]. 
It [remaining silent] didn't feel right no more. I know people are looking for statements out here. So I just felt after the stuff started calming down is when I calmed down. I realized [I had] to say something.
[Pages 193 - 198]

MC Passenger testified to the grand jury on September 25. At the testimony's end, the prosecutor asked him to help persuade MC Owner to answer more questions. The prosecutor complained that MC Owner never answered investigators' phone calls. 
Prosecutor  Did you ever -- after [MC Owner] dropped you off [on August 9] -- have you ever had a conversation with her about what the two of you witnessed?
MC Passenger  Yeah, basically every day from when we see it on TV. I mean, you know, not trying to put things together, but seeing things on the TV that is just crazy stuff going on just back and forth, and back and forth. 
Prosecutor  I'm not trying to suggest you were trying to get your stories together, the reason I ask is [MC Owner] hasn't been returning calls. Do you talk to her about that we would like her [to respond]? You ever talk about coming in and talking about this? 
MC Passenger  Yeah, but you know, she works every day, deal with kids every day. 
Prosecutor  Do you think if we could have her come in at a time that it didn't interrupt her work? Do you think she would come in or is she just not wanting to be involved? She doesn't return calls
MC Passenger  I guess, I don't know how she really feels about it now. I haven't just straight up and down asked her. 
[Pages 199 - 200]
Then in response to a grand juror's question, MC Passenger confirmed that he likewise had not wanted to be interviewed by law-enforcement investigators.  Passenger hinted that he feared eventual "judgments" against himself.   
Grand Juror You said earlier that you really didn't want to get involved because you felt -- I know what you mean -- there are crazy people out there. 
MC Passenger  Uh-huh [yes]. 
Grand Juror  Were you afraid of the people, other witnesses, or afraid of the police or both? Whatever was your main concern holding you from coming forward? 
MC Passenger  No, this stuff is just the stuff that was going on every day -- how your mind back and forth, hopefully. 
Grand Juror  But you were concerned because your story may have been different than somebody else's and you were afraid that they may have been judgmental towards you? 
MC Passenger  Right -- judgments -- yeah, yeah. 
[Pages 200 - 201]
On October 13, three weeks after MC Passenger testified to the grand jury, MC Owner finally agreed to be interviewed by an FBI special agent. In that interview, she described the circumstances of the previous interview, which had taken place on the August 9, the day of the incident. 

Although MC Owner's own apartment was near Canfield Green, the neighborhood where the incident took place, she was staying in the home of an acquaintance who lived in another building near Canfield Green. The acquaintance was a friend of her mother. That acquaintance phoned MC Owner's mother, who then came to see MC Owner in the acquaintance's home. 

I speculate that MC Owner did not return to her own home because she feared that someone had seen her Monte Carlo at the incident. She feared that her license plate number had been recorded and that the police thus would find her at her own home. 

As it turned out, without her knowledge or agreement, a young man at the acquaintance's home, perhaps a next-door neighbor, called a detective to come interview MC Owner. When the detective arrived, he found MC Owner in front of the home of the neighbor of the acquaintance. Surprised by the detective's arrival, MC Owner assumed that someone indeed had recorded her license plate number at the scene and then had given that number to the detective. 

FBI SA  How did it come to you that you then met with the Saint Louis County Police detective?
MC Owner  Actually, I stay in that area at the time, and my Mom basically got the news. So, she came to see: was her daughter okay? So, in the process of seeing was her daughter okay, I was up in the house. The house is right before you get to Canfield Green. 
And one of the young men -- like I said, I don't know nobody over there -- he was the one that brought the police to me. .... Somebody was out there and probably remember my car or something, because he [the detective] came directly to me. 
I was on the front of the neighbors. I don't even know the people, but they stayed in the house right there. 
FBI SA  You said something about "brought him [the detective] to you"?
MC Owner  Actually, a young man. .... I didn't know him exactly. I've probably seen him around the complex, but I don't know him -- as talking to him on a daily basis. 
[Pages 25 - 26]

Although MC Owner and MC Passenger, both African-Americans, had been in the middle of the incident, which immediately became a national controversy about Whites' treatment of Blacks, neither of them wanted to identify themselves or provide their information to law-enforcement investigators. 

MC Owner and MC Passenger evaded investigators persistently for weeks. 


All the occupants of all the other vehicles that eventually appeared behind the Monte Carlo likewise evaded the investigators. They ducked down in their cars while police officer Darren Wilson was chasing and shooting at Michael Brown. After the shooting, they drove away immediately, and they still have not reported to investigators, to the present day. 

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