Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Monte Carlo driver's statements about the incident were confused and dubious

MC Owner told her story three times. 

1) On the late afternoon of August 9, unknown to her, a casual acquaintance tipped off a detective that MC Owner had seen the incident. The detective showed up five minutes later and surprised her with a request to tell her story. MC Owner consented to tell her story to a detective in an interview that lasted only 8½ minutes.

2) After ignoring and evading investigators for two months, MC Owner consented to tell her story on October 12 or 13* to an FBI special agent.

3) She told her story on October 13 to the grand jury (beginning on page 102).   

The FBI special agent just rehashed the August 9 interview. MC Owner was not questioned critically and at length until the grand-jury hearing, which lasted more than two hours. 

MC Owner's story was false, which is why she didn't want to tell it to investigators. She was asked questions she did not expect and so had to concoct answers on the spot. 

The truth (I have argued in my previous articles) was that her Monte Carlo was the get-away car for Brown and Johnson after the robbery of the Ferguson Market and Liquor store. Later, on Canfield Drive, she made a U-turn and drove back west to Wilson's police vehicle. There, her Monte Carlo again served as a get-away car for Johnson. She had to tell a story that was completely different.  

MC Owner was concerned that she and her Monte Carlo had been seen by bystanders during the incident. She had to concoct a story that would explain what those bystanders might have reported to investigators about her actions. 


When the detective showed up unexpectedly on August 9, MC Owner was in a group situation. She was staying in the home of an acquaintance of her mother. The acquaintance and the mother were present. At least one neighbor -- the one who called the detective -- was present, and they all were discussing the incident. MC Owner could have answered the detective's questions in the group's presence, but a decision was made that she and the detective drove alone to a nearby barbecue restaurant

It would have made much more sense for them to drive to the killing scene, which was just as close in the opposite direction, so that MC Owner could have pointed to all the exact places for the detective. I have suggested that MC Owner worked at the restaurant and was supposed to begin working there at 7 p.m. 

I suggest also that MC Owner did not want to tell her false story to the detective in front of her mother and all the other acquaintances. 


The story that MC Owner told the detective on August 9 is remarkable for two omissions. 

1) She did not mention that she had a passenger in the Monte Carlo. (In the transcript, the detective did not ask her whether anyone else was in the car.) 

2) She did not mention that Wilson's police vehicle drove backward to block Johnson's and Brown's path. This omission is especially remarkable because she estimated that her following distance did not exceed ten feet. Her story indicated that the struggle between Wilson and Brown through the vehicle's window took place in the same spot as the initial encounter. (I have suggested that MC Owner was making her U-turn when Wilson drove backward.) 


By the time of her interviews on October 13, she had watched a lot of television reporting and engaged in a lot of personal conversations with MC Passenger about the incident. Nevertheless, her final story suffered from several inconsistencies. 

1) She seemed to say that she initially stopped far behind -- in the area where eventually Brown fell dead, between two apartment buildings -- and did not explain why and when she drove closer to the police vehicle. 

2) She contradicted herself about her car's situation when Wilson backed his vehicle up. First she said that she had to swerve out of his way, and then she said she already had stopped when Wilson backed up. 

3) She said she never opened her car door during the incident, although MC Passenger had insisted repeatedly that she did so. 


In her grand jury testimony on October 13, MC Owner abandoned her initial idea that she followed Wilson's police vehicle at a distance of no more than ten feet. Now to the grand jury she indicated that she stopped on Canfield Drive far behind the police vehicle, almost as soon as she saw Brown and Johnson in the distance. 
Prosecutor At some point the officer's car stopped ... Were you behind the officer when the officer's car stopped?
MC Owner  Yes, ma'am, I sure was [behind the officer's car] -- probably right in between the apartment complex. Just like right actually [where] he [Brown] fell out is actually where I stopped. 
Prosecutor  So when you first saw the officer stop, what did you observe? 
MC Owner  I just observed there are two gentlemen walking down the street. They was walking my direction, going back towards Northwinds.
BF = Where Brown "fell out"
Red lines = "Right in between the apartment complex"
BJ = Brown and Johnson's position when Wilson initially stopped
PV = Police vehicle's position after it backed up 
I interpret MC Owner's explanation of her stopping point to be somewhere around the east side Building 5, which is where Brown "fell out". I think that her expression "right in between the apartment complex" meant between Building 5 and Building 18, an area marked by the red lines in the above photograph. 

In the above photograph, I put the label "BJ" in the area where Wilson initially stopped and asked Brown and Johnson to walk on the sidewalk. After Wilson backed up his police vehicle to block their path, he stopped in the area labeled "PV". 


In her August 9 interview, MC Owner seemed to say that Wilson stopped only once -- omitting Wilson's backward drive and second stop. In her October 13 testimony to the grand jury she now did say that Wilson drove backward. 
Prosecutor  When you saw that [police] car stopped, was the car just driving in the natural [right lane], down the lane, or did it stop some other way?
MC Owner  It was straight down the lane.
Prosecutor  And what happened at that time when you saw the car stop? Did he [Wilson] appear to be talking to anybody?
MC Owner  Yes, ma'am, but I didn't hear anything. 
After the actual stop -- quick seconds, it wasn't really a long period of time -- I saw the SUV go in reverse. I saw the reverse lights on, and it came to the two guys, and they jump back. He [Wilson] put it in reverse, [and] it went back.
And that's when it [the police vehicle] went to an actual stop. The truck shook just a little bit. You could tell that somebody pressed down on the brake really hard. ....
As the two suspects start to actually keep walking. It looks like he [Wilson] is trying to stop them from walking away from the truck.
Prosecutor  I see. They're walking away, so he has to go in reverse to get up to them?
MC Owner Yes, ma'am.
[Pages 111 - 112]
To dramatize her false story that she had seen Wilson back up, MC Owner began to tell the grand jury that she even had to swerve out of Wilson's way as he backed up. Apparently, though, she immediately decided not to continue along those lines and instead said that she already had stopped well before Wilson's vehicle back up close to her car.  
Prosecutor  When the officer drove back at the diagonal and hit the brake real hard, was he close to hitting you, your car?
MC Owner  Actually, he was close enough, but he was, like, right there to where I couldn't even move. I thought as it [the police vehicle] was coming -- I was kind of shocked -- he would have hit my car, but he didn't.
Prosecutor  Were you concerned that he was going came back?
MC Owner  Yes, ma'am, I had to swerve over.
Prosecutor  You swerved over?
MC Owner  No, ma'am, I was [already] there.
Prosecutor  You stopped?
MC Owner  Yes, ma'am.
[Pages 113 - 114] 
In sum, MC Owner's testimony about how she found herself stopped close to Wilson's police vehicle was confused. She evidently had not thought through that part of her story adequately beforehand, and so she had to make it up as she went along during her testimony. 


MC Owner's (and MC Passenger's) determination to lie to investigators and to the grand jury is illustrated by her insistence in October that she did not know MC Passenger's last name, although she had socialized with him often for more than a year. 

MC Passenger told investigators that he and MC Owner discussed the incident whenever they watched the CNN reports.
FBI Special Agent  Have you talked to her since then [the incident]?   
MC Passenger  Yeah, this morning. ....
FBI SA Have you and [MC Owner] talked about this? 
MC Passenger  Yeah, when we look at CNN.  
FBI SA  Okay. So  you were watching TV and then started talking? 
MC Passenger  Yeah. 
[Pages 27 and 29]  
MC Passenger remarked to the grand jury that they had talked about the incident "basically every day" and had been a close friend for about a year. 
Prosecutor  Did you ever, after [MC Owner] dropped you off [right after the incident], 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.  
[Pages 199 - 200]
Prosecutor  I guess you two have a pretty close friendship. 
MC Passenger  Uh-huh, yes.
Prosecutor How long have you known her?
MC Passenger  Since approximately about a year.
Prosecutor  About a year?
MC Passenger  About a year. 
[Page 203]
Nevertheless, MC Owner told the FBI special agent on October 12 or 13 that she still did not know MC Passenger's last name:
FBI SA  Who else was in the car with you? 
MC Owner   One of our friends.
FBI SA  And who is that?
MC Owner  His name is [MC Passenger's first name]. I don't know his last name. 
[Page 6]
MC Passenger likewise insisted as late as August that he did not know MC Owner's last name. 
Detective  Who were you with?
MC Passenger  A girl named [MC Owner's first name]. 
Detective  You know [MC Owner's] name?
MC Passenger  Huh uh [no].
[Page 5]

In general, MC Passenger told a story that was much more coherent and consistent than MC Owner did. He also was much less emotional during the incident itself. I had the impression that he told her what to do during and after the incident. 


* The grand-jury questioning of MC Owner began a few minutes at 11:03 a.m. on October 13 (page 102). Earlier that morning, the transcript of the FBI interview was read aloud to the grand jury (page 70). However, the FBI interview is dated October 13 at 6:26 p.m. Somehow the FBI transcript is misdated and should be October 12 at 6:26 p.m. or else October 13 at 6:26 a.m. 

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