Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Race Or Alibi?

Increasingly, people are calling Darren Wilson's testimony unbelievable.  The scuffle in the car seems especially improbable.  The provocation on the street seems especially improbable.

The simplest explanation is that Wilson ordered them on to the sidewalk, they refused to comply and maybe lipped off a little.  He threw his SUV into reverse - angry at being disrespected - and clipped Brown.  He then kicked open his door, which hit Brown and snapped back at Wilson.  Wilson grabbed Brown.  They scuffled at the car window.  Wilson shot Brown, who fled, most likely striking Wilson in an attempt to get away.  Wilson fired shots at Brown, who turned, staggered and was shot as he fell.

That's what seems most plausible to me.

Marshall suggests that Wilson's testimony reveals the aura of threat that Wilson felt from a large black man.  And certainly we see more and more evidence that simply being a black male represents a threat to police that they feel comfortable addressing with lethal force.

But I think a simpler explanation is that Wilson was saying what he was saying because an officer may use lethal force to protect his life if he feels threatened.  So all Wilson had to do was paint a picture of Brown as a threat, and he was covered by the law.

Put another way: Wilson got into the situation because Brown was young, black and disrespectful.  His testimony, however, would've been the same if Brown was a large white man.  Wilson was establishing his legal alibi.

As I've said, we've basically given cops a de facto license to kill.

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