Why the jury found in favor of Officer Williams

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Why did the Grand Jury refuse an indictment against Officer Williams?

There has been a lot of question about the death of teenager Michael Brown from Ferguson, Mo.

  A few people who I spoke with have said that he (Officer Williams) had no business trying to stop him on his own.  One even said, while I was arguing with him, that a “reasonable person” would have waited for backup.  Others have told me that the officer wasn’t justified using force against an unarmed man just because he was running at the officer.  Let me take a moment to clarify a couple of things, and dispel the myths mentioned.

Police officers, highway patrol, game wardens, Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers encounter people from all walks of life throughout the day and night.  Often times, the people they meet are criminals, if you can imagine that.  If every time a person hit, ran from, argued with, or otherwise delayed law enforcement, the officer had to wait until backup arrived, every criminal in the USA would simply, RUN!
Police take an oath to uphold the laws of the State.  They swear to protect the public and the constitution.  Part of this oath requires chasing bad guys.  The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Law Enforcement may use all of the force necessary to apprehend a fleeing suspect, up to and including lethal force if probable cause exists.  However, Circumstances MUST exists and be taken into consideration prior to the use of force.  This includes prior events.  In the Michael Brown case, the prior events that Officer Williams had to, and I’m sure did, take into consideration is that Brown matched to description of a suspect wanted in a robbery that took place just moments before.  And please, don’t fool yourself.  His alleged actions in the store DID constitute a robbery.  Officer Williams also had to consider the fact that just moments before the second bout of shots, Brown attempted to take the officer’s firearm.  Just the action of attempting to disarm a police officer can be considered attempted murder of a police officer; or, at the very least, attempting to disarm a police officer. Not to mention Brown committed another felony when he struck Officer Williams in the face.  Felonies at this point = 3 violent

Once Brown began running away from Officer Williams he was evading arrest.  That in itself IS NOT the justification Williams needed, as some have said.  A law enforcement officer is only allowed to use lethal force against an escaping prisoner .  That definition is reserved for a prisoner already convicted of an offense by a court and detained in a correctional facility. 

We have all heard of the term, “Disparity of Force”.  Disparity of force is a legal definition that allows a person of unequal size, age, health, number of assailants, ability, or sex to use force that would normally not be allowed if both parties involved in the fight were equal.  For instance: If I, 6’0 240 pound male in my early 40s attacked a 70 year old frail woman 5’2 at 95 pounds, she would likely be found not guilty of any crimes if she used deadly force against me, especially if she knew beforehand that I carry a gun and have a history of beating people up and placing them in ICU.  That said; please recall Officer Williams statement, “I felt like a 5 year old holding Hulk Hogan”.   Officer Williams had also already felt the power in this “gentile giant’s fist. Michael Brown weighed in 82 pounds more than the already injured Officer Williams.

Witnesses reported hearing three series of shots.  The first set of shots was fired inside the patrol car when Officer Williams had to endure the poundings of Brown.  The second set of shots was fired when Brown was running towards Officer Williams.  Something to consider here is that Williams has already been man-handled AND had already shot the suspect.  This, I’m sure was weighing on his mind.  Knowing that you have shot someone and that person continued to fight can have a major psychological impact on a person, especially if you haven’t been trained and have practiced scenarios that reinforce the fact that life isn’t Hollywood; it often takes more than just a few shots to stop an assailant .  In his mind, if lethal force didn’t work, how effective would “less than lethal” be? This may be why less than lethal probably wasn’t considered. Also, Williams knew from just moments before that Brown had the propensity to use deadly force, as he displayed while he attempted to take Williams firearm.

 During this second series of shots Brown discontinued his charge towards Officer Williams and Williams in response discontinued his shooting because the threat was gone.  He didn’t continue shooting; instead he stopped when the threat stopped.  This was reasonable force and non-excessive.  Had Williams continued firing at this point, an argument could be made.  But he didn’t.

Once Michael Brown continued his rage-run towards Officer Brown shots continued until the threat was gone permanently. The amount of force used was not excessive and was justified under the circumstances.

Officer Williams is the victim in this case.  His life dream of being a police officer is likely a vapor in the wind.  Not because of the circumstances of the shooting, but because of the aftermath that this officer faced after the shooting.  It will be all but impossible for him to ever work in Ferguson, Mo. without either being killed or being constantly harassed by members of his community.  Every time people see him, their hands will go in the air and he will be called a child murderer, etc.  Other departments may not ever hire him because they don’t want to adopt his history. 

One of the fuels to the fire, if you will, is the fact that 13 rounds were fired at an unarmed teenager.  The public opinion regarding officer shootings is that it should only take one shot.  You hear it all of time during interviews on the news.  "Why did he have to shoot so many times?"  People from areas that ignorant to the use of a firearm don't understand what others who are around them all of the time.  They tend to have a misconceived notion that Hollywood has set into them, that it only takes a single shot to put an 8" hole into an attacker and the fight is over.  I don't know how much formal training officer Williams had and I wasn't in his shoes the day of the event.  That said, practice and training with the firearm that you will be carrying is extremely important, as is shot placement. Had officer Williams neutralized the threat with one or two rounds public opinion may have been different. Not that it would have been accepted by every body, but some people may have viewed it differently. 

Although I feel bad for Michael Brown’s family, the real victims here are the officers of each department that has to deal with the repercussions of this event, Officer Williams and his family and the communities that are burning to the ground because this one person’s decisions. 

God Bless you Officer Williams and all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day and night protecting the people of their communities.  I thank you!

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