When Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Mike Brown on August 9th, his family and close friends expected to get an official report from the police later that day. Within 48 hours, frustrated people across the country (and the world) wanted answers, but an official report never came. Now, over 80 days later, an official account from the police has never been released and the St. Louis County Police Department quietly announced that they simply wouldn’t be releasing one at all. In that light, concerned citizens have been forced to piece together clues and public accounts of eyewitnesses to fully grasp just what happened.
So, on October 22nd, when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leaked the previously-sealed autopsy report of Mike Brown from the county medical examiner, it was a huge deal. Immediately, political pundits and forensic scientists combed through every detail of the medical aspects of the report and debates soon broke out over each wound that Brown received and what did or did not mean. Was he going for the gun or was he just protecting himself from being shot? Was he shot two or three times in the head? Was he shot from behind? Was Mike Brown shot with his hands up? Do the bullet wounds suggest that he was charging at Darren Wilson as it has been alleged by grand jury leaks?
Ultimately, the report itself failed to definitively answer any of these questions, and in the raging medical debate over the autopsy, a small section on page two of the sixteen page report was seemingly overlooked.There, Detective Patrick J. Hokamp of the St. Louis County Police Department, who was on the scene of the shooting death of Mike Brown, gave his initial overview of how and why Darren Wilson came to confront and kill Mike Brown there on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri. His report states:
The deceased (Mike Brown) and another individual were walking down the middle of Canfield. Officer D. Wilson (DSN-609), of the Ferguson Police Department observed the two individuals, he requested that they get out of the roadway.
The deceased became belligerent towards Officer Wilson. As Officer Wilson exited out of his patrol vehicle the deceased pushed his door shut and began to struggle with Officer Wilson, during the struggle the officers weapon was un-holstered. The weapon discharged during the struggle.
The deceased then ran down the roadway. Officer Wilson then began to chase the deceased. As he was giving chase to the deceased, the deceased turned around and ran towards Officer Wilson. Officer Wilson had his service weapon drawn, as the deceased began to run towards him, he discharged his service weapon several times.
While simple in its account of the day, the report tells a radically different story than that which Darren Wilson is alleged to have told the grand jury weeks after this report was officially filed. This report suggests that Officer Darren Wilson got out of his car to confront Mike Brown because he was “belligerent” in response to Wilson’s request for him to get on the sidewalk. However, in his purported testimony to the grand jury, Wilson claims to have heard about someone fitting the description of Mike Brown committing a robbery on his police radio and chose to confront Mike Brown because of it.
Why in the world would Detective Hokamp, in the earliest known summary of key facts from the shooting, tell us where Mike was walking and how Mike Brown was talking, but leave out that Darren Wilson believed Mike Brown to be a suspect in a very recent felony? It doesn’t add up.
Just days after Mike Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, the Ferguson Police Chief, Tom Jackson, actually stated that Wilson was unaware that Mike Brown was a suspect for any crime – only to conspicuously come out later that same afternoon to say that he actually wasn’t sure if Wilson was aware of the report or not. To believe that the Chief of Police, days after a shooting that had the entire world focused on his town, was unsure whether one of his own officers did or didn’t know if the young man he killed was a suspect in a crime is preposterous at best and criminal at worst.
Eyewitnesses say that it was actually Darren Wilson who cursed at Mike Brown and was belligerent. Four eyewitnesses that were on Canfield Drive also say that after Darren Wilson passed Mike Brown up, that he screeched his tires in reverse and nearly ran into Mike Brown with his SUV. This report from Detective Hokamp, if anything, confirms the narrative that Wilson angrily confronted Mike Brown not because he believed him to be a suspect in a robbery, but for jaywalking, and ended up in a confrontation that left a young man dead that day.
As the deadline looms for the grand jury to make a decision on an indictment of Darren Wilson, only time will tell if any semblance of justice is possible.
Shaun King is an activist, entrepreneur, and author of the upcoming book The Power of 100. Follow him on Twitter: @shaunking