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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sorry, but the Grand Jury Got It Right

For many in the media, the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision was going to confirm the existence of deep American injustice one way or another. If it found there was insufficient evidence for an indictment against Darren Wilson — the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, in August in Ferguson, Missouri — it would mean that the American justice system is corrupt, unjust and rife with racism. If the grand jury decided to move forward with an indictment, it could only mean that American law enforcement is corrupt, unjust and rife with racism.

Even if many of your grievances are legitimate, “justice” doesn’t exist to soothe your anger. In the end, there wasn’t probable cause to file charges against Wilson. And after all the intense coverage and buildup, the predictable happened. Even taking a cursory look at the evidence the grand jury saw and heard, the details of Brown’s death were far more complex than what we heard when the incident first broke. Lawyers will, no doubt, analyze every morsel of evidence in the coming days. But if Wilson’s testimony is corroborated by forensic evidence — and much of it seems to be — it seems unlikely that any jury would be able to convict him.


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