The untold truth about what really took place before, during and after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014 is now being exposed by former Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.
The death of the teenager was covered from coast to coast as another police brutality case by the mainstream media, but Jackson is coming about now because he is distraught about how the police are portrayed in today’s American culture.
The base facts about the incident are about all that most Americans truly know.
“Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male, was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson after robbing a convenience store,” Townhall recounted. “After Brown struggled with Wilson and reportedly reached for his gun, the officer shot and killed him in self-defense. He was acquitted by a jury.”
However, much of the turmoil and unrest did not truly take place until after the lawsuit.
“Angry Ferguson residents did not accept that verdict, however,” Townhall’s Cortney O’Brien informed. “They let law enforcement know it by looting and lighting businesses on fire.”
Laying it all out
In his book, Policing Ferguson, Policing America, Jackson endeavors to set the record straight about the emotionally charged event that changed racial relations and charged racial tensions across the nation.
“America was transfixed for months by the protests, the riots, the never-ending news cycle,” Jackson wrote in an excerpt of his book published by Newsweek. “What was considered a noble, even heroic calling – police work – came to be perceived as the source of America’s woes … practically overnight. The name of Ferguson became shorthand for institutional racism and police brutality.”
Jackson relayed how he witnessed the transformation of Ferguson, Missouri, which begin during his watch as the chief of police – a change that has almost destroyed the entire town.
“I spent months on the hot seat – the primary focus of a nation’s outrage,” the ex-cop recounted. “It was probably more important to me than to anyone else to understand where that anger came from – to realistically assess how much of it was justified, and how much resulted from people jumping to conclusions based on a dangerous cocktail of provocative media reports and inflammatory pronouncements by politicians and activists, amplifying misperceptions that had spread on the Internet faster than any investigation could possibly proceed.”
DOI … Department of Injustice?
He says the federal government – led by former President Barack Obama – had much to do with the ignited racial tensions that eventually inflamed the entire nation.
“Since resigning my post – in the wake of the U.S. Department of Justice’s scathing report – I’ve had the time and motivation to examine all the things said about Ferguson,” Jackson shared. “Even if there weren’t lawsuits that required me to be clear about the facts, I needed to know for my own peace of mind where people came up with the claims they made about my force and our town. As a professional, I wanted to know what we were doing wrong and how to fix what could be fixed – even if my days as chief in Ferguson were over. This book is a product of that examination.”
The DOJ report effectively smeared the reputation of law enforcement in the United States – collectively.
“This Report is intended to strengthen those efforts [to embrace Ferguson’s racial diversity] by recognizing the harms caused by Ferguson’s law enforcement practices so that those harms can be better understood and overcome,” the DOJ report reads. “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue, rather than by public safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community.”
According to Jackson, the DOJ report solidified the public’s negative view of police in America as we know it.
“I cannot begin without first addressing two things: the Department of Justice report on Ferguson and the fact that there was so much coverage of events in Ferguson that people say, ‘I know what I saw. You can’t deny it,’” Jackson impressed in the beginning of the book. “You know what you saw. There’s a difference between, ‘I know what I saw,’ and ‘I know what I was shown.’ Even if you came to Ferguson to see with your own eyes, there were places you couldn’t have gone, meetings you couldn’t have attended. All I ask is that you give me a chance to show you what wasn’t shown – to take you where you couldn’t have gone.”
He then attempted to shine some light on the allegedly tainted DOJ report.
“Attorney General Eric Holder of the Department of Justice first arrived in Ferguson eleven days after the shooting,” Jackson continued. “He spoke with Michael Brown’s mother. He talked of his own experiences with prejudice. He stated publicly that his pledge included, as opposed to simple justice, ‘robust action,’ and he stated that ‘long after the events of August 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.’ The things he said and did added up to a tacit confirmation of the public fear that wrong had been done, the shooting had been bad and that prejudice was a factor. And it was all broadcast live. It not only cemented the Department of Justice’s biased stance in the upcoming investigation, but also turned up the heat of public anger. He made the job of law enforcement even harder than it already was, putting the public and police both at greater risk.”
Jackson shared how Holder managed to do all of this damage several months before the investigation came to a close.
“[This took place] three months before the facts were in,” for former police chief stressed. “His mind was made up before he arrived in town. Following his August 20 pledge and his September resignation, Holder appeared at the Washington Ideas Forum on October 29, where he declared, ‘I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department [Ferguson] is appropriate.’ The Los Angeles Times later quoted sources in the Justice Department saying, ‘The more he gets out in front publicly, the more he will be expected to deliver criminal charges…the situation could reach a tipping point where federal criminal charges would be the only way to vindicate Holder’s public comments.’”
Finally, a real investigation …
It was later discovered that Holder’s account of what took place did not hold water.
“Then the investigations into the shooting concluded and the forensics showed that the narrative that had gained such traction with the public didn’t fit the evidence,” Jackson pointed out. “The officer’s version of events did. To those who right here would immediately jump to thinking ‘staged scene, cover-up,’ I have included in my new book an appendix so you can read the findings yourself. Mind you, what I’ve included is not from an internal police investigation – it’s from a federal investigation, because the FBI (a division of the DOJ) was sent to look into this at the same time that Holder was. The FBI came, stayed off camera and did their jobs. They actually investigated before reaching their conclusions. They brought in the evidence, and it supported the police officer whom Holder had tacitly condemned.”
Pushing an agenda
He contends that the DOJ’s probe was doomed since its onset because of preconceived bias.
“It’s one thing for a shopkeeper to say, ‘I might have made an unfair rush to judgment here,’ and quite another for the attorney general of the United States to say, ‘Oops,’” the former head of police added. “What are the odds of a fair and unbiased investigation if the person directing it is thoroughly invested in finding something that will vindicate him rather than in finding the truth? The DOJ investigation started with the premise that Ferguson was a swamp of injustice, then sought out and published anything that looked like it supported that position.”
He conceded that his police force was by no means perfect and that it had its own problems, but he did maintain that its image was tarred and feathered by the DOJ and media alike.
“I don’t want to imply the department I led was immaculate – that no Ferguson officer ever engaged in questionable behavior – and I don’t deny that there are systemic problems or that the criminal justice system is in need of lasting reform,” Jackson clarified. “But the Ferguson portrayed in that report was an invention – a backwards, angry place that the Justice Department created to make a show of tearing it down.”
He said the town leaders were shocked at the DOJ’s so-called “findings.”
“Seven months after the shooting and three months after the grand jury had ruled that there were no grounds to indict the officer involved, I was summoned to meet with representatives of the DOJ prior to the report’s release,” Jackson recalled. “As the city’s manager, attorney, mayor, and I went into the meeting, we were required to surrender our cell phones and recording devices, as if they didn’t want anybody to know what they were about to say. We listened in horror as the DOJ lead investigator outlined the essential findings in the report. A stunned Stephanie Karr, our city attorney, protested, ‘You can’t say those things. That’s not true. It won’t hold up in litigation.’ The DOJ investigator replied coldly, ‘Well, we aren’t litigating, are we?’”
Because the account came from Obama’s DOJ – which many Americans hoped (and believed) would give an objective interpretation of what actually took place in Ferguson – a substantial segment of the population took the federal report as fact.
Fanning the racial fire
“In the court of public opinion, there is no standard of proof – much less a defense team,” Jackson qualified. “We knew their report was a distorted misrepresentation, but they counted on the public not to question it. By the time sources like The Wall Street Journal condemned them for the meaningless way they used statistics, for example, it was too late. The damage was done. I still shake my head over how easily they could publish a report filled with so much that met no evidentiary standards – simply by playing to what ‘everybody knew.’ Everybody knew. How quickly a few social media reports grew into ‘everybody knows.’”
He said it did not take long before race riots were triggered throughout the nation – as gullible, government-trusting citizens took the DOJ at its word.
“It was like a chain reaction that got out of control,” Jackson lamented. “Social media sources and traditional media sources were feeding off each other. The crowds were responding to what the police were doing. The more it escalated, the more people showed up, and the more people showed up, the more it escalated. It was a toxic feedback loop.”
The former officer was disappointed to realize that the last letter of Obama’s DOJ did not truly stand for justice, and he is still saddened that the media and the general public are so eager to believe government accounts without looking at the real, hard evidence – and without recognizing a political agenda when they see one.
“My grim observation in Ferguson was that media representatives and politicians lost objectivity,” Jackson concluded. “They did not wait for the facts. True justice stands upon the facts – no matter how much they fly in the face of popular perception. True justice is impartial … and for everyone.”
Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.