The “hands up, don’t shoot” movement in the aftermath of the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting was based on a false narrative.
That is the conclusion of liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, also an MSNBC commentator, who was among the many pundits that completely bought into the mantra.
On August 9, 2014, Ferguson cop Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, which prompted a nationwide, racially charged controversy, including civil unrest in Ferguson and elsewhere. A St. Louis grand jury declined to indict Wilson on any charges, and the U.S. Department of Justice subsequently concluded that there were no federal civil rights violations by the officer in the encounter.
Last week, Megyn Kelly on The Kelly File slammed the rush-to-judgment media for misleading America by repeatedly claiming that Michael Brown was shot, perhaps even in the back, while surrendering with his hands raised.
After reviewing the two investigatory reports on Ferguson compiled by the DOJ in the Michael Brown killing, Capehart concluded in a Post article called “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Was Built On A Lie,” that the government findings “have also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown.”
Capehart admitted that the Justice Department myth-shattering investigation results made him ill.
“Wilson knew about the theft of the cigarillos from the convenience store and had a description of the suspects. Brown fought with the officer and tried to take his gun. And the popular hands-up storyline, which isn’t corroborated by ballistic and DNA evidence and multiple witness statements, was perpetuated by Witness 101. In fact, just about everything said to the media by Witness 101, whom we all know as Dorian Johnson, the friend with Brown that day, was not supported by the evidence and other witness statements.”
In an interview with NPR, Capehart acknowledged taking a lot of flak from those who criticized him for reaching this conclusion belatedly as well as those who have accused him of selling out. “Well, I mean this is one of the reasons why it was the hardest piece I had ever written because I could have anticipated this kind of reaction… And I couldn’t possibly go on writing about this without acknowledging my error and without saying how I felt about it. Why would anybody trust anything I would have to say if I continued to ignore something so pivotal going forward?”
Jonathan Capehart insisted that his reassessment of the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown incident in no way minimizes the “black lives matter” movement or the systemic abuses in the Ferguson police department. “But we must never allow ourselves to march under the banner of a false narrative on behalf of someone who would otherwise offend our sense of right and wrong. And when we discover that we have, we must acknowledge it, admit our error and keep on marching. That’s what I’ve done here.”
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