'I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man's life. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience.' -Martin Buber

Michael Brown Shooting

by Ethan Glover, Sun, Feb 22, 2015 - (Edited) Tue, Dec 26, 2017

Michael Brown was 18 years old, 6'4", and 292 lbs. at the time of his death.[1] He had just graduated from an unaccredited public school and was set to start school in learning how to repair furnaces and air conditioners.[2]

Darren Wilson was 28 years old, 6'4", and 210 lbs. when he shot and killed Michael Brown.[3] As a police officer, Darren had no disciplinary records.

On August 9, 2014, surveillance cameras recorded Michael Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson stealing Swisher cigars in a strong-arm robbery. When a clerk tried to stop him, Brown pushed him away.

Police dispatch reported the details of the robbery. The dispatch described Brown as a black male wearing a white T-shirt carrying a box of Swisher cigars. Dispatch also described him as wearing a red cardinals hat, yellow socks, and khaki shorts, and with another black male (Dorian).[4]

Darren Wilson spotted both robbers walking in the middle of the street and ordered them to move onto the sidewalk.[1] While the details are unclear; Michael reached through the window of Darren's squad car.

Evidence showed that Brown's DNA was on both Wilson's gun and the car door handle. Evidence also shows that Brown hand was inches away from the gun when it went off.[13]

During the struggle, Wilson's gun went off twice and Brown was shot in his right hand.[5] Brown and his friend ran away and Wilson pursued them. Brown turned around and started moving towards Wilson.[6]

Wilson fired his gun again, with at least six shots hitting brown, killing him.[1] According to the autopsy, no shots went into Browns back.[14]

Dorian Johnson was not present to witness the shooting; he ran away and got in a friend's car.[8]

Tensions began to grow during the investigation when police left the body of Michael Brown in the street for four hours after he was shot.[7] Tensions increased when the footage of Brown's robbery was released, after protests by family members had already started.[9]

Peaceful protests started immediately after Brown's death and people were taking sides before any evidence was in. Police set up curfews and militarized and protesters began looting and vandalizing almost immediately.[22][23]

A Department of Justice investigation of Darren Wilson reported that there was not enough evidence to support criminal charges against him.[10]

A grand jury spent a total of 25 days over three months hearing over 5,000 pages of testimony from 50 witnesses to consider their indictment of Darren Wilson.[11] On November 24, it was announced that the grand jury decided not to indict, and the evidence was released to the public.[12]

The county autopsy, for example, revealed the presence of THC in Brown's blood and urine. This is evidence for marijuana use, but it's unclear as to the effects it had on Brown at the time of his death.[15]

Michael Brown's family had a second, independent autopsy done by Dr. Michael Baden after Brown's body had been washed and embalmed, removing most evidence, by the first autopsy.[16]

This report claimed that Wilson fired all shots one or two feet from Brown. Eyewitness accounts and the primary autopsy both contradict this claim. In the end, Baden said that there was not enough information available to reconstruct the shooting.[17]

Witness reports on this case were contradictory across the board.[18] The Associated Press said that witness testimony was often, "inconsistent, fabricated, or provably wrong".[19]

On August 10th, Darren Wilson gave his account in an interview with a detective.[20] On November 26th, he did an interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos.[21] Darren's story is mostly aligned with what evidence has shown on the case.

Despite no evidence that Michael Brown had his hands up when he was shot, the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" movement has grown with politicians across the country using it to protest police brutality.[24][25]


[1] F. Bosman, 'Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times',, 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[2] W. Lowry and T. Frankel, 'Mike Brown notched a hard-fought victory just days before he was shot: A diploma', Washington Post, 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[3] A. Harris, 'Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[4] R. Patrick, 'Darren Wilson's radio calls show fatal encounter was brief :',, 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[5] M. Schmidt, M. Apuzzo and J. Osman, 'Police Officer in Ferguson Is Said to Recount a Struggle',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[6], 'What Happened in Ferguson?', 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[7] D. Hunn and K. Bell, 'Why was Michael Brown's body left there for hours? : News',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[8] M. Sylwester, 'Did Dorian Johnson Actually See The Shooting of Mike Brown ? Evidence Released Suggests "NO"...', The Last Refuge, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[9] A. Press, 'Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson cedes much of his authority', Fox News, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[10] M. Bello, G. Toppo and P. Eisler, 'Grand jury charges are easy, except against police', USA TODAY, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[11] P. Cassell, 'The Michael Brown grand jury process was fair', Washington Post, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[12] M. Basu, H. Yan and D. Ford, 'Fires, chaos erupt in Ferguson after grand jury doesn't indict in Michael Brown case', CNN, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[13] A. Cuadra, L. Gamio, K. Kelly and S. Higham, 'Chaos in a police vehicle: Key moments in the struggle between Wilson and Brown in Wilson's patrol vehicle', Washington Post, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[14] W. Lowry and D. Fears, 'Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson, the friend who witnessed his shooting', Washington Post, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[15] C. Byers, 'Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system : News',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[16] A. Kiekow, 'Dr. Baden to testify before Brown grand jury',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[17] M. Hennessy-Fiske and R. Serrano, 'Autopsy shows Michael Brown was shot six times, and twice in the head',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[18] C. Byers, 'Witness adds new perspective to Ferguson shooting : News',, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[19] H. Mohr, D. Lieb and P. Lucas, 'Ferguson grand jury papers full of inconsistencies', The Big Story, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[20], 'Documents describe Ferguson officer's version of fatal shooting', 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[21] D. Good, 'Exclusive: Darren Wilson Discusses Firing Deadly Shot', ABC News, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Feb- 2015].

[22], 'Protests near St. Louis continue for slain teen after riot, arrests', 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23- Feb- 2015].

[23] NBC News, 'Looting Erupts After Vigil for Slain Missouri Teen Michael Brown', 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23- Feb- 2015].

[24] L. McCalmont, 'Lawmakers make 'hands up' gesture on House floor', POLITICO, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23- Feb- 2015].

[25] J. Roy, 'Black Congressional Staffers Stage Powerful 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Protest', Daily Intelligencer, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23- Feb- 2015].