Should the grand jury have indicted Darren Wilson?
Debate Rounds (3)
I will waste no time, and proceed directly with my rebuttal to your initial statements. I will not be arguing the validity of the officer's or witnesses' testimonies, as they are documented and used as factual evidence in a legal case. Beyond that, personal opinion of whether the officer or Michael Brown was "right" in their actions is moot.
First and foremost, saying that "there was a lot done wrong on Michael Browns part but that is no excuse that shoot somebody 10 times" is not a reasonable, defensible statement. That would be like saying crime is no excuse to shoot somebody. Based on the testimonies of the officer and multiple witnesses, it can be argued that Michael Brown jaywalked, assaulted an officer, and reached for the officer's firearm.
Assaulting an officer would constitute mandatory jail time, and likely a probation period. Reaching for the officer's firearm, however, makes it a far more serious matter. Reaching for the officer's firearm, if that's what happened, would immediately make this situation an "assault in the first degree:" a Class A Felony. This would constitute 10-30 years of prison time.
In this scenario, the officer would have to consider this a serious offense, and one that requires immediate action to subdue the suspect in the most efficient way possible.
Regarding the use of a stun gun, Officer Darren Wilson has admitted that he did not have his taser at the time of the incident, because it was not a mandatory tool, and he had deemed it "uncomfortable" due to it's size, relative to his lack of room in the vehicle. Had he been required to carry a taser, events may have gone differently, and Michael Brown would arguably still be alive.
However, the harsh reality is that it may have not made a difference at all. A taser is not always accurate enough or effective enough to stop larger suspects. The tips occasionally will not hook in, and will not deliver sufficient charge, failing to subdue the target. In the event that the taser did not immediately stop Michael Brown, he would likely have gotten full control of Officer Wilson's firearm, and Officer Wilson would have been shot and killed.
Finally, the reason that Officer Wilson didn't shoot Michael Brown in the leg is because officers and shooters are generally not trained to aim for the legs. Shooting the legs is dangerous, because of the large Femoral Artery that runs through our legs. Hitting this artery is often a slow, mortal wound, and a fairly painful one at that. Police are trained not to aim for the legs, because the arms have a lower risk for mortal wounding, and the center mass has a higher chance to hit vital organs, stopping the assailant that much faster. That being said, Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown, hitting the arm multiple times, the shoulder, the base of the neck, and the head. The gunpowder residue and wound on Michael Brown's right hand support the fact that he was within reaching distance of Officer Wilson's firearm, and multiple witnesses verify that Brown was involved in a physical altercation with Wilson. After Brown suffered a point-blank gunshot wound to the hand, he attempted to flee, and got several feet away. Based on the autopsy, it can be argued that Wilson shot at the arm in attempt to wound Brown. If Brown did not completely surrender, the officer would have been forced to consider the suspect as resisting, and would be legally within reason to stop the suspect by any means necessary.
Disregarding the personal opinions toward the Grand Jury, the rioting, and the aftermath, it appears as though Officer Wilson's greatest mistake was his failure to carry his taser, something that many law enforcement communities should strongly consider. However, beyond that, he appears to be acting within reason, based on the factual information raised in the case.
Michael Brown supposedly assaulted and attempted to kill the officer, making him a Class A Felon in this instance, and then attempted to flee. If at any point he turned back to face the officer and did anything other than comply with the officer's demands, he would be considered resisting arrest, and based on the aforementioned assault, the officer would be forced to consider the suspect as a dangerous criminal. The officer would be required to use any means necessary to subdue the suspect, and bring him to justice. This is unfortunately what happened, according to the testimony of the officer and multiple witnesses.
The way that Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown was not humane nor necessary. Police officers know that it does that take 8 shots to kill a man. If the officer knew that Brown would be subject to that time, why not find a better way to stop him so he can be incarcerated.
Studies show that over that past year, tasers has saved over 75,000 lives. You say that there is a chance that a taser would not have made a difference. If officer Wilson was carrying a drive style taser, two darts would have fired out and stuck to the target using 50,000 volts of charge. That is the voltage that police officers use. If he had used a taser it would have arguably made a change because Michael Brown would have not been able to function as if he had not been tased.
Finally you failed to mention how Michael Brown had his hands in the air signaling that he was making an effort to surrender. If a persons hands are up in the air and stay there, it is not as much of a threat because the person has already made up in their mind that they do not want to pursue in that type of action.
Also let's not forget that the prosecutor in the grand jury presents the evidence. Of he is from the state and close to that particular police station, he will present the evidence that he pleases. He could have said that Michael Brown fighter the cop and grabbed his gun and robbed a store and not said anything else. You never know.
If we submit that Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown at all, then by my knowledge, Wilson responded according to his training. If Brown at any time reached for Wilson's firearm, the officer is forced to treat the situation as a life and death situation. Theoretically, if Brown intended to take the officer's firearm, he intended to use it, so logically, allowing Brown to flee would be like allowing an attempted murderer to go free.
"Police officers know that it does that take 8 shots to kill a man."
In most cases, you are right, but 50 Cent was shot 9 times, and lived, and there are multiple similar cases if you care to research them. Police are not trained to fire one shot at a time. In most scenarios, they are trained to either shoot strategically: to wound or deter, or aim for the center mass/head combination, and empty their magazine. Brown was potentially shot twice before running away, so precisely how many shots do you believe the officer should have fired?
"If the officer knew that Brown would be subject to that time, why not find a better way to stop him so he can be incarcerated."
What method are you expecting? As I previously stated, Officer Darren Wilson had no taser. Brown would have been out of the range of mace, and unless I am mistaken, Officer Wilson had not yet attained any ID from Brown, so he wouldn't know where to find him if he lost him. If Michael Brown reached for the officer's gun, he was theoretically trying to kill Officer Wilson. If he's willing to kill an officer, he'd likely be willing to kill civilians. By this logic, the officer was attempting to protect public safety by trying to prevent Brown from fleeing. The only method he had for stopping Michael Brown, unfortunately, was his firearm.
Regarding your taser rebuttal: you are right in saying that tasers do save lives, which is why I made it a point to mention that I think law enforcement should strongly consider using tasers. In fact, I think that tasers should be a mandatory tool on all police officers' belts. The point that I was making with my statement was that a taser is not always effective. You seem to have missed this point entirely, so I will explore it further. If you would have referenced the source that I posted regarding tasers, you would have read that a standard taser doesn't work unless both barbs penetrate and lodge into the target. "That is a major reason why police are taught not to rely on Tasers when confronted with deadly force. Instead, they are taught to use their service weapon, fire for the central mass of the person posing the threat, and shoot until the threat is eliminated." This is another direct quote from the source below.
In addition to this, I will post a separate source claiming that using a taser is only 69% effective on the first attempt. Double-shot and new triple-shot cartridges help, but tasers still are an approximately 85% effective tool, so there is still a relatively small chance that Michael Brown would have been unaffected by the device. Also, even if the device was functioning properly, larger males in some cases are able to "power through" taser usage, and retain function. I agree that Wilson should have had a taser on him, but realistically, it wouldn't have been the instant solution that many people believe it would be.
"Finally you failed to mention how Michael Brown had his hands in the air signaling that he was making an effort to surrender. If a persons hands are up in the air and stay there, it is not as much of a threat because the person has already made up in their mind that they do not want to pursue in that type of action."
I was hoping not to have to argue the validity of the case, but the reality is that the physical evidence contradicts claims that Brown was fully surrendering. For reference, I encourage you to read both the first and second charts on this page thoroughly.
This chart that organizes the conflicting witness testimonies. The first one is tremendously rough, and suggests that 12/14 witnesses saw Michael Brown with "hands up," which is vague at best. In addition, this chart suggests that 5/9 people witnessed Michael Brown kneeling before being killed, which is flatly contradicted by physical evidence.
The Second chart attempts to be more thorough and upon analysis, the viewer can argue that the most credible witnesses are marked in green. That being said, none of these witnesses testify that Michael Brown had his hands up in surrender. Furthermore the witnesses arguing that Brown's hands were up in surrender has a testimony that is fully corroborated by evidence. Arguably, the more credible witnesses state that Michael Brown appeared to be moving toward the officer without his hands in a surrender pose, and some even testify that Brown was attempting to charge the officer. We don't know, and we may never know, but the witness testimony and evidence are too filled with ambiguity to say with certainty that Michael Brown's hands were up in surrender.
"Also let's not forget that the prosecutor in the grand jury presents the evidence. Of he is from the state and close to that particular police station, he will present the evidence that he pleases. He could have said that Michael Brown fighter the cop and grabbed his gun and robbed a store and not said anything else. You never know."
Here you have a double standard. Why are you willing to take random witnesses' words that Brown's hands were up? Then, why are you immediately doubting any legitimacy by the prosecutor? If you are willing to take blind facts, but immediately reject the prosecutor's statements, then I am forced to question whether you are biased.
So far, I have rebutted your points as clearly as I am able. In the final round, I challenge you to respond to my several questions, raise any additional concerns you would like for me to address, or to present any precise strategy that you would have substituted to prevent loss of life in this scenario (barring the already mentioned taser option).
If officer Wilson wen't through the proper training he should have been physically in shape to engage in a foot chase if Michael Brown was supposedly running away. Also you have a list of witnesses, why not ask if gone knew the man. If he was well know people would have recognized him.
If those 4 witnesses didn't see it and 5 did, what happened? Did they make up something or did they actually pay attention into detail?
"In your argent you said "police are not trained to fire one shot at a time. In most scenarios, they are trained to either shootstrategically; to wound or deter, or aim for the center mass/ head combination, and empty their magazines" in your argument prior to that you said that police are trained to wound."
I fail to see how my comments in any way contradict one another. Regarding firearms, there are two main methods. Option 1: Aim to wound the arm, as a nonlethal effort to deter the target. Option 2: Aim for the center mass and head, and empty the magazine as a means to incapacitate the target. Police are trained in these shooting practices, and you have failed to disprove my point on this specific concept.
"If officer Wilson wen't through the proper training he should have been physically in shape to engage in a foot chase if Michael Brown was supposedly running away. Also you have a list of witnesses, why not ask if gone knew the man. If he was well know people would have recognized him."
In most cases, abandoning your vehicle is strongly discouraged in police duty. If there would have been another officer present, Officer Wilson may have had some recourse to give chase on foot. However, with backup not yet having arrived, Officer Wilson was forced to maintain a visual on Michael Brown from the general vicinity of his vehicle. Regarding the witness testimony, civilians tend to refrain from helping police in dealing with other civilians, barring extreme situations. Officer Wilson had no ID on Michael Brown or Dorian Johnson, and questioning witnesses would not likely have produced no results. If the witnesses knew him well, they would not likely have offered any information, as this would be violating their relationship with Michael Brown. If the witnesses didn't know him that well, then they likely would not have known any information worth offering in the first place.
"If those 4 witnesses didn't see it and 5 did, what happened? Did they make up something or did they actually pay attention into detail?"
The evidence in this case was gathered during the investigation and evaluated by both government and independent analysts, who both ruled that the evidence seriously and explicitly contradicts claims that Michael Brown was kneeling at the time of his death. To put it simply, in addition to the government saying that Brown couldn't have been kneeling, an independent group evaluated the case files and agreed that Brown was not kneeling, according to the evidence of the case. Therefore, the 5 people who say that Michael Brown was kneeling are flat wrong, either due to simply failing to accurately recall the event, or because they are plainly lying about their account of the event. The fact that the evidence was evaluated by independent third parties is what makes the most difference in this scenario, and the evidence tends to support Officer Wilson's testimony.
I would like to thank Pro for the debate, but I would also like to point out that Pro never explicitly disproved any of my arguments, nor did they respond to the several questions that I posed in the 2nd Round.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that I have argued my point logically. Please vote Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hanspete 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Better arguments by Con far more thorough, only con used sources so my votes go to con.
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