Since the St. Louis County prosecutor's office released a trove of documents and evidence reviewed by the grand jury that decided to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, there have been numerous reports pointing out the discrepancies between Wilson's and various witness accounts of what happened on the day that Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. While the grand jury has put an end to the state's case against Wilson, questions about witness accounts could still sway the outcome of the Justice Department's ongoing investigation. The Washington Post, Vox, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, PBS, and the Wall Street Journal have reported on these different accounts in further detail, especially the differences between the testimonies of Wilson and Dorian Johnson, a friend who was with Brown when Wilson approached them. We matched those accounts up with McCulloch's statement during his announcement of the grand jury decision. Here are five key discrepancies:
1. What happened during Wilson's initial encounter with Brown and Dorian Johnson?
Prosecutor Robert McCulloch: Wilson saw Brown and Johnson in the street, slowed down and told them to get on the sidewalk, and words were exchanged.
Darren Wilson: Wilson saw Brown and Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of the road. He told Johnson and Brown to get on the sidewalk. He noticed Brown was holding Cigarillos and remembered the report about the theft.
Dorian Johnson: Brown stole the Cigarillos from the Ferguson Market and then the two of them were walking toward their apartments as Wilson passed. Wilson told them to "Get the fuck on the sidewalk."
2. How did the situation escalate?
McCulloch: Wilson reverses his car at an angle, blocking traffic and Brown and Johnson's path. Wilson and Brown get into an altercation, with Wilson still in the car and Brown standing at the driver's window.
Wilson: After Wilson told Brown and Johnson to get on the sidewalk, he says he heard Brown respond "fuck what you have to say." He backed the car up to contain them, and asks Brown to come over to the car. He starts to get out of the car and Brown slams the door shut and says "what the fuck are you going to do about it."
Johnson: Johnson says neither he nor Brown said a word and Wilson reversed his car unexpectedly, then opened his door and hit both him and Brown, and the door bounced back closed. Wilson then grabbed Brown by the shirt around his neck.
3. What exactly happened during Wilson and Brown's "tussle"?
McCulloch: McCulloch says witness statements were inconsistent, with some saying Brown was never in the car at all, and others saying Brown was punching Wilson, some saying they were wrestling, and another saying that it was a tug-of-war. Two shots are fired during the altercation.
Wilson: After getting the door slammed on him, Wilson told Brown to "get the fuck back," and tried to use the door to push him. Brown shut it again, and Brown then came "in my vehicle." Brown punched Wilson. Wilson had one hand on his gun and tried to fire twice. Brown reached for Wilson's gun. The gun goes off twice, and one bullet hits the door.
Johnson: Johnson says that Wilson reached his hand out of his car window and grabbed Brown's shirt by his neck. A "tug of war" ensued with Brown trying to escape Wilson's grip, but Brown's hands never entered the car. After hearing the first gun shot, Johnson noticed blood on Brown, then turned and ran away. Brown followed behind him.
4. Did Wilson shoot at Brown and Johnson as they ran away?
McCulloch: McCulloch again says witness statements were inconsistent, with claims ranging from Wilson firing from the car, firing at Brown's back as he was running, and others saying Wilson didn't fire until Brown turned around and came back toward Wilson.
Wilson: Brown begins to run from Wilson after two shots were fired from the car. Brown runs but then turns around, and won't comply with demands to get on the ground. Wilson says he didn't open fire while Brown and Johnson ran away.
Johnson: Johnson hid behind a car, and watched as Brown ran past him and Wilson followed. Wilson opens fire while Brown is still running, at which point Brown stops and turns around. (Witness Piaget Crenshaw has told CNN Wilson shot as Brown ran away, adding that one bullet struck the building she was standing in. Another witness told investigators Wilson shot at Brown as he ran away.)
5.What was Brown doing when Wilson shot him?
McCulloch: McCulloch says witness accounts differ on whether Brown's hands were up when he was facing Brown after turning around. Some say Brown didn't move at all before Wilson shot him, others say he was in "full charge." McCulloch stressed that several witnesses' stories changed over the course of multiple interviews with authorities.
Wilson: Brown initially runs away but then turns around, and won't comply with Wilson's demands to get on the ground. Brown appears to charge toward Wilson. Brown put his hand at his waistband. Wilson opens fire.
Johnson: When Brown turned around to face Wilson, Brown's hands were up, one higher than the other. His hands were nowhere near his waist. Brown appeared to try and tell Wilson that he didn't have a gun, starting to take a step forward. Before Brown could complete his sentence, Wilson shot him several more times. (Crenshaw told CNN that after Brown turned around, he barely moved toward Wilson and that his hands were up. "They were just slowly going up, it probably didn't even have a chance to get all the way up there before he was struck.")
PBS Newshour analyzed more than 500 pages of witness testimony and compared them to Wilson's statements. Their graphic shows 16 witnesses testified that Brown put his hands up when fired upon:
Darren Wilson's car on the day he killed Michael Brown.
After St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, the county released a collection of documents from the grand jury proceedings. Among them were hundreds of photos from the investigation, depicting everything from the crime scene to Wilson at the hospital after the shooting. Here are just a few (all photos provided by the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office):
Wilson's police SUV after the shooting. Brown's hat lies next to it.
The inside of the police SUV where the initial encounter between Wilson and Brown took place.
Shots were fired inside the car, and at least one went through the door.
The driver's side door handle with what appears to be blood on it.
A closer look shows what appears to be blood on the gun.
Blood on the street (presumably Brown's)
Wilson, according witnesses and his own testimony, missed several times as he fired at Brown. Some of those bullets struck nearby buildings.
Where one of Wilson's shots entered the wall of a nearby apartment building.
This shot narrowly missed a window.
There has been contention about the distance between Wilson's car and Brown's body. This shot shows Brown's body behind a screen with Wilson's SUV off further down the street.
Here is Darren Wilson's testimony before the St. Louis County grand jury (St. Louis Public Radio has uploaded documents, here), starting on page 195. (His account of his encounter with Michael Brown begins on page 206.) Follow our coverage on what's happening in Ferguson, and how the grand jury decision fits a longstanding pattern in the St. Louis area.
Wilson at a City Council meeting in February 2014.
Grand jury decides not to indict: The grand jury reviewing Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson's case in St. Louis County announced on Monday night that Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The decision came more than three months after Wilson shot and killed Brown, the unarmed black teenager whose death on August 9 triggered weeks of protests that included sporadic violence and looting.
Twelve jurors—nine whites and three African Americans—reviewed Wilson's case. Their decision continues a long-running pattern of police officers involved in fatal shootings going unprosecuted.
Brown family issues statement: Mike Brown's parents released a statement following the grand jury decision asking protesters keep their actions peaceful:
Restricted air space: The Federal Aviation Administration confirms to Mother Jones that it restricted air space over Ferguson at 10:15 p.m. local time "due to gunfire." The resrtiction was in effect from the surface to 3,000 feet above sea level (about 2,500 feet off the ground), so that's why some news feeds were still working above the area.
President Obama reacts: Shortly after 10pm Eastern time, the president spoke, urging a peaceful response to the news. "Michael Brown's parents have lost more than anyone. We should be honoring their wishes."
Attorney General issues statement: Attorney General Eric Holder has released the following statement, saying the federal investigation into the shooting is still ongoing. (Read more about the Department of Justice's investigation here):
In most states, a major barrier to bringing the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault to justice is baked into the law. Nationwide, 34 states and Washington, DC, have statutes of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges, ranging from 3 to 30 years. In New Hampshire, charges must be filed within six years of a crime; in Connecticut, it's five years. In Minnesota, it's three. Some states tie the statute of limitations to reporting deadlines. If a survivor in Illinois comes forward within three years, the state has 10 years to file charges. If she takes longer than that, the case dies.
Twenty-seven states extend or suspend statutes of limitations if DNA evidence can identify a suspect, but these exemptions vary. Georgia puts no time limit on rape cases in which a DNA match has been made. In Indiana, prosecutors must charge a suspect within one year of a DNA match. In Connecticut, the crime must be initially reported within five years for any future DNA match to be considered.