The web is full of stories about the non-indictment of Darren Wilson today, so you probably don’t need to hear from me about it. But if you just home from work and only just started trying to sift through the links of the day, here are a few suggestions.
First, Ezra Klein says what a lot of people were thinking: Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally..
Usually a story as fishy as Wilson’s would be enough for an indictment, but it’s highly unusual to actually hear testimony from the accused in a grand jury trial, Jeffrey Toobin writes for the New Yorker. After all, the grand jury trial isn’t meant to determine Wilson’s guilt or innocence, just whether prosecutors have enough evidence to merit a case. That’s why some have described the grand jury trial as an alternative to a real trial.
Some might suggest that all cases should be treated the way McCulloch handled Wilson before the grand jury, with a full-fledged mini-trial of all the incriminating and exculpatory evidence presented at this preliminary stage. Of course, the cost of such an approach, in both time and money, would be prohibitive, and there is no guarantee that the ultimate resolutions of most cases would be any more just. In any event, reserving this kind of special treatment for white police officers charged with killing black suspects cannot be an appropriate resolution.
In other words, the trial itself is yet another example of the gross inequalities in our country.
Zooming out from Fergeson, the The Salt Lake Tribune reports that killings by Utah police have outpaced other homicides in the state:
Over a five-year period, data show that fatal shootings by police officers in Utah ranked second only to homicides of intimate partners.
In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members.
Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse.
And so far this year, deadly force by police has claimed more lives — 13, including a Saturday shooting in South Jordan — than has violence between spouses and dating partners.
The article doesn’t dive into racial dynamics of police shootings in the state, but you can bet that it’s not pretty. Just another reminder that the police are out of control.