Darren Wilson spent four hours talking to the St. Louis County Grand Jury on Tuesday as reported in the St. Louis Post Dispatch yesterday. It's an interesting development for a number of reasons:
1) The prosecutor has extended the term of the GJ until January, truly an unconscionable delay if their sole focus is Michael Brown's killing by Darren Wilson. Though previously they were only meeting once a week, the investigation and presentation of evidence sufficient to indict shouldn't take so long, provided, of course, an indictment is likely. The only reason to extend a grand jury in a case like this is to defuse the potential for anger and reaction by the public -- which is often standard procedure in cases of officer involved shootings.
2) It is highly unusual for a likely defendant to appear before a grand jury for the simple reason that the witness has no legal representation in grand jury proceedings, and unless well-versed in the law (and even then...) may well self-incriminate, testimony which can then be used by the prosecutor to impeach testimony at trial. In other words, it is very risky for the potential defendant, and observers are aghast that Wilson testified.
3) While we still don't know where Wilson is staying while being protected, nor by whom he is being protected, the indications are that he is still in the St. Louis area. He is reported to have been interviewed by St. Louis County police twice so far and the Federal investigators once. Supposedly, he is "cooperating." But there has been no public statement from him, only hearsay from third parties.
Meanwhile, in Jennings, MO, the adjacent community to Ferguson, MO, where Darren Wilson first served as a police officer prior to the disbanding of the force in 2011-12, a man was shot and killed by police -- the new police force -- last night, allegedly while carrying a rifle and fleeing from officers, or while pointing a rifle at officers. As is so often the case, accounts vary.
This shooting occurred as a consequence of a 911 call. As in so many cases, calling 911 got someone killed by police. This happens most often on domestic violence calls, child endangerment calls, and armed suspect calls (such as the recent killing in Utah of a "suspicious person" with a Samurai sword.) In this case, it was apparently an "armed suspect" call, or rather calls, as the "armed suspect" was reported and police were dispatched twice to the same location last night.
Police claim that the suspect was spotted when they went to investigate on the second call. The suspect got into a vehicle and rammed police vehicles -- a frequently alleged incident in police involved shootings -- and then fled from the scene with a weapon in hand (said to be a shotgun or perhaps a rifle).
Police allege that the suspect fired the weapon at them, but there is no corroborating evidence that he did so. Police often allege "pointing a weapon" or "firing a weapon" to justify killing someone, but there is almost as often no evidence apart from officer statements and testimony. As we know, officers don't always tell the truth.
Police fired at the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Make of it what you will.
The question I will ask in every case like this -- and they are so similar by now -- is whether the killing by police was necessary or were there reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force available.
If there weren't, why not?
Too many killings. Too many.