Over the last couple of weeks and months, one thing about Ferguson has become excruciatingly clear: That we’ll never know what happened, and agnosticism is the only really reliable response. Well, never is a long time. But let’s say the greatest degree of certainty we’re ever likely have lay somewhere between O.J. Simpson and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
However, both Darrenites and Brownesians have their adherents, and this forensic pathologist is firmly in the latter camp. Cyril Wecht appeared on CNN to give his take back in November, before defense attorney — sorry, “lead prosecutor” — Mike McCulloch got Wilson off the chopping block. His words are a few weeks old now, but worth hearing.
When Weight was questioned about the position of Brown’s hands during the shooting, he reached what appeared to be an obvious conclusion: that given the upward angle of the bullets, his hands could only have been up then the arm was hit.
The chest wounds also had a downward trajectory; that indicates Brown was leaning forward at a significant angle when hit. That angle would be far further than a person could assume for running, since the center of mass would be so much further forward than the feet. That posture indicates someone falling forward…not running forward. The former being exactly what witnesses described.
It all sounds pretty compelling, but we do have to mention this: Wecht was incorrect about the heights of Brown and Wilson. He states that Wilson was 6 foot, and Brown 6 foot 5 inches. Both, as we now know, were a near-identical 6 foot 4 inches. That brings the margin of the shot trajectories closer together — but it still doesn’t make Wecht wrong. The fact is, apart from the arm wounds, the forensic evidence could be read to support either Wilson’s or the non-shooting witnesses’ testimonies.
And that, unfortunately, will probably always remain the case. Does the evidence support Wilson’s testimony, or was his testimony constructed around the evidence he had access to? We may never know. But this much we do know, one way or the other:
America is sick of cowardly, killer cops, thugs with badges who have of late come to function more as religiously effective extermination squads than public servants. Much as they’d like to convince us otherwise, to blame the victims (as is the Steubenville way), the problem isn’t and never has been us; the problem is them.
And that much we CAN be certain of.