Ferguson witnesses admit they lied to grand jury
FERGUSON, Mo. (CNN) – More than two weeks after a Saint Louis County grand jury did not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, there are new revelations about the evidence that drove their decision.
Witnesses admitted to lying. According to Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County Prosecutor, “Some witnesses admitted they didn’t actually see the shooting, or only saw part of the shooting, or only repeating what they heard on the street.”
Others changed their story. The grand jury had to figure out who and what to believe.
Danny Cevallos, CNN Legal Analyst, said, “This is demonstrating to the citizens what people in the justice system have known for a long time. That eyewitness testimony, the data is increasingly showing, is inherently at best, unreliable. At worst it’s completely unreliable.”
Thousands of pages of documents, made public, turn up several examples of testimony with little to no credibility. Witness 22, whose testimony was at first damaging to Officer Wilson, admitted she lied when pressed by investigators. Eventually telling the grand jury, quote: “I just felt like I want to be part of something…I didn’t see what I told the FBI…”
Testimony from witness 35 might have helped lead to an indictment of Officer Wilson, testifying that Michael Brown was, quote, “on his knees,” when shot in the head, by Wilson. However, it wasn’t true. The witness admits to making that story up. In one exchange, the prosecutor asked: “Are you telling us the only thing that’s true about all of your statements before this, is that you saw that police officer shoot him at-point blank range?” The answer: “Yes.”
It happened on both sides. Witness 40 supported Wilson’s version of what happened, but prosecutors revealed she posted a racist comment on-line on the day of the shooting, that read, quote: “They need to kill the ‘expletive,’ ‘expletive.’ It’s like an ape fest.” When questioned about what she allegedly saw, she admitted to having gathered some details from news reports.
Dorian Johnson, a witness, said, “We took off running.” He was one witness who remained consistent. He was with Brown at the time of the shooting. Johnson told a nearly identical “hands up” version of what happened to county and federal authorities the grand jury and the media.
“He shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands up in the air and started to get down, but the officer continued to come with his weapon drawn and he fired several more shots,” said Johnson.
62 witnesses total, more than 5,000 documents of testimony presented. (“Did the ones that were credible all have the same version of the shooting?”) Josh Levs, CNN Correspondent said, “No, and that’s something else that’s really important for people to learn about this as you piece through this testimony.”
Levs has led the project of going through all the documents made public. “Most of them were probably doing their best to say what it is what they remember what happened, but no they do not have one joint narrative as to what happened.”
Leaving critics to question: ‘Was too much information presented to the grand jury?’ ‘Should the process have been done differently?’ And if so, ‘Could it have led to a different outcome?’