“Hands up, don’t shoot!” This infamous slogan rose to prominence during the protests which broke out after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. The phrase, which is still repeated at Black Lives Matter protests to this day, is a reference to a debunked claim by Dorian Johnson that Michael Brown was executed by Officer Darren Wilson despite surrendering and holding his hands in the air.
Since then, the initial claims about Brown supposedly being “murdered” while surrendering have been fully dismantled on multiple occasions, most notably by Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. The Obama Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, found in its exhaustive investigation of the case that witness accounts and forensic evidence overwhelmingly indicated that Brown did not hold up his hands and surrender. The decision not to press charges against Officer Darren Wilson is telling, given Obama’s open embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement for political gain.
As detailed in its famous final report, Obama-Biden administration ultimately concluded that all the available evidence painted an entirely different story than the racially charged narrative that sparked the Ferguson protests and riots. The administration found that evidence indicated that Brown assaulted Officer Wilson, attempted to steal his firearm, and then charged at him. Here’s the legal analysis offered in the investigation based on all of the witness accounts and forensic evidence:
…Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions, if true, would establish that the shootings were not objectively unreasonable under the relevant Constitutional standards governing an officer’s use of deadly force. Multiple credible witnesses corroborate virtually every material aspect of Wilson’s account and are consistent with the physical evidence. Even if the evidence established that Wilson’s actions were unreasonable, the government would also have to prove that Wilson acted willfully, i.e. that he acted with a specific intent to violate the law. As discussed above, Wilson’s stated intent for shooting Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under Section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never punched and grabbed Wilson at the SUV, never struggled with Wilson over the gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Not only do eyewitnesses and physical evidence corroborate Wilson’s account, but there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s perception that Brown posed a threat to Wilson as Brown advanced toward him. Accordingly, seeking his indictment is not permitted by Department of Justice policy or the governing law.
With an utter disregard for the conclusions of their own Justice Department, Democratic politicians still stand on the false soapbox of “hands up, don’t shoot” by shamelessly painting Brown as an innocent martyr. Among those still doing so are presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly announced running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), both of whom posted nearly identical statements on Aug. 9, the sixth-year anniversary of the tragic incident.
“It’s been six years since Michael Brown’s life was taken in Ferguson — reigniting a movement,” Biden tweeted. “We must continue the work of tackling systemic racism and reforming policing.”
“Six years ago Michael Brown was killed at the hands of police, sparking a nationwide movement and a desperately needed conversation that we are still having to this day,” Harris wrote on the same day. “We cannot give up fighting against police brutality.”
Former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also posted a statement listing out various famous police-involved shooting victims.
It's been six years since Michael Brown's life was taken in Ferguson — reigniting a movement. We must continue the work of tackling systemic racism and reforming policing.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 9, 2020
Six years ago Michael Brown was killed at the hands of police, sparking a nationwide movement and a desperately needed conversation that we are still having to this day. We cannot give up fighting against police brutality.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 9, 2020
and too many others
should still be alive today.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 9, 2020
In order to avoid the obvious “fact-checkability” of the original Michael Brown story, politicians on the Left rely on their effective strategy of conflating disparate instances along racial lines and dismissing any subsequent criticism of inevitable inaccuracies by simply arguing that it doesn’t matter whether specific examples happened or not. After all, they are indicative of a “deeper truth.” The same logic is applied in order to ignore race hoaxes or false accusations of sexual assault. “This case might not be true, but it points to a deeper truth.”
Such flawed logic allows Warren, who prides herself on possessing some level of intellectual honesty, to assign one standard level of victimhood across multiple cases based upon race alone. The fact that the Obama-Biden administration determined that Brown was likely killed after rushing an officer he had assaulted after trying to steal his weapon is irrelevant. To the opportunistic Left, driven by their obsession with shallow identity politics and their desire to capitalize on racial division, truth plays second fiddle to skin color.
There are two important points which we must acknowledge. The first is that individual acts of police brutality do occur, and racism can play a role. But thorough investigations must precede such charges, not the other way around. The second is that many politicians on the Left see the issue of racism and police brutality as a reliable political lever and are therefore motivated to slander the character of the entire law enforcement community and ignore evidence of valid police action in order to pander to elements of their voting base.
Despite attempts to paint the issue of police brutality as deeply partisan, the reality is quite the opposite. For example, when evidence suggested that the police acted improperly when George Floyd was killed, the outrage spanned the political spectrum. However, such unity is far from politically advantageous, and so division must be intentionally sown in order to provide the opportunity for ideological profit. Such cynicism is what drives politicians to carefully conflate valid and invalid uses of police force under one broad banner of “police brutality.”
When their blatant falsehoods are identified, they hide behind their “deeper truth,” claiming that critics are guilty of denying that the issue of police brutality even exists. Eventually, they hope, the lie will become true because no voices will remain to question it.
So what can be done? In order to achieve our common goal of fighting police brutality, we must do three things. The first is to recognize that this must be a bipartisan effort. The second is to reject the use of identity politics to invalidate truth and understand that the assignment of innocence or guilt based solely on skin color is not only racist, but the very antithesis of justice. Finally, we must be tireless in our efforts to prevent the further promotion of the false slogans like “Hands up, don’t shoot!” If we grow silent, then truth will forever be corrupted by falsehood in the ceaseless quest for political power.
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