Ferguson, Missouri popped back up in the news this week with a re-visitation to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown and its legacy. The release of the new documentary Stranger Fruit proclaims new evidence casts doubt on the official version of events and exonerates Brown of strong-arm robbery.
Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. The killing sparked nationwide protests, including massive local protests and riots. Wilson responded to a report of a theft in progress and encountered Brown walking down the middle of the street with a stolen box of cigars. What happened next was the stuff of riots and hashtags: Brown’s death at Wilson’s hands and Wilson’s undoing as a police officer.
Perhaps you recall the chants of “hands up don’t shoot!” Thousands uttered it in support of Brown’s family and protest of the police. It was also an utter fiction. Brown never said it or anything of the like – it was invented to make the police seem like murderers. Just because some police are, does not mean they all are, or even that this one is. Those who are skeptical of police and/or BLM activists need to examine each incident based on the discoverable facts at hand.
As it turns out, when the U.S. Justice Department interviewed all of the witnesses they reported that Brown was completely belligerent and charged Wilson, who then fired in self-defense. Then every piece of forensic evidence examined by the authorities came back with evidence consistent with the police version of events – not the one told by Brown’s friends. Keep in mind it wasn’t Bull Connor running the investigation. It was the Justice Department run by Barack Obama and Eric Holder – a group who would have loved to have discovered some racial animus.
Many of the witnesses told the Justice Department that they were scared to tell the truth because they thought the mob would turn on them when they failed to advance the anti-police narrative.
O.k. you remember – so what’s new? Jason Pollack released his film at the South by Southwest festival to much buzz about new footage. It purports to show Michael Brown in the same store that he was later shown to be robbing. The filmmaker’s hypothesis is that Brown went to the store late at night and exchanged some marijuana for cigars, which Brown decided to leave there to be collected at another time. Pollack further supposes that Brown returned to the store the following morning to collect the cigars and therefore didn’t rob or steal at all, but merely retrieved his bargained for payment. He turns the store and its employees from Brown’s victims to thieves who may be responsible for his death.
As it turns out, none of that appears to be true. A full viewing of the footage from the store visit the night before the shooting was posted by the store’s attorney. It shows what looks like Brown attempting to trade marijuana for cigars and beverages, only to be rebuffed and refused. That’s all. The other version is simply creative editing and storytelling to advance a narrative. Why?
Jason Pollock’s Facebook page lists him as Creative Director at Michael Moore – that may not be meant to be taken literally, but he does share with Moore a talent for propaganda and a comfort with lies in service of the greater truth in his own mind. Here he is talking about working with the Brown family to “get the truth out.”
With a civil suit pending against the city, and the legacy of their son at stake, it’s no wonder the Brown family would believe any story that tends to show Michael Brown in a better light. Even horrible parents should be allowed the fiction that their dead children were kind souls who should be with us here today. The same latitude cannot be granted to documentarians who purport to tell the world the story of some event or person.
It’s all a big nothing? Yes, except for the people shooting it out in Ferguson over the new fake news. Jason Pollock needs to answer for those who take his lies for truth and act on them.