In a 3.29 post, Deadline‘s Anita Busch has given some attention to a testimony-based play about the Ferguson tragedy by journalist and documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer. The “staged reading,” based on grand-jury witness testimony from the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown shooting investigation, will be presented for four nights next month at L.A.’s Odyssey theatre. After the show ends “the audience will…judge whether Ferguson officer Darren Wilson should have been indicted,” Busch writes.
Excuse me? The last time I looked the Wilson-Brown incident had been thoroughly investigated in a fair and judicious fashion, and — I hope what I’m about to say doesn’t disturb anyone — the consensus is that Wilson is in the clear and that Brown would be breathing fresh air today if he didn’t act like an aggressive asshole when Wilson confronted him on Canfield Drive. On 3.4.15 Eric Holder‘s Department of Justice delivered an 86-page report about the 8.9.14 shooting, and concluded in no uncertain terms to Wilson acted reasonably and with justification.
And yet in a summary of the Ferguson incident and the aftermath, Busch writes that protesters “march[ed] with their hands up to mimic, as some witnesses said, Brown, whose hands were up at the time he was killed.”
I’m sorry but the last time I checked the hands-up thing had been more or less discredited. That’s either a poorly phrased sentence or Busch is in some level of denial. The DOJ report says that (a) some who testified that Brown’s hands were up recanted when told that their testimony argued with the physical evidence, and (b) reliable witnesses (i.e., those whose testimony agrees with the physical evidence) have testified that Brown was charging Wilson in an aggressive fashion. Credible witnesses were apparently afraid to give testimony that supported Wilson’s view of the altercation because they didn’t want to contradict the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative being repeated by Ferguson protestors and sympathetic media.
Why would anyone want to pay money to consider the views of a playwright who apparently thinks the case isn’t settled and that the DOJ report wasn’t the last word? The systemic problems in the Ferguson police department and other municipalities that are still influenced by cavalier racist attitudes obviously need to be addressed, but Michael Brown was a wrong one. He could’ve finessed Wilson and walked away that day (or at least faced charges that he stole cigars from that convenience store without getting himself killed), but he succumbed to rage, pushed it way too hard and got bitch-slapped by his own karma.