Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown when he was shot to death by police Officer Darren Wilson, told WND Monday after a grand jury decided not to bring charges against Wilson that he’s “very upset” and stands by his claim the 18-year-old black teen’s hands were raised in surrender just before he died.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough made the announcement a few minutes after 8 p.m. Monday in the courthouse in the St. Louis County seat of Clayton.
McCullough detailed the evidence presented to the grand jury and gave a moment-by-moment account of what happened Aug. 9 on a Ferguson, Missouri, street.
McCullough said blood and DNA evidence confirmed Wilson’s story that Michael Brown came to the driver’s door of the police car and reached inside. A struggle over the officer’s sidearm ensued and two bullets were fired inside the car. Brown turned to run away, and Wilson gave chase on foot. Witnesses confirmed Brown turned and came back toward Wilson. At that point, he fired several shots and fatally wounded Brown.
Johnson responded to WND questions through his attorney, James Williams.
“My client stands by his statement that Michael Brown’s hands were in the air at the time of the incident, one hundred percent, despite others’ interpretation on the specifics of that,” he said.
“My client was there for the whole thing. That alone should count for something in all of this. … My client is very upset, let down.”
Williams was critical of the prosecuting attorney, who had stated during his news conference that some witnesses changed their statements when they saw the physical evidence.
“My reaction is one of horror,” Williams said. “It is a horrible day that Officer Wilson would go free under these circumstances, and much of this is due to prosecutor apathy. The prosecutor’s statement was an insult. Most prosecutors these days are seeking indictments. This prosecutor seemed to have a very laid back approach to this whole thing, and that is reflected in the verdict.”
Williams continued: “Anger is the proper response. Frustration is the proper response, not violence. I would hope everyone in Ferguson stays angry, frustrated and fire continues to burn within them, because justice did not happen tonight.”
The family of Michael Brown released a statement immediately after the announcement, saying they are “profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.”
The family urged peaceful protests.
“We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.”
Despite their request, multiple fires raged overnight in Ferguson, store windows were broken and shelves looted. But there apparently were no serious injuries.
The Brown family also called for a “fix” to the “system that allowed this to happen.”
Ferguson resident also Nick Kasoff spoke to WND after the decision not to prosecute Wilson was announced.
“As a nation, we must do better. We should focus on developing more effective non-lethal technologies. And we should have a body camera on every police officer. These situations can be avoided, if we are willing. If we don’t, Ferguson will happen over and over again.”
Ferguson Market and Liquor was one of the few businesses that did not board up windows Monday in advance of the announcement. The windows of the store were some of the first of many businesses’ to be broken.
Vandals and looters did not pass over businesses whose owners posted the “hands up” signs that signified support for Brown. If the windows were not boarded up, they were broken, and the store was looted.
President Obama said: “We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation. The fact is in too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country. And this is tragic because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.”
WND reported in August Johnson’s testimony and how, according to a St. Louis radio station, he changed his testimony to add that Brown attacked the officer and attempted to take his gun.
WND was first to report Aug. 14 Johnson has an outstanding arrest warrant for theft and for making a false report to police.
In his original account of the shooting to media, Johnson said he and Brown were innocently walking down the middle of the street when the officer encountered them.
“We wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all,” he said.
Johnson claimed the police officer pulled up in his squad car and said: “Get the ‘F’ on the sidewalk.”
He alleged the officer, from inside his vehicle, “grabbed my friend around the neck” and “was trying to choke my friend.” He said the officer then tried to pull Brown into the car, drew his weapon and said, “I’ll shoot you.”
Johnson said, in the “same moment, the first shot went off.”
He said Brown was shot and then he stopped, raising his hands, but the officer continued shooting him.
Dorian Johnson describes the shooting:
In contrast, the police report said Brown pushed the officer into his squad car, assaulted him and struggled to get the officer’s weapon. A shot was fired in the car before the struggle moved to the street, where the officer fired his gun multiple times as Brown rushed toward him.
The Washington Post also reported Johnson “hid behind a nearby car during the Aug. 9 shooting.”