Shelby Steele: What Really Killed Michael Brown?
Before George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there was Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Brown’s death inspired the fledgling Black Lives Matter movement, and “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot,” a line derived from accounts of Brown’s final words, has been a rallying cry at protests against police violence ever since.
But Michael Brown probably never spoke those words. An exhaustive Department of Justice report later concluded that the claim that “Brown held his hands up in clear surrender” came from sources who later “acknowledged that they didn’t actually witness the shooting, but rather repeated what others told them.” And that account was “inconsistent with the physical evidence,” which instead corroborated Officer Darren Wilson’s claim that Brown attacked him and tried to grab his gun.
In contrast to other police killing
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