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November 21st, 2017

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Why Ferguson Won't Go Away

Michael Reagan

By Michael Reagan

Published Dec. 5, 2014

Why Ferguson Won't Go Away

As we saw last weekend at the start of the St. Louis Rams-Raiders game, we'll be dealing with the facts and symbolism of Michael Brown's death for a long time.

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" doesn't accurately describe what really happened when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown to death last summer.

But it should be pretty clear to everyone by now that the facts don't matter that much anymore in the Michael Brown case.

At least half the country, 99 percent of the liberal media and the Black Caucus in Congress apparently still believe the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" myth, just as they believe that St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch is a stupid or dishonest prosecutor.

McCulloch was accused of taking the easy way out by putting the decision of whether to indict Wilson in the hands of a secret grand jury instead of indicting officer Wilson and going straight to a public trial.

Meanwhile, roving professional race baiters like Al Sharpton and liberal media pundits accused McCulloch of, among other things, being a smirking racist, a protector of bad cops and behaving more like a defense lawyer for Wilson than a public prosecutor.

But I don't buy any of it. I think McCulloch handled the Michael Brown case brilliantly.

Once he started to see the evidence himself, in his role as district attorney, he realized where it was leading.

He saw that credible black witnesses corroborated officer Wilson's story and debunked the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" claim that activists and CNN were pushing every night.

McCulloch desperately needed the testimony of black witnesses. But he knew they'd testify only if they could appear in front of a secret grand jury.

He knew they'd be afraid to show up at a public trial where they'd be seen by members of their own community who might retaliate against them.

McCulloch realized he had to get all of the evidence out in front of the grand jury because he knew he'd never be able to get all of it out at a public trial.

He presented the testimony to the grand jury and still protected the black witnesses from being threatened or hurt by those who'd rather riot and burn things than determine the truth.


So I say McCulloch was a genius. He didn't destroy or corrupt the legal process in Ferguson. He saved it.

As for the tragic death of Michael Brown, obviously it should never have happened.

But Brown's case does not deserve to be held up as an example of an innocent young black man being unjustifiably or casually shot down by a white police force.

He didn't die because he was black, or because officer Wilson or the Ferguson police force was racist. Brown died because he was stupid.

If anyone of us, black or white, had a young son who did the same dumb things Brown did in the last minutes of his life, he would have ended up at the local funeral home too.

There are important issues the country needs to address about how to improve the relationship between police and black communities.

And we need to train and equip police in better ways, so that encounters between cops and unarmed citizens of all races and colors are as safe as possible.

The Eric Garner chokehold case in New York proves we still have a lot of work to do.

Until we solve these complicated policing problems, I have some advice.

If you don't want to get shot dead by a cop, don't rob a convenience store, don't try to grab a cop's gun and don't charge the cop after he orders you to stop.

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Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation.

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