What a scoop for George Stephanopoulos and ABC News — getting an exclusive hour-long interview, no questions barred and no conditions — with Officer Darren Wilson.
I’m sure journalists all around the country, maybe the world, are tipping their hats to the former Bill Clinton adviser who jumped from politics to news after Clinton was elected to a second term in 1996.
I recall many journalists saying that Stephanopoulos’ had no qualifications for the move to journalism, and I, too, was very skeptical. That’s the way we hard-core, veteran news people are — suspicious of those who jump to the head of the line without having paid their dues.
But, by God, Stephanopoulos has certainly proved himself. He is a solid news person, both as an analyst and an anchor. No one is questioning his bona fides now.
…From the excerpts of the interview I have seen, Stephanopolous did a great job.
I was particularly impressed by Stephanopolous’ pointed question to Wilson about why he didn’t simply stay in the patrol car when Brown ran from the officer after Wilson had shot him in the thumb.
Wilson paused for a second and looked a little taken aback before answering: “My job is not just to sit and wait. I have to see where this guy goes.”
“So you thought it was your duty to give chase?” Stephanopoulos said.
“Yes it was. That’s what we were trained to do.”
I don’t know about that. I understand (but don’t necessarily agree with) law enforcement’s training of officers to shoot to kill, but I seriously doubt that they are trained to give hot pursuit after a fight and when the officer is no longer in danger.
Back-up support was on the way (and in fact arrived moments after the fatal shots were fired), and Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson (who, by the way, lied about what happened) wouldn’t have gotten very far before being apprehended. This isn’t deer hunting, after all, where you chase down the wounded prey, finish the job and toss the animal in the back of the pick-up.
So, why jump out of the car, pursue Brown and likely provoke (as occurred) further escalation?
Well, we all know why: Wilson had made a mess of the confrontation from the get-go, and by the time Brown took off running, Wilson was really pissed off and incapable of self-restraint. His mindset had been honed by being a small-town cop in a city where the cops were accustomed to running roughshod over young black men and imposing their wills.
…As I said yesterday, I do believe, considering all the evidence, that Wilson was justified in fatally shooting Brown, but only because Wilson let his emotions get the better of him and didn’t opt for discretion. When Brown stopped running and turned back toward Wilson and came at him menacingly, he made a terrible decision and a fatal mistake.
As I said in the previous post, I think a guy named Josh from New Jersey got it exactly right in a comment he posted on a New York Times story this morning.
Here it is again:
“What the courts and grand jury fail to address is the context of interaction that led to young man’s death. Any adult in a position of power who interacts with adolescents in today’s world needs to have a skill set that includes a tremendous amount of empathy and restraint. And for adolescents, essentially every adult represents someone in a position of authority. If you happen to be in law enforcement, consider that to be a position of particular importance and also one that requires tremendous skills in being able to talk with people, especially the most vulnerable and at-risk members of our society (which includes adolescents). I have no doubt that a more skilled, engaging, and community-connected officer in Ferguson would have had a completely different interaction with Michael Brown on August 9. The question as to whether there are officers like that in Ferguson and beyond is one that needs to be asked now and going forward.”
Amen, brother Josh. Amen.