If you followed by column during the George Zimmerman trial you know that I called a “not guilty” verdict a couple of weeks before a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman. I had my reasons that turned out to be exactly on point. I will now call the “no bill” that the grand jury will returned for Officer Wilson, the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown.
If you will read my column predicting with certainty the outcome of the Zimmerman trial, you will see that I pointed to a certain “caricature of language” that Zimmerman’s defense team used to portray Trayvon Martin as the aggressor. What I pointed to specifically was the defense’s use of the language “sucker punched.” The term “sucker punched” means to hit someone with sudden force, typically with one’s fist, when the person is least suspecting. What Zimmerman’s lawyers did with almost fiendish intent was to go for the jugular in how Trayvon Martin was portrayed to the jury. Remember how Mark O’Meara told the jury that Trayvon Martin banged Zimmerman’s head into the pavement? Remember how Mark O’Meara got away with bringing a huge piece of concrete into the trial and forcefully portraying how that chunk of concrete was used by Trayvon to hit Zimmerman in the head? (No chunk of concrete was ever used by Trayvon to hit Zimmerman.) What Zimmerman’s lawyers knew they had to do, and do well, was to paint a picture of someone whose own aggressive behavior made his death “well deserved”— for Zimmerman to claim “self defense,” and to make it easy to let Zimmerman go free. Their strategy worked, and you can bet that the prosecutor who will present the evidence before Officer Wilson’s grand jury have either privately counseled with Zimmerman’s lawyers, or studied their playbook with extreme intensity.
Have you heard the term, “bum rushed” used to describe how Officer Wilson described how Michael Brown confronted him? The term “bum rushed” is very pejorative and it will be used repeatedly by the prosecutor before the grand jury. It will be used the same way as “sucker punched.” The term “bum rushed” has an interesting history—and an interesting “negative history” that makes the person doing the “bum rushing” less likely to be viewed with any degree of favor. The word bum goes back to 19th century Germany from the German verb “bummeln,” meaning “to loaf around, or saunter.” Over time the term came to mean “tramp or loafer.” You can begin to analyze the term “bum rushed” simply by using the modern usage of the word “bum.” The term “bum” now refers to a drunken person. Webster’s dictionary described the word “bum” as: “A tramp, a hobo, a person who avoids work and seeks to live off others, out of order, broken, to live by begging and scavenging from place to place, to acquire by begging or sponging off others.” It is also used to describe a person who is idle and a loafer—meaning a person who is typically up to no good. A bum, therefore, is a no-good, worthless drunk person. Has anyone talked about Michael Brown working anywhere? The word “rushed” means that someone came upon you with sudden expected force. The term “rushed” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary means, “to move or act swiftly, to make a sudden or swift attack or charge, a sudden attack.” So, putting these two words together it means that “the bum” Michael Brown, came upon Officer Wilson with sudden and expected force. What has since come out from a toxicology report is that Brown had marijuana in his system. This is synonymous with being drunk—or high on something. The phrase “bum rushed” alone is sufficiently descriptive of a negative portrayal of Michael Brown for the grand jury to return a “no bill,” meaning the officer was justified in using deadly, self defense, force. But let’s go further.
What we now know from the store video is that Michael Brown is clearly seen brushing aside a store clerk. Remember when this shooting was first reported that the family referred to Michael Brown as a “gentle giant?” Have you heard anyone describe Brown as a “gentle giant” since the video of him taking a carton of cigarillos was released? The answer is no. The answer is no because no “gentle giant” would walk into a store the day before he is to enroll in college, take, call it theft, call it shoplifting, call it a strong arm burglary, then use his 6-foot plus large body to push aside a small store clerk and be worthy of the benign description “gentle giant.” This is reason number two that the grand jury will “no bill” Officer Wilson. What several witness have said, including one of the family lawyers is that Brown could not have grabbed for Officer Wilson’s gun because he was holding the stolen cigarillos in his hand. Trying to defend Brown this way is a “no winner.” Look at it from this vantage point. If Brown would walk into a convenience store, take a carton of cigarillos the day before enrolling in college, forcefully push the store owner aside and walk out without paying, what else would he do in a similar brazen and forceful manner when confronted by Officer Wilson—a policeman who didn’t know about the theft, but Brown didn’t know what the Officer knew?
Just as in the Zimmerman case, it will not take much for the prosecutor to portray Brown as an aggressive thief, a bum, a loafer, high on marijuana, who “bum rushed “or suddenly attacked Officer Wilson because he knew he was in trouble for having stolen the cigarillos. Trayvon Martin was carrying a can of Arizona tea and Skittles when George Zimmerman approached him and immediately viewed him as “some suspicious character” namely a “bum” in the neighborhood. Trayvon Martin was truly innocent—he had not just stolen tea and candy. Not the same for Michael Brown. It will not matter to the grand jury that Brown alleged put his hands in the air as if to surrender—they will not believe this version of “the facts.” There is a reason why the convenience store video was released before the autopsy–right out of the Zimmerman defense playbook—remove any possible favorable or sympathetic view of Brown. Add to this the “bum rushed” language and you have a grand jury “no bill” in the making. Officer Wilson’s actions will be seen by the grand jury as justified regardless of the number of shots fired. So the people of Ferguson might as well brace themselves for a “no bill” from the grand jury. For the sake of Ferguson and this country, let’s hope I’m wrong on this one.
Copyright 2014 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.