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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Brown Family Attorneys Address the Press
Aired November 25, 2014 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR THE BROWN FAMILY: Attorney Gray and attorney Daryl Parks and myself, we objected back in August to this prosecutor. We even wrote a letter to Governor Jay Nixon requesting a special prosecutor to be appointed. We objected when he informed us the process that he was going to use that was different than anything else -- different than any normal grand jury that you would have presented. And now, after we watched him last night in his comments, we strenuously objected to this prosecutor and this process.
But this morning, after we like all of you, went through as much of the information -- I think it was described as a data dump -- we went through as much of it as we could and saw how completely unfair this process was, we object publicly and loudly as we can on behalf of Michael Brown, Jr.'s family that this process is broken.
The process should be indicted. It should be indicted because of the continuous systematic results that is yielded by this process. And let's be very honest. Let's be very honest about this process. We have the local prosecutor who has a symbiotic relationship with the local police, and the local police officers who sit in judgment whether to indict the police when they brutalize or kill a young person from our community. And normally that prosecutor has no relationship or no regards for the young person of color.
And so, as Attorney Gray and Attorney Parks predicted at the beginning, we could foresee what the outcome was going to be. And that's exactly what occurred last night. But it is awfully troubling when you look at what was released and you hear about the police officer who shot Michael Brown, Jr., in broad daylight, the unarmed teenager, and you hear he testified for four hours. And you had to scratch your head, kind of like we all did, to say, when is the prosecutor going to cross-examine the killer of on unarmed person? A first-year law student would have did a better job of cross-examining a killer of an unarmed person than the prosecutor's office did.
Where was it vetted? Where was his veracity ever challenged? Where was his credibility ever challenged when you watch those four hours that he got to give a speech to this grand jury? The detective testified. He told me he got hit ten times violently. He told the grand jury he only got hit two times. But he said -- and you all heard it -- Hulk Hogan against a 5-year-old. Nobody questioned, well, officer, you're 6'4. You weigh 226 pounds. Michael Brown is 6'6. He weighs 292 pounds. You mean to tell me that he hit you with such force as you were describing that it was going to knock you out, it was going to knock you unconscious? And nobody held up the pictures to say but that's not consistent with the physical evidence?
Reverend Al, we object to this process because, all across America, President Meanes, whether it's in New York, Los Angeles, California, Cleveland, young people of color are being killed by police officers and the local prosecutors put together this (INAUDIBLE) and biased (ph) grand jury and it continues to yield the same results.
Now, I've been told, Mr. Morial, that if you continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result, then that is the definition for insanity. And we say to the prosecutor, we are not insane. We know that our children deserve equal justice, just as any American. And we want the prosecutors, if they have a conflict of interest, and for the sake of the public trust, which is so critical to Ferguson and many communities all over America, President Brooks, we pray that prosecutors will say, we want people to believe in the system. And if that means appointing a special prosecutor who has no relationship with the accused officers that you do so.
The legacy of Michael Brown, Jr., should be one not where we just make a lot of noise, Mr. Brown. That wouldn't be the proper legacy to your son. The legacy to Michael Brown, Jr., should be that instead of just striving to make a lot of noise, we strive to make a difference.
And that difference will be changing this system where the police who are supposed to protect and serve us continue to kill our members in our community. And we have to really address this issue as one that -- what scenario could we offer where they finally indict police officers for killing us? Isn't that the real question?
So as we make ready to hear from Attorney Gray and then from Reverend Al and Mr. Brown will be present before you, we beg you all again that we know it's frustrating, and we know that it's painful. It's painful to any parent, especially parents of young people of color, because we worry about our children every day. I mean, every day when we hear they have an encounter with the police, Reverend Al, our heart just stops. And it shouldn't be like that. We should be able to expect the police to treat our children just like they treat any other children in any other community.
And so to hopefully really address this issue, we want a proposal for the Michael Brown Law, that is, the proposal that every police officer in every American city has a video body camera so it will be transparent and we won't have to play this game of witnesses' memories and secret grand jury proceedings. It will just be transparent and we can see it for ourselves and we can hold people accountable when they have interactions with citizens because the system is so unfair to the citizens.
And we're all American citizens. And we ask that everybody, not just the entire St. Louis community, but all of America, join us in demanding change, making a difference for the lives of our children and for the sake of our communities and especially for Michael Brown, Jr., who is crying out from the grave, so many thousands of other people of color who have been killed by police saying you all have to change this system.
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR THE BROWN FAMILY: I'll be very brief. I just want to remind everybody present, as Attorney Crump so eloquently pointed out, we said from the very beginning that the decision of this grand jury was going to be the direct reflection of the presentation of evidence by the prosecutor's office.
If they present evidence to indict, there would have been an indictment. If they don't present the evidence in a manner to secure an indictment, then there won't be an indictment. So this grand jury decision, we feel, is a direct reflection of the sentiments of those that presented the evidence.
We appreciate the data dump. We appreciate the fact that we got to hear or read all of the testimony. We saw what was presented, but we didn't hear how it was presented. We didn't get a chance to hear the inflections in the voices. And the cynicism and the sarcasm in some of the questions that I read just jump off the pages at you. So it's all in the presentation of evidence and I don't want anybody to be misled in any other way.
I would also caution those in the media we still have an ongoing investigation. I'm not going to comment on very much of the evidence at all. I'm just going to ask that you have transcripts. Read them for yourself.
As I read the testimony of one person, Officer Darren Wilson, he indicted himself. Most of what he said didn't line up with the physical or the forensic evidence.
You read it for yourself. You have it. It's right there in front of your face. There's an old adage that some people will say, if you really want to hide something, you hide it in plain view. It's right there for us to see.
Now, I'm just going to encourage the ongoing investigators to continue to do what they have to do. And we'll hold out hope that subsequent investigations would produce a result that reflects the way that evidence was presented.
I would only say to you that over 50 witnesses and only four to five of them are relevant? What was the other 55 for? If you already know going into it that a person didn't see the event, they already told you that, then why would you present them in front of the grand jury? What's the point?
So it's things like that that just raises all kinds of red flags for us in this process. But we're going to hold out hope that, at some point, justice will be served and we will at least have a presentation of evidence that is fair and impartial. And then we will allow the chips to fall where they may.
Without any further ado, I bring to you Mr. Al Sharpton.
CRUMP: Because this process was supposed give clarity when they release this data dump. But didn't it create more questions than anything? So, with that, we will try to address some of your questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
CRUMP: OK. We'll try to address some of your questions. And then we'll...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attorney Crump, could you please respond to the video last night (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's an agitator back here. Agitators need to leave. Agitators need to leave.
CRUMP: All right, all right. Whoa, whoa, whoa. We're in church. Thank you so much for coming out. Thank you.
CRUMP: Real quick, to address the question that Don asked. We got everybody ready?
OK, (INAUDIBLE) reaction was caught on video following the grand jury announcement was born out of desperation and frustration after watching the decision that the killer of her unarmed child would not be brought to justice.
I'm giving everybody just a moment to set back up.
REV. AL SHARPTON: All right. Let me say this before y'all get started. There was a so-called reporter/blogger saying some stuff, like, "I came on to stir things up," that John (ph) responded to. So before y'all act like there was a disturbance among the folks, they were concerned about him coming in as a blogger, castigating me. We went, Mike Sr. and I, to tell them, let them say what he wants to say.