Reading the profile of Michael Brown by Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, one paragraph stood out.
He was heavyset and quiet, but not shy. He recorded rap music with his best friend and smoked marijuana with other young men.
Hennessy-Fiske also points out that cigarillos, the kind that Brown allegedly stole from a convenience store, are “often used to smoke marijuana.” So, it should hardly come as a shock that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. If anything, this shows that Brown was the quintessential American teenager. Also, let’s have some perspective here. Brown had sleep-and-munchie-inducing pot in his system not rage-fueling PCP.
But here’s what it is more enraging than it is shocking. We know about Brown’s toxicology report because a source with knowledge of St. Louis County’s investigation into the shooting slipped that information to The Post. This move reminds me of the time in 2012 when Florida law enforcement sources told the Orlando Sentinel that Trayvon Martin “had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” Throwing the pot at Trayvon was shameful and irrelevant to the fatal events that followed. The same is true with Brown.
Instead of leaking information whose sole purpose is to build the foundation for Wilson’s defense by smearing Brown, local law enforcement should release all the relevant reports. I’m talking about the autopsy conducted by St. Louis County and the toxicology reports for both Brown AND Wilson. And I’m talking about Ferguson Police Report #2014-12391 and St. Louis County Police Report #2014-43984. Thanks to the after-the-fact police report on the convenience store shoplifting we know key information of the killing of Brown is “detailed” in those two documents.
By leaving a void of information about how an unarmed teenager was killed by a police officer, the Ferguson police department and the St. Louis County police department do a disservice to those seeking justice. By sitting on those reports, they only compound the tragedy.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj