Cartoon justice in Ferguson - Macleans.ca
 

Cartoon justice in Ferguson

Examining the curious movie and comic references in police officer Darren Wilson’s testimony


 
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson. (AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office)

Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office)

It’s hard to write about Michael Brown, Darren Wilson and Ferguson, Mo., without falling into the trap of writing yet another “think piece” that tries to give the definitive judgment on the issues. But I am fascinated by one aspect of Officer Wilson’s testimony: It’s filled with images that seem to belong to movies, comics and popular culture.

In his long questioning about why and how he shot Brown, Wilson mentioned that Brown’s size made him feel “like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” But it’s not just the reference to a professional wrestler that makes the story feel so movie-like. At one point, Wilson said, Brown “had the most intense aggressive face . . . It looked like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.” When Brown ran, Wilson said he saw “a cloud of dust behind him.”

Now, sometimes there is a literal cloud of dust behind someone when he runs, but, coming after he compared Brown to a horror-story monster, it almost sounds like he’s switching gears and comparing him to a character with almost cartoon-like speed. It’s part of the overall impression Wilson still seems to have of Brown as someone of enormous, outsized power: He’s like Hulk Hogan (a fictionalized version of a real person); he’s like a demon; he’s like a speed demon.

And Wilson’s belief in the almost superhuman power that Brown possesses is his reason for shooting Brown to prevent being hit again: “I’ve already taken two to the face, and the third one could be fatal, if he hit me right.” People do get killed by punches sometimes, but it’s pretty rare for a cop to get killed by a single blow, and Wilson’s belief that it could happen—that it was such a distinct possibility that it was kill or be killed—suggests that he saw Brown as inhumanly strong.

And, for that matter, so does his description of the fatal shooting, where, by his own account, he kept shooting Brown when he wouldn’t stop coming toward him. Not only does this sound like something out of a horror film—with the threat that continues to come even after being shot—but Wilson, once again, went on to portray Brown as superpowered: After the second round of shots, Wilson continued, “it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.”

A lot of Wilson skeptics, including myself, were nasty about that comment. Some compared this version of Brown to the Hulk, others to Mongo from the movie Blazing Saddles, where the sheriff—a black guy fighting white villains—is told, “Don’t shoot him, you’ll only make him mad.”

The point here is not that none of these things happened; I’m not trying to judge the evidence from where I am. I’m just focusing on Wilson’s perspective on the events he describes, and it’s hard not to see that he thinks of Brown, not only as a big, strong, young guy, but as someone whose hugeness and strength defy the laws of nature: His anger is demonic, his speed is physically visible, he can barely be stopped by bullets.

Well, this perspective is not one that seemed implausible to a lot of people; he was, after all, not indicted, and the prosecutor didn’t even seem to think the case was strong enough to be worth putting before a grand jury in the first place. But it’s hard to look at this and see a cop who knows what life is like on the mean streets. Maybe he does, and he can only explain it in terms of gods and monsters. Or maybe he thinks he’s fighting against them.


 

Cartoon justice in Ferguson

  1. This pinko journalism is why I did not renew my Maclean’s subscription. This article is junk journalism to appease criminal and stupid people. Society works as for law, order, and respect for moral behaviour.

    Media has chosen to side with racist criminals. Degenerated moral is amazing. The real victims are the cop, his family, other cops…. His family and others have had threats and assaults by racist riot rule. His career is dead for a drug using sealed young offender fresh off a violent robbery on a store owner and a joint, then beats a cop trying to get his weaponn, resisting arrest with threat to the officer and media condones this to appease criminals and racism against whites?

    Why not report the black man in Kansas that random abducted a black woman, beat her silly, raped her, then lite her up to burn to death? No white hate racism to sell the story?

    Hey, I do not see media reporting about FBI, Black Panthers wanting pipe bombs at the protest or violence towards police and their families.

    Fact is you do not have to be white to be racist. Fact is media has picked the immoral side. But hey, society fails for anarchy, gang rule, drug culture and a hood of unmitigated violence.

    If I was a Ferguson cop, I would not enter the protest to protect, as you could lose your career to political pandering and racist hates. Fact is Brown was a criminal delinquent. Maybe black leaders, Black Panthers and New Black Panthers – other leaders need jail time. Oh, media should look closer at New Black Panther leaders to see what stands out. I can not believe so many media miss the obvious.

  2. That region of the USA is where guys go to a family reunion looking for women. A place where the gene pool needs a little chlorine.

  3. Yep, Jaime is writing a pity piece. Read the coroner’s report. My first thought on Brown’s raging bull style attack was that he was on drugs or drunk. The coroner’s report backs up Wilson’s story as did a number of “consistent” black witnesses. But we know the progressive press doesn’t write the truth anymore, they squeeze and pummel the truth so that it fits a narrative and that narrative is white cops are enacting genocide on black people. It is never reported that more black people are killed by other black people. In fact it is ignored.

  4. I agree, the US is a giant comic book anymore. All bad guys are giant villains…all good guys are heroes.

    Give people, who are this delusional, guns and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Thank you for the analysis.

    • Emily must have gone to the Kady O school of stupid.

  5. You can’t escape the simple fact that Brown was the chief author of his own demise. Had he not made the conscious choice to steal the cigars, or the conscious choice to engage in a violent altercation with a police officer, he would be alive today. That Darren Wilson is a household name today is the direct result of Brown’s decisions. It’s also worth noting that Brown stood several inches taller than Wilson, and outweighed him by 100 lbs or so.
    Micheal Brown is dead simply because of choices he made that he knew were wrong. All the other facts are extraneous.

    • They were both the same height and weight…..and the teenager was unarmed.

      That’s the only fact that matters.

      • Sorry, girlie. According to multiple sources, same height and 80+ pound weight difference. That’s comparable to the kind of size difference between NFL quarterbacks and defensive tackles. Plus, a nearly 300 lb man (and at 6′ 4″, Mikey was one BIG s-o-b), has a powerful advantage over a smaller man caught ‘twixt a door and a car. That whole scenario had Darren Wilson’s obituary written all over it for at least several seconds. As fate would have it, Mike Brown, like many young men, found out the very hardest way possible that looking for trouble is pretty much a seek and ye shall find proposition. All the other pertinent facts are pretty much stray electrons.

        • Bill – do not feed the trolls – they drag you down to your level and beat you with their experience.

          Em has never been sitting down and attacked by a big man – she has always hidden behind her own man. So she does not and will never get it.

          Be that as it may Jaime does not get out much and writes with a typical entitled left leaning Canucklehead point of view.

          Final fact – the US runs on its own laws and no matter what we say or think, that is the way it goes

          So whine all you want Jaime – it is all over

          In the meantime take a view of this and ask yourself why others in that part of the world do not follow this man’s advice.

          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=502_1416970765

          Seems at least ONE black guy gets it.

          Wait – as for the remainder – there are likely a pile of excuses all eventually coming back to racism – a word that no longer means anything.

          After all you can only be racist if you are white – all other colours usually claim victim status.

          (Sarcasm)

          • You are afraid of blacks, and assume everyone else is as well.

            Somehow this justifies 12 shots at an unarmed teenager for you.

            Where do you hide your sheet?