Two candidates running for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination have accused former Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson of "murdering" Michael Brown in a controversial 2014 police shooting. The shooting was ruled justified by both the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a tweet sent Friday, former San Francisco County district attorney now Senator Kamala Harris wrote: "Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system."
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts echoed that sentiment in her own tweet: "5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on."
Immediately after the shooting some witnesses claimed that Brown was shot while surrendering with his hands up. Because of such statements "Hands up, don't shoot" became a battle cry of anti-police activists. The witness accounts were proven false by forensic evidence and both federal and local investigations.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” became a national rallying cry — until the Obama Department of Justice comprehensively and thoroughly debunked it in a lengthy report published on March 4, 2015. Writing in December of the same year, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler called the slogan one of “the biggest Pinocchios of the year,” the National Review reports.
"Ferguson, based on the findings of the Obama Justice Department, isn’t an example of bad policing run amok or racism. It’s a tragic case of media malpractice ruining the life of a police officer who was found to have done nothing other than defend himself," the Hill's Sharyl Attkisson wrote in a Monday editorial.