Justice Department Grants Linked to Cop-killing Rap Video

Written by 
12/26/14

As if the American people needed more evidence that the Obama administration’s Justice Department was out of control after six years of non-stop scandals, it was recently revealed that the DOJ was funding a “community” organization linked to a controversial rap music video glorifying the murder of New York City police officers. The group in question, Bronx Defenders, has received at least $1.5 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars from the Department of Justice, and played a prominent role in the pro-cop-killing music video. The link between the widely condemned rap production and the DOJ made headlines this week after two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers were murdered, execution style, under the guise of obtaining “revenge” for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

The explosive link between the Justice Department-funded organization and the glorification of violence against police was first reported by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal news outlet on December 22. It was not immediately clear whether the Bronx Defenders group, which is featured in the video, along with staff attorneys for the organization, played a role in financing the violent film. In addition to DOJ funding offered under a program ironically named after a murdered NYPD officer, the organization has also received upwards of $40 million from city taxpayers just in the last two years. So far, the Bronx Defenders has largely remained silent about the full extent of its involvement in the production, according to media reports.

The lyrics and images, though, sparked a national outcry and left members of the law-enforcement community furious. “For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed,” go the words of the song, called “Hands Up (Eric Garner Tribute)” by rappers “Uncle Murda” and “Maino.” “Time to start killing these coppers.” The music video also features numerous images of two black men dressed in thug costumes pointing handguns at a police officer’s head. The violent words of the rap song make numerous references to killing law enforcement officers to obtain “revenge” and “justice” over the alleged systemic racism and brutality of police officers across America.

It was not clear whether the rap duo knew that the supervising officer at the scene of Garner’s fatal takedown was a black female, a fact most of the establishment media has carefully omitted from its reports aimed at stirring up racial strife. By contrast, in the Rodney King incident, the supervising officer, a white male, was hysterically demonized in the press for months on end. When a state jury refused to convict him, the federal government eventually came down on that officer, though nothing similar appears to be in the works against the supervising officer at the scene of Garner’s ultimately fatal arrest.

The deeply controversial rap clip, posted on Youtube and viewed well over 150,000 times so far, shows the Bronx Defenders, too, on multiple occasions. In one scene, a grieving mother walks into the organization’s taxpayer-funded office. There, a Bronx Defenders lawyer, reportedly a managing director, comforts her over the apparent fictional loss of her son at the hands of police. At the end of the video, a banner advertisement for the Bronx Defenders is shown, along with the group’s website and Twitter account. Since 2007, the organization has received over $100 million in taxpayer funding from the city, in addition to at least $1.5 million in federal grants of U.S. taxpayer funds since 2009 by Obama’s DOJ under the “Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant Program.”

The Bronx Defenders mostly refused to answer the Daily Signal’s questions and requests for comment about its role in potentially funding the video, or about its repeated appearances in the clip. The Justice Department also failed to respond to requests for comment, the media outlet reported. Despite the escalating scandal, as of December 26, neither the DOJ nor Bronx Defenders had issued a formal statement on their websites about the rap song or the possible role of taxpayer funding in producing it. However, prior to the murder of the two police officiers, a New York Post article about the taxpayer-funded non-profit group’s ties to the rap video did say the Bronx Defenders had issued a statement saying it did not know the clip would feature images of thugs holding guns to a police officer’s head. While the statement did not mention the pro-cop-killing lyrics, Bronx Defenders reportedly said it had asked for the video to be taken down.

Aside from the images of guns pointed at a police officer’s head, the violent words of the song have also sparked a growing national uproar — especially in light of the links to taxpayer funding and the recent murders of two New York police officers. “For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed; ’cause I’m black, police think they got the right to shoot me; No jail time, their punishment is death’s duty;… By any means necessary let’s make them respect us,” the rappers say in the video, which also features real and fictional video of police officers in confrontations with citizens.

It continues: “Killin’ unarmed black men, makin’ mothers holla; And this what the government payin’ with our tax dollars?; (Crazy!) All these unjustified shootin’s; Then they call us animals when we start lootin’; Those kids ain’t had no gun and the police knew it; [rapper] Jay need to talk to Obama or let me do it … My lil’ homie told me he ready to ride; Ferguson was on his mind, he ready to fire; Staring at a cop who got death in his eyes; He want to kill me, I can tell, so my head’s in the sky; I’m stressing so I’m grabbing my MAC-11 [pistol];  Told my mama I’m’a end up on Channel 11.”

Even before the December 20 execution-style murder of police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos by rapper Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley in New York City, though, the links between the DOJ-funded Bronx Defenders and the cop-killing rap video had sparked alarm. “It’s reprehensible that the city and its taxpayers are essentially supporting a video that encourages the idea of shooting police officers,” a police source was quoted as telling the New York Post  in a December 12 article, which noted that the “vile online rap video … urges black people to kill NYPD cops.” The murder of the two officers by the gunman who wanted “revenge” for Garner and Michael Brown of Ferguson, unsurprisingly, sparked a fresh wave of outrage about the video.

Another law-enforcement source quoted in the article, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, went even further, suggesting that the deliberate promotion of cop-killing ought to be considered a crime. “This video goes well beyond the parameters for protected speech and constitutes a serious threat to the lives of police officers,” Lynch told the Post. In addition to concerns over the video, police officers in New York, as well as their union officials, have also engaged in a high-profile showdown with extreme far-left New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, whom they held partially responsible, along with Attorney General Holder and race profiteer Al Sharpton, for the murders and the escalating anti-police sentiment.

Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers have all grown increasingly weary of the Justice Department, too — especially under the reign of Obama’s disgraced attorney general, currently in criminal contempt of Congress for trying to cover up his role in arming Mexican drug cartels in Operation Fast and Furious. The guns trafficked to criminals as part of that plot have been found at the murder scenes of at least two federal agents so far, in addition to being used in the slayings of hundreds of Mexican citizens. Indeed, advocates for law enforcement say the Justice Department has increasingly been at “war” with local and state police.

“As an expert and also essentially a watchdog on DOJ cases and management since the War on Law Enforcement began with targeted prosecution against law enforcement initially under the George W. Bush Administration, I can unequivocally state the Justice Department has been all about politics and certainly no longer interested in justice,” explained Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council. “Under Bush, it was the protection of illegal alien drug and human traffickers while providing law enforcement scalps upon foreign government request. Under Obama, it has been about expanding if not fomenting racial divisions. Look back to the Harvard incident where Obama and Holder, instead of investigating quietly under the ‘we cannot confirm, deny, or otherwise comment on any investigation that may or may not be ongoing…’, to openly issuing relative condemnations without so much as the facts.”

“That is the modus operandi and pattern of this administration,” Ramirez told The New American, adding that efforts to federalize the police were an overreach infringing on powers constitutionally left for the states. “Most LEOs have zero regard, let alone trust, for this administration, which has only worsened over time, especially after the Trayvon Martin case. This certainly was not helped by Ferguson or the endless banter joined in by fellow race-baiters Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Active and retired law enforcement I have worked and spoken with have long believed and stated that this administration needs to go in the worst way.”

Speaking of the taxpayer funding for the non-profit group involved in the rap video, Ramirez said it “only furthers such feelings and increases the chasm between politicians and the electorate, for in all honesty, it’s unconscionable given the contents.” He also said such grants and rewards only further increase distrust. “It’s clearly pork legislation that must be ceased immediately,” he added, referring to federal taxpayer funding for Bronx Defenders and other such “community” organizations. It remains to be seen whether the DOJ or New York Mayor DeBlassio will issue apologies for spending the public’s tax money in such a manner.

Photo at top: Screengrab from video 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at

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Justice Department Trained Police to Link Political Activism With Terror

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Fast and Furious Massacres Spark Fresh Pressure on AG Holder to Resign

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No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony

www.thedailybeast.com

Marc Rogers

Fooled Again

12.24.14
The FBI and the President may claim that the Hermit Kingdom is to blame for the most high-profile network breach in forever. But almost all signs point in another direction.So, “The Interview” is to be released after all.

The news that the satirical movie—which revolves around a plot to murder Kim Jong-Un—will have a Christmas Day release as planned, will prompt renewed scrutiny of whether, as the US authorities have officially claimed, the cyber attack on Sony really was the work of an elite group of North Korean government hackers.

All the evidence leads me to believe that the great Sony Pictures hack of 2014 is far more likely to be the work of one disgruntled employee facing a pink slip.

I may be biased, but, as the director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world’s leading mobile security company, Cloudflare, I think I am worth hearing out.

The FBI was very clear in its press release about who it believed was responsible for the attack: “The FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” they said in their December 19 statement, before adding, “the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information”.

With that disclaimer in mind, let’s look at the evidence that the FBI are able to tell us about.

The first piece of evidence described in the FBI bulletin refers to the malware found while examining the Sony Picture’s network after the hack.

“Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.”

So, malware found in the course of investigating the Sony hack bears “strong” similarities to malware found in other attacks attributed to North Korea.

This may be the case—but it is not remotely plausible evidence that this attack was therefore orchestrated by North Korea.

The FBI is likely referring to two pieces of malware in particular, Shamoon, which targeted companies in the oil and energy sectors and was discovered in August 2012, and DarkSeoul, which on June 25, 2013, hit South Korea (it was the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War).

Even if these prior attacks were co-ordinated by North Korea—and plenty of security experts including me doubt that—the fact that the same piece of malware appeared in the Sony hack is far from being convincing evidence that the same hackers were responsible. The source code for the original “Shamoon” malware is widely known to have leaked. Just because two pieces of malware share a common ancestry, it obviously does not mean they share a common operator. Increasingly, criminals actually lease their malware from a group that guarantees their malware against detection. Banking malware and certain “crimeware” kits have been using this model for years.

So the first bit of evidence is weak.

But the second bit of evidence given by the FBI is even more flimsy:

“The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea. For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack.”

What they are saying is that the Internet addresses found after the Sony Picture attack are “known” addresses that had previously been used by North Korea in other cyberattacks.

To cyber security experts, the naivety of this statement beggars belief. Note to the FBI: Just because a system with a particular IP address was used for cybercrime doesn’t mean that from now on every time you see that IP address you can link it to cybercrime. Plus, while sometimes IPs can be “permanent”, at other times IPs last just a few seconds.

It isn’t the IP address that the FBI should be paying attention to. Rather it’s the server or service that’s behind it.

As with much of this investigation our information is somewhat limited. The FBI haven’t released all the evidence, so we have to go by what information is available publicly. Perhaps the most interesting and indeed relevant of this is the C2 (or Command and Control) addresses found in the malware. These addresses were used by whoever carried out the attack to control the malware and can be found in the malware code itself. They are:

● 202.131.222.102—Thailand

● 217.96.33.164—Poland

● 88.53.215.64—Italy

● 200.87.126.116—Bolivia

● 58.185.154.99—Singapore

● 212.31.102.100—Cyprus

● 208.105.226.235—USA

Taking a look at these addresses we find that all but one of them are public proxies. Furthermore, checking online IP reputation services reveals that they have been used by malware operators in the past. This isn’t in the least bit surprising: in order to avoid attribution cybercriminals routinely use things like proxies to conceal their connections. No sign of any North Koreans, just lots of common, or garden, internet cybercriminals.

It is this piece of evidence—freely available to anyone with an enquiring mind and a modicum of cyber security experience—which I believe that the FBI is so cryptically referring to when they talk about “additional evidence” they can’t reveal without compromising “national security”.

Essentially, we are being left in a position where we are expected to just take agency promises at face value. In the current climate, that is a big ask.

If we turn the debate around, and look at some evidence that the North Koreans might NOT be behind the Sony hack, the picture looks significantly clearer.

1. First of all, there is the fact that the attackers only brought up the anti-North Korean bias of “The Interview” after the media did—the film was never mentioned by the hackers right at the start of their campaign. In fact, it was only after a few people started speculating in the media that this and the communication from North Korea “might be linked” that suddenly it did get linked. My view is that the attackers saw this as an opportunity for “lulz”, and a way to misdirect everyone. (And wouldn’t you know it? The hackers are now saying it’s okay for Sony to release the movie, after all.) If everyone believes it’s a nation state, then the criminal investigation will likely die. It’s the perfect smokescreen.

2. The hackers dumped the data. Would a state with a keen understanding of the power of propaganda be so willing to just throw away such a trove of information? The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures. They wanted to humiliate the company, pure and simple.

Marc Rogers is principal security researcher for CloudFlare, the website optimization and security company that’s looking to save the Internet. He has worked in the security industry for almost 20 years, including a decade managing security in the U.K. operator Vodafone plc and five years as CSO for a real estate and asset management conglomerate in South Korea. Marc sees himself as a security evangelist who has a positive outlook on how security should be implemented in today’s global organizations. It’s this outlook that Marc used when he helped put together the award winning BBC series The Real Hustle. He is also the head of security at DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference.

Torture, Iraq and 9/11

[This article from 2009 is highly relevant today considering the  details of CIA torture partial disclosed this month.]

5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.

He also said “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.

And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.

And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this.

Tortured Logic

Yesterday, Seator Levin revealed that the U.S. used torture techniques aimed at extracting false confessions.

Today, McClatchy fills in some of the details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

Writing about this today, Paul Krugman says:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

What Does That Say About the Persuasiveness of the 9/11 Commission Report?

As noted by Newsweek:

The commission appears to have ignored obvious clues throughout 2003 and 2004 that its account of the 9/11 plot and Al Qaeda’s history relied heavily on information obtained from detainees who had been subjected to torture, or something not far from it.

The panel raised no public protest over the CIA’s interrogation methods, even though news reports at the time suggested how brutal those methods were. In fact, the commission demanded that the CIA carry out new rounds of interrogations in 2004 to get answers to its questions.

That has troubling implications for the credibility of the commission’s final report. In intelligence circles, testimony obtained through torture is typically discredited; research shows that people will say anything under threat of intense physical pain.

And yet it is a distinct possibility that Al Qaeda suspects who were the exclusive source of information for long passages of the commission’s report may have been subjected to “enhanced” interrogation techniques, or at least threatened with them, because of the 9/11 Commission….

Information from CIA interrogations of two of the three—KSM and Abu Zubaydah—is cited throughout two key chapters of the panel’s report focusing on the planning and execution of the attacks and on the history of Al Qaeda.

Footnotes in the panel’s report indicate when information was obtained from detainees interrogated by the CIA. An analysis by NBC News found that more than a quarter of the report’s footnotes—441 of some 1,700—referred to detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation program, including the trio who were waterboarded.

Commission members note that they repeatedly pressed the Bush White House and CIA for direct access to the detainees, but the administration refused. So the commission forwarded questions to the CIA, whose interrogators posed them on the panel’s behalf.

The commission’s report gave no hint that harsh interrogation methods were used in gathering information, stating that the panel had “no control” over how the CIA did its job; the authors also said they had attempted to corroborate the information “with documents and statements of others.”

But how could the commission corroborate information known only to a handful of people in a shadowy terrorist network, most of whom were either dead or still at large?

Former senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat on the commission, told me last year he had long feared that the investigation depended too heavily on the accounts of Al Qaeda detainees who were physically coerced into talking. …

Kerrey said it might take “a permanent 9/11 commission” to end the remaining mysteries of September 11. Those now calling for more 9/11-style panels would be wise to heed his words.

Indeed, as I have repeatedly noted, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees.The 9/11 Commission itself is complaining that the government lied to – and hid evidence from – the Commission. See this, this, this and this.Now that we know that the interrogators used torture techniques aimed at extracting false confessions, does the 9/11 Commission Report carry any weight whatsoever?

JFK Warned of a Massive Conspiracy

The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, April 27, 1961

“… We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.  It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed…”

http://www.jfklibrary.org

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America

http://blackgenocide.org

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Are we being targeted? Isn’t that genocide? We are the only minority in America that is on the decline in population. If the current trend continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant. Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society? The founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.” Is her vision being fulfilled today?

 

For some, location of Brown’s hands irrelevant

Dec 1, 12:30 PM EST
By DAVID A. LIEB and HOLBROOK MOHR
Associated Press
http://hosted.ap.org

FERGUSON, MO — The word spread within minutes of Michael Brown’s death – a young black man with his hands raised in surrender had just been shot by a white police officer.

Soon, “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!” became a rallying cry for protesters in the streets of this St. Louis suburb and a symbol nationwide of racial inequality for those who believe that minorities are too often the targets of overzealous police.

Yet the witness accounts contained in thousands of pages of grand jury documents reviewed by The Associated Press show many variations about whether Brown’s hands were actually raised – and if so, how high.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This is an updated version of a story that moved recently.

To some, it doesn’t matter whether Brown’s hands literally were raised, because his death has come to symbolize a much bigger movement.

“He wasn’t shot because of the placement of his hands; he was shot because he was a big, black, scary man,” said James Cox, 28, a food server who protested this week in Oakland, California.

The issue resurfaced Sunday when five football players for the St. Louis Rams came onto the field with their hands raised in an show of solidarity with Ferguson protesters. The St. Louis Police Officers Association called on the NFL to publicly apologize and discipline the players.

Some witnesses said the 18-year-old Brown had his hands held high toward the sky on Aug. 9 as officer Darren Wilson gunned him down. Others thought they saw his hands partially raised, at about shoulder height. To some witnesses, his palms appeared out, as if surrendering. To others, his palms seemed open, as if glancing at his wounded hand or gesturing with an attitude of “what are you going to do about it.” Some said Brown’s hands were not raised at all.

The truth may never be certain. Despite a three-month grand jury investigation and an ongoing federal probe, no one has publicly disclosed any photos or videos capturing exactly what transpired.

After a Missouri prosecutor announced Nov. 24 that the grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson, the symbolic chant of “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!” rang out from protesters from Los Angeles to New York to London.

In Ferguson, some protesters have been wearing shirts with the phrase as they demonstrate outside the police station.

Protester Taylor Gruenloh, a 32-year-old white man from nearby Florissant, said that while he believes there’s truth to claims that Brown had his hands raised when shot, the lack of proof makes little difference to protesters who have found it to be a unifying force.

“Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry,” he said. “It’s just a metaphor.”

Brown had been walking with a friend down the center of Canfield Drive when Wilson, passing in his patrol vehicle, told them to move to the sidewalk. They did not. Wilson testified that he then realized Brown was a robbery suspect. A scuffle broke out at the vehicle. Wilson fired a shot that hit Brown in the right hand. When Brown ran, Wilson gave chase. At some point, Brown stopped and turned toward Wilson, who opened fire.

Wilson told the grand jury that Brown had his left hand in a fist at his side and his right hand under his shirt at his waist, and was charging toward him.

The phrase “hands up” is peppered throughout the grand jury documents, as prosecutors and investigators tried to clarify exactly what witnesses saw. In quite a few cases, it’s unclear exactly what the witnesses say they saw, because the gestures they made for grand jurors were not described in the transcripts.

Some of the witness accounts of the shooting differed so much they didn’t seem like the same scene.

“I saw him in the middle of the street on his knees with hands up,” one witness said. The “officer came up to him and shot him in his head and he fell.”

Another witness was insistent that Brown was on his feet and did not raise his hands.

“The officer was already in pursuit of him. He stopped. He did turn. He did some sort of body gesture. I’m not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture,” the witness said. “And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. He ran towards the officer full charge.”

In some regards, the disputed circumstances of Brown’s death highlight the inherent troubles with eyewitness testimony.

“It’s difficult for people under the best of circumstances to accurately report what happened,” said Elizabeth Brondolo, a psychology professor specializing in the effects of race on mental and physical health at St. John’s University in New York.

For Wilson and others at the shooting scene, what they say they saw may depend not just on their vantage point, but also their view of life, she said.

“The truth always really matters, but it’s important to recognize that past experience to stereotypes also influences the perception of hands being raised,” Brondolo said.

After the Ferguson grand jury announcement, several hundred protesters marched through central London with their hands raised, shouting “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!” Others carried hand-made banners that said “Black lives matter.” The Brown shooting has particular resonance in London, which was rocked by days of rioting following the 2011 death of Mark Duggan, a young black man shot to death by police under disputed circumstances.

Architect Evan Chakroff was among the protesters last week in Seattle. He said the “hands up” gesture is far from a literal representation of the circumstances of Brown’s death.

“My sense is that it’s totally symbolic and a way of representing powerlessness” in the face of inequality and militarized police, he said.

Several demonstrators said focusing on the exact circumstances of Brown’s shooting misses the point of the slogan.

“This is not about one boy getting shot in the street, but about the hundreds just like him who have received the same callous and racially influenced treatment,” said Oakland, California, protester Gabe Johnson, a middle school teacher. “So ultimately, no, it doesn’t matter at all if somehow we can say for sure whether this one young man really said these words or had his hands up.”

Associated Press writers Jim Suhr and Phillip Lucas, Alina Hartounian in Phoenix, and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.

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RELATED STORY

Ferguson burning after grand jury announcement

Watch Obama Make the Case Against Executive Amnesty

BY:
November 13, 2014 2:07 pm

freebeacon.com

President Obama irked Republicans and his past self this week by telling CBS he would bypass Congress and use executive action on illegal immigration, potentially ordering a 10-point amnesty plan as early as next week.

CNN reported that the move would likely include an expansion of deferred deportation for undocumented children to their families, and Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Obama is “nearing a final decision” on what to do. Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) office called the potential actions “executive amnesty.”

Obama could look back on statements from his first campaign and first term about what he can and can’t do as head of the Executive Branch.

“I take the Constitution very seriously,” he told a Pennsylvania town hall in 2008. “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

In 2011, he told a Univision town hall that there “are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system.” To ignore those congressional mandates through executive order, Obama said, would “not conform with my appropriate role as president.”

“I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the [immigration] on my own,” he told the National Council of La Raza that year. “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

Obama seemed frustrated when pushed on the subject of deportations during a roundtable with Latino reporters in September 2011.

“I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true,” he said. “We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce.”

A heckler in 2013 urged him to take executive action on the matter, and Obama actually turned around at the lectern to respond directly.

“If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” he said. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. So the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws, and what I’m proposing is the harder path which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve.”