A New York Times article said Michael Brown was 'no angel' — Is that fair? (+photos)

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  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    Having lived in Mississippi in the 1970s, I had the kids lock our car doors when we were approached by the KKK in their little parades or handing out pamphlets in their white robes, etc. People on both sides should love their neighbors without being masked and hidden from view. Having lived in Germany in the 1970s, also, I could still see some of the people with the fervor of their leader of the 1930s and 1940s still in the air in our area. Our leaders can either make our behavior more tranquil or more limited trust like and we have leaders that prejudge without the facts through their behavior, words and actions.

    We should be an example to the world in these troubled times of death and refugees in their loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Anywhere for children may be better than killing their own parents by directions of the rebels. Children may play video games of war but children in some places actually have to kill others to stay alive.

    It is so nice to live in peaceful Utah where we still have leaders that go errant.

  • neece Logan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    OH come on people! my son was "no angel" when he was young but turned out to be a successful, talented, great man. You don't see my crying over that statement. And then the comment was that every news media tends to focus on the fact that he did drugs and stole thing... helloooo he was heading in a bad direction. Have we focused on the police officer that was brutally beaten by Brown? Where is that story? What happened to owning up to your mistakes and being responsible for your actions. Sorry but Brown and those who are rioting seem to forget the fact that Brown was again in the commission of a crime and he is the victim? Really?

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    When Browns family went overboard in trying to paint as positive a picture of him as possible they compelled responsible journalists (as opposed to propagandists at Slate) to write balanced pieces that go to the heart.

    Considering the clear anti-women nature of rap, that objectifies women, there are no good rappers and all rappers need to be taken to task more for their spreading a dysfunctional culture.

    That is the true center of rape culture.

    Aug. 28, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    The courts will decide, not the social media. His family calls him an angel, others call him no angel. What's surprising about that?

  • Sagacious Meadow, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    @ dave4197:

    Two quick observations:

    1) You truly do not know nearly as much as you assume you do. And no amount of evidence is going to change your set-in-stone opinions. You seem to be unable to distinguish the difference between opinion and facts. You've made that painfully obvious.

    2) I hope you are never called up for jury duty. You are one of that small percentage of people who can't be persuaded by evidence... no matter how compelling it may be. I feel very sorry for whomever may be on trial if you are on the jury. They will have already lost before the trial ever starts.

  • Itsjstmeagain Merritt Island, Fl
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    Yes. Eyewitness report Brown was engaged in a form of "arm wrestling" while the cop was in his car when a shot was heard. He then ran.
    More importantly, where are the parents who should teach respect when they were young? Where are the voters who should have voted the City officials out?

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:33 a.m.

    @ Gary O any community that reacts to an event like this by burning and looting shops in its own neighborhood has underlying attitudinal problems which have nothing to do with the event itself but rather the event serves as an excuse for the looting. It's why the community accepts 1000 murders a year amongst its own members but when the police kill someone under disputed circumstance, for some reason that's unacceptable. You would be better served in the comments section by at least attempting to apply some thought instead of pretending to the role of insufferable pedant.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:15 p.m.

    Sven and others, the story says Brown was not an angel, that's extraneous. The cop had no justification to murder Brown, the cop maybe had a reason to warn, but clearly no justification to shoot and kill. That was murder.

    The courts will decide which degree of murder, but they won't let the cop off on self defense or convict only of some non shooting crime. The cop cannot escape guilt. The pd is complicit, consider that they showed up hours later in armored cars, this shows their thinking and training is for an over the top response, same as the cop's response was way over the top. And wrong.

    Cooler heads soon prevailed and shut down the local pd, cooler heads allowed a soft curfew, cooler heads allowed demonstrations mostly peaceful. A bunch of good cooler heads.

    The parents of Brown have been calling for non violence throughout the ordeal which is continuing. What a great example they have been.

    The real story is Brown didn't deserve to die. That is the real tragedy, the real story, not the extraneous stuff in this article.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    It depends, bringing up his background good or bad is pretty meaningless as to the result of him being shot. It was either justified or unjustified based on the events that took place during that time. If someone wants to claim something negative in his past justifies him being shot, that's wrong.

    @play by the rules
    "No one has spent a full story on the Police Officer and how his broken eye socket and the severity of the injury."

    Because later reports indicate that broken eye socket claim was false.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    dave4197 said:

    "The cop had no justification to murder Brown, there is clearly enough evidence in my mind to conclude that point."


    Dave, ever hear of: Dorian Johnson, Tiffany Mitchell, and Piaget Crenshaw? These three witnesses all made two specific claims concerning the events that led up to the death of Michael Brown by Officer Wilson: 1) They claimed Brown was fleeing from Officer Wilson with his hands in the air, and 2) They claimed Brown was shot from behind by Officer Wilson. Unfortunately, these eyewitness accounts are not squaring with the autopsy reports.

    All of the autopsy reports thus far have shown that the 6 bullets that struck Brown were ALL to the front of his body (Four to the right arm; 2 to the head). There were no bullet entries to the back of his body. So, how do you suppose all three of these witnesses got these vital facts of Brown's death so dreadfully wrong? BTW, Johnson was Browns robbery accomplice.

    Oh yes, care to explain how Officer Wilson suffered an orbital blowout fracture of the eye socket from a fleeing Brown?

    Is your evidence supported by the claims of these three witnesses?

  • Sagacious Meadow, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:37 p.m.


    It's almost unbelievable to read the lengths you are going to in trying to condemn the police officer involved in this incident, all before even any preliminary investigation has been completed.

    None of the witnesses, including Brown's partner in crime, have even insinuated that the officer hit himself in the face to create self-justification. Wow. What a totally off-the-wall and baseless comment.

    Reading such things helps me to better understand how some crowds get driven to lynch-mob mentalities. Just throw out any possibilities, no matter how weak, and hope that some of them stick.

    BTW: We do know that the officer was taken to the hospital to be treated for facial injuries... not "allergies" or "crying"... for Pete's sake.
    Why is it so important for you to come down on this officer before knowing if the shooting was justified or not?

    I know you're an ultra-liberal. But I also thought you were better than that.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Dave 4197

    Pre-judgement on a case that all the facts have not come out. Now that is exactly what is wrong with you and all others who have already convicted the police officer. People like you getting on a jury would be dangerous to our system. Just look at what happened with double murderer OJ Simpson when he got a jury who tried the police department and not him. That makes them no better than the prejudiced white juries who used to automatically convict black people in the South just because they were black, regardless of evidence. You say your attitude is based on facts. However you may not know all the facts yet. Does that matter to you?

  • Brio Alpine, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    @ dave4197:

    Regardless of what you have seemingly convinced yourself of, your attitude is NOT based on facts... as long as you are convinced that a murder took place before any full investigation has taken place.

    In our American judicial system, people are always assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. And without any kind of trial taking place, absolutely no full conclusions should be drawn.

    You keep using the word murder. Exactly how do you know, without any doubt whatsoever, that a murder took place? How do you know that the officer wasn't being charged by Brown when the fatal shots were fired?
    Answer: You don't. None of us do.

    You are assuming what race dividers such as Al Sharpton keep preaching on TV to be true. It may or may be. We simply don't know yet. That's what grand jury investigations and trials are for.

    There was actually a You-tube video being made by two Black guys at the time of the shooting. They are heard talking while all of it was taking place. They said that "the dude" (Brown} did turn back around and was charging the officer just before being shot.

  • Brio Alpine, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @ Midwest Mom:

    So life is sometimes more difficult for some young Blacks. Should that give them excuse to rob and loot stores whenever something like this happens? What are we to think when we see such deviant behavior on television... "Oh, those poor picked on Black people. Yes, they should have whatever it is they can steal from those mean store owners who don't understand their hardships"?

    Do you realize that even though Blacks make up about 13% of the USA population, almost 49% of all murders are committed by Blacks in the USA per FBI statistics?
    In other words, there could be valid reasons why people in some areas are still somewhat leery of driving through Black neighborhoods where gangs are known to exist. Percentages and statistics don't lie.

    You should come off of your high-horse and realize that most White are not bigoted. There are valid reasons for Blacks sometimes having a harder time in life. They have the highest percentage of high school dropouts of any ethnic group. That all but guarantees staying poor. People's bad decisions don't equate to Whites being racist. That's simply a dumb and unfounded correlation.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    My attitude is based on facts. A cop murdered an African American teen without justification. The police are in a secrecy mode and a delay mode, they should out this cop with his statements and should recognize a need to retrain their pd. This will come out with time, at present it's taken too much time.
    I'm watching and listening for the rest of the truth to come out. Not lynch mob mentality just furious at the cop and the pd. The big reason for the current problem is the attitude of the cop and the pd. Not me. You're off the subject again, like the article is.

  • Brio Alpine, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    @ GaryO:

    You bring up the term prejudice. Isn't that what most people would call others who determine the guilt of a person before an investigation has even started? They pre-judge.

    Many, many Blacks and Blacks representing Black organizations have publicly said that no verdict will be accepted that isn't a guilty verdict on the police officer and a lifetime prison sentence, regardless of what else may come out in the investigation.
    That is totally pre-judging or prejudice... the same thing they are accusing others of.

    Yes, none of us are angels. But there are certainly many, many of us who go through life without robbing stores and assaulting store owners, and who don't provoke police officers. There's even a lot of us who decided early in life to never use drugs... believe it or not.
    So yours is a stupid excuse for Michael Brown's irrational behavior.

    @ dave4197:

    Your attitude is a big reason for the current problem. You've determined this to be a murder based on a few things you saw on the news, before an official investigation even started. That's commonly called lynch-mob mentality and is very dangerous.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    Hey the Wraith -

    "The Ferguson Police Chief never said he had suffered this injury but only that his face was swollen"

    And that could be from what? . . . crying? . . . allergy? . . . hit in the face?

    That would have to be a fairly significant blow to make the face swell though, wouldn't it?

    But then, that blow could have been self-delivered later too . . . Maybe to create justification.

    Officers really should use body cameras, since the technology is out there. And there cars should have cameras pointing in every direction. Why not?

    It would resolve quite a few disputes, I bet.

  • PaulSpringville SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    I apologize for not being more clear on my comment. I only meant to infer that whether or not there was a struggle between Wilson and Brown that caused injury to Wilson is not clear. I don't trust the reports about the eye socket as there appears to be no source.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:12 p.m.


    "....If blacks don't want to be thought of as thugs, then stop acting like thugs...."

    That’s really telling ‘em. I don’t expect it to help promote understanding but it does let others know how some folks see things.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:52 p.m.


    Actually the lie about the officers broken socket has been debunked by several major news outlets including CNN, CBS, and The Christian Post. The Ferguson Police Chief never said he had suffered this injury but only that his face was swollen. So no, it hasn't only been debunked in social media. The story was never true to begin with.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    To "Midwest Mom" what you describe isn't racism. It is a public relations problem between the black community and the rest of nation. The feeling of unease isn't because the race of the people, but the perception of the neighborhood. The black community is portrayed as living in dangerous neighborhoods full of crime and violence. If every time I saw images or news from a type of neighborhood that showed nothing but violence and crime, I would be afraid too. If blacks don't want to be thought of as thugs, then stop acting like thugs. Change your public relations, show us the good in your communities.

  • PaulSpringville SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    I am disgusted by all of the groups using the shooting in Ferguson as part of a political agenda. I am ashamed to be a member of the APWU, American Postal Workers Union, where on their home page the verdict on the incident has already been settled.

    "We seek a new day, where execution-style killings of unarmed African-American teenagers such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown take place no more."

  • PaulSpringville SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    The officer being beaten has only been debunked in the social media. The autopsy on Brown did not show signs of a struggle, but neither did Lance Armstrong show signs of doping. According to the Chief of Police, Wilson did receive hospital treatment for facial injuries. Whether those injuries came from Brown or not will eventually come out.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    Hey Uncle Fester – “But hey maybe this could be Barry's son” . . . Or he could be your son.

    “. . which should clue you into the attitudes that underlie the problems in that community . . .”

    Which Community? The community of “Conservatives” who prejudge?

    What’s the noun form of that verb anyway?

    . . . Prejudice.

  • try_to_reason USA, MO
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    Wow. I totally agree that the officer (or anyone else for that matter)"had no justification to murder Brown". But you seem to be saying the evidence we see in the media proves that the officer did indeed "murder" brown. The only evidence we can see for that at the moment is the statement from brown's friend (coincidentally a co-conspirator in the convenience store robbery minutes before the shooting.) We likewise don't see evidence that proves it wasn't a murder. Might I suggest that you follow the actual legal proceedings and see what real evidence actually emerges, rather than jump to the conclusion that you apparently want to believe and promote?

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    Not only was he not an angel, he was also not civilized. Strong arm robbery and drug use is not normal and is not acceptable behavior. Attacking a cop is way, way outside normal. This guy's past looks more like the average thug than any sort of college student. But hey maybe this could be Barry's son as well which should clue you into the attitudes that underlie the problems in that community, a community that pillages its own in response to the police taking action to force decent behavior.

  • hadtosayit Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:57 a.m.


    I grew up in the South and experienced the same thing that Midwest Mom did. Of course, it is wise in our day to exercise caution by locking doors, but at that time (in the 60s and 70s) no one was doing so routinely. It was only when we drove through black parts of town that we were admonished to do so. That is racism born out of ignorance.

    Along those same lines, why has the debate degenerated into whether Michael Brown deserved to be murdered (although he was unarmed)? We should be talking about the long history of injustices endured by the African-American community. Unless you have experienced being black in America (or seen it through the eyes of loved ones), you will never know what it feels like to be treated as a second-class citizen in your own country.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    Hey G-Day-M8 –

    “I'm not sure if your comment was a sarcastic attempt to lower the expectation of human behavior and self dignity or a real attempt at brushing off the moral obligation of choice and accountability?”

    I’m not sure what you just said either.

    But I am sure what I said.

    I said, “The kid was NO Angel . . . Not many of us are.” In other words, nobody’s perfect.

    I’m not sure how that observation could be construed as a “sarcastic attempt to lower the expectation of human behavior and self dignity or a real attempt at brushing off the moral obligation of choice and accountability?”

    Do you consider yourself to be an “Angel.” Please elaborate.

    Hey Kora – “How many of us have ever assaulted a cop? Have you?”

    Why do you ask? . . . I’m not a Cliven Bundy supporter.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Whether Michael Brown was a delinquent or a model citizen can affect how we interpret the circumstances of his death. On one side are accounts that Brown was shot when he had his hands up. The police version is that the officer was fending off an attack by Brown when he shot him.

    That’s a huge discrepancy between versions. Hopefully, the investigation will sort out what happened and why. The findings may not completely satisfy either side.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    The officer did not have a broken eye socket nor was he "savagely beaten" both of those lies have been debunked numerous times.

    The real question is not if he was a good kid or not or even if he hit the officer or not. The only question that matters is if Brown had his hands in the air, surrendering, and asking for help when the fatal bullet was fired. Once Brown put his hands up that should have been it.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    I'm no angel and when I was Michael Brown's age I did some stupid things. But there is a difference between stupid kid stuff and what this irresponsible young man did: strong arm robbery, use of drugs and alcohol, resisting arrest. If a cop asks me to do something, I do it. I certainly don't try to antagonize him. If the liberal press wants to glorify an innocent hero/victim, they picked the wrong guy.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Come on drug use as a character flaw. The use didn't prevent our president from becoming president. Yes he said it in his book.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    Midwest Mom

    Might interest you to know that even Jesse Jackson admitted once that if he was confronted with a group of young black guys he would be concerned for his safety. You may call it an irrational fear, but then how can one live in our world today without using locks on cars, or houses? Even though most of us won't be robber, burgled, or assaulted by anyone, white, black, or otherwise, it still happens enough, and is presented daily in the news, that maybe what you percieve as and irrational fear is nothing more than common sense. There is nothing racist about being cautious wherever one is, and no matter what racial group predominates. Here in Utah, we have a vast majority white population. Yet, we all lock our cars and houses.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    Michael Brown did not need to be murdered. Brown was no angel perhaps, that story is beside the point, off on a tangent, unfair, unworthy of discussion. The cop had no justification to murder Brown, there is clearly enough evidence in my mind to conclude that point. Have read every article from nytimes to dnews to nbc cbs abc and others. The cop's action is the subject, period, and the police dept is way too quiet, way too slow, after the fact.
    I am a white guy, this murder was unjustified, this murder was reprehensible, this murder needs to have consequences to the cop who erred and to the police dept which failed to train properly.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    @ GaryO
    Virginia Beach, VA

    I'm not sure if your comment was a sarcastic attempt to lower the expectation of human behavior and self dignity or a real attempt at brushing off the moral obligation of choice and accountability?

    Would you care to elaborate?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    I know lots of teenagers who don't do drugs, shoplift or physically assault police officers.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    @Kora, that would not be normal in Virginia Beach. As for Michael Brown, bad choices lead to a bad result.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    G-Day-M8- I agree. I have lived in Utah, Arizona, Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. None of the places I have lived has ever considered Strong Arm robbery as a normal Teenager offense. Assaulting a Police Officer is not a normal Teenager offense. What percentage of teenagers nationwide are committing these types of offenses? I would say the numbers are pretty low.
    When you are 18, you are no longer a child. My dad went to Vietnam when he was 18.

    GaryO- How many of us have ever assaulted a cop? Have you? Is that normal in Virginia Beach, because it was not normal up in Richmond, Va. where I lived.

    SCfan- I cannot agree more. Why do they make Mr Brown out to be this saint and the cop to be an evil racist? Most of the evidence points to the cop be a pretty good guy and Mr Brown as a thug.

    Why is it that so many youth want to act and be seen like gangstas' to their friends and people on the street, but as soon as something bad happens to them, they want to be seen like the average good kid?

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    "At this point neither guilt or innocence can be truthfully determined."

    Yes, snap moves to judgment can be dangerous. In the case of Michael Brown, Officer Wilson's snap judgment that his life was in danger was fatal. Trayvon Martin, too, was guilty of nothing more than walking while black.

    Why are so many Americans afraid to face the fact that life for young, black males is dangerous? It's the same as vilifying our Muslim brothers. They live their lives in a war and that inspires anger and despair. I think that the main reason why so many white people rush to defend the police officer, without sufficient evidence to do so, is that they put themselves in the officer's place -- they are afraid of young, black males.

    It's time to call out racism in this country. Admit it. Look for it and find it in our own behavior. My grandmother used to tell us to lock the doors, when our car was in a black neighborhood. Even as a child, I knew it was wrong, but it had its affect on my view of the world--I struggle with that irrational fear.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    what college was he supposed to be at last Monday? I think that was probably another family/media brush stroke to paint the angel portrait.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    it seems that every news outlet needs to include details of Brown’s drug use and petty theft (which are normal teenage offenses) in order to remain 'objective,’ ” Rothkopf wrote.

    Really? Drug use and petty theft (strong arm robbery) are normal teenage offenses? Am I supposed to lower my expectation of society because of this tripe? Am I suddenly supposed believe that choice and accountability have been supplanted by the notion that robbery and drug use are the norm and therefore the baseline of conduct?

    Can a writer not suggest that robbery and drug abuse are not angel like? What is the new definition of angelic behavior? Oh, that's right, I forget that secular humanism (only the strong are worthy of survival) is the new religion.

    What is so wrong nowadays with the idea that the meek shall inherit the earth? Love one another? I am the way, the truth and the life?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    My instincts tell me that this is pretty much the truth about Brown and Wilson. However, in our cowardly PC culture, Brown needs to be seen as the next MLK, and Officer Wilson needs to be seen as the local grand wizard of the KKK. No justice no peace?? Truth is there will be no justice as seen by the many unless Officer Wilson is given a fair trial then convicted. Anything less will be seen as whitewash. And, in truth none of us anywhere, except the ones handling and looking at all the evidence, really knows what happened. As I said at the beginning, I'm going by my instincts on this. At this point neither guilt or innocence can be truthfully determined. But that does not stop many in office (Govenor Nixon for instance) or the so called civil rights leaders, from already demanding conviction of Officer Wilson.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    Yes it's fair. No one has spent a full story on the Police Officer and how his broken eye socket and the severity of the injury.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    Oh come on! The kid was NO Angel . . . Not many of us are.