Ferguson MO Revisited: Bob Donley Wonders, Where’s the Video?

LBN’s Bob Donley remembers the old Wendy’s slogan, “Where’s the beef?” and wonders, when thinking of Ferguson, Missouri, “Where’s the video?” He explains in this report.

Donley notes that “Every single case of controversy involving the police over the past year has been caught on tape, all except one.” The chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City was caught on cell phone video. The incident in South Carolina where a police officer shot Michael Slager was caught on video. When a police officer in Cleveland shot Tamir Rice, who was holding a pellet gun that looked real, the incident was caught on video. The arrest of Freddie Gray in Baltimore was captured on several cell phone videos. The incidents at pool parties in Texas and Ohio were caught on video. In Los Angeles, cell phone video captured a highway patrol officer beating a homeless woman along a freeway.

However, Donley points out, there was no video of the incident in Ferguson involving Michael Brown and police officer Darren Wilson. The Brown case was “the most publicized incident of all, the one that started it all.” Donley notes that, in the pellet gun case, the video was running before police arrived on the scene. In South Carolina, the video recording began well before the shooting. In Baltimore, there were videos from three locations shooting the incident.

Donley reminds us that the Ferguson incident included a scuffle in broad daylight. This was followed by shots being fired inside Officer Wilson’s patrol car. People in the neighborhood heard the shots and were drawn to the scene. The many witnesses who gave statements provided conflicting accounts of what happened. All of this leads Donley to ask again, “Where’s the video?”

“Could it just be,” Donley wonders, “that any tape of that incident would have shown from the beginning precisely what both federal and local investigators determined really happened.” Such a video, Donley says, could refute any suggestion that Officer Wilson killed an innocent Michael Brown, who had his hands up. Two independent inquiries determined that Wilson was not at fault. “There were no hands up.” Anyone who recorded the incident, Donley opines, might have chosen to delete it rather than to share it.

Donley’s opinion is conjecture, he says. “But forty years in journalism has taught me to always question such incidents when the obvious is somehow not on display.” In a video-driven news world, TV news viewers need to remember that “what you are actually seeing is really the truth. . . . Or if there are no pictures, don’t be afraid to ask yourself, ‘Where’s that video?’.”

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