In its report detailing why Officer Darren Wilson will not face federal civil rights charges for the killing of Michael Brown, the Department of Justice recounts an investigation that was marred by lying witnesses, none of whom apparently will face charges for their perjurious conduct.
The parallel state and federal investigations into the August 2014 death of the 18-year-old Brown became Perjuryfest ’14, a free-for-all of fabricated claims, exaggerated accounts, and delusional tales.
According to the DoJ report, federal investigators dismissed versions of the Brown-Wilson confrontation provided by 24 separate witnesses, who are identified in the document by a witness number and their respective ages, sex, and race. However, despite that limited information, some of the discredited witnesses are easy to identify.
The testimony from these witnesses was alternately branded inconsistent, not credible, unreliable, incoherent, and based on rumor and hearsay.
Federal agents declared that “material portions” of Brown sidekick Dorian Johnson’s account were found to “lack credibility.” Two women who gave a series of media interviews about the shooting--Piaget Crenshaw and Tiffany Mitchell--were deemed unreliable by federal officials. The 19-year-old Crenshaw’s account was “riddled with inconsistencies” and certain details she provided “lack credibility,” according to the report. A construction worker who was laying pipe with a coworker near the shooting site was branded “not credible.” The other worker refused to meet with federal investigators.
Of the 24 individuals, several admitted lying during law enforcement interviews, with one teenager saying that he just “wanted to be a part of it.” After recanting her fabricated tale, a 23-year-old woman admitted that she “wanted to be involved from the outset” and be “part of something.”
Five of the witnesses are convicted felons, with two having convictions for “crimes of dishonesty.” “Witness 137,” a 40-year-old convicted murderer, claimed that Wilson stood over Brown and “finished him off” with a shot to the head, “execution” style. The felon also claimed to have heard Brown tell Wilson, “Don’t shoot.” The man, who eventually recanted most of his claims, “was untruthful to the FBI during his initial interview,” noted federal investigators.
Two other witnesses--whose respective accounts were previously picked apart by TSG--were also dismissed as unreliable by Justice Department officials.
“Witness 126,” a 53-year-old woman, was “admittedly untruthful to the FBI, suffered from memory loss” and gave federal agents an account that lacked credibility. The woman, who has “several felony arrests and a misdemeanor conviction,” is referred to as “Witness 41” in the grand jury transcripts previously released by state prosecutors.
The most bizarre claim by “Witness 126” came after she finished her grand jury testimony. The woman told a prosecutor that she had recorded Brown’s shooting on her phone. Then she claimed to have dropped the phone in the toilet. As noted in the DoJ report, “When the state prosecutor told her that forensic experts may still be able to recover the data, Witness 126 stated that she got mad and threw the phone in the junk yard.”
Witness Sandra McElroy, identified in the federal report as “Witness 140,” was branded “not reliable” since “large parts of her narrative have been admittedly fabricated from media accounts, and her bias in favor of Wilson is readily apparent.” As TSG reported in December, McElroy--known as “Witness 40” in the state transcripts--is a troubled, bipolar woman with two felony convictions and a history of making racist remarks. McElroy is pictured below.
Remarkably, the cavalcade of lies continued up until days ago, nearly seven months after Brown’s killing. “Witness 148,” a 26-year-old woman, met with federal investigators in late-February and gave a vivid description of watching the deadly confrontation. Brown, she said, “looked scared and it’s not like he’s a giant or anything.” She “described Wilson as ‘possessed’ based on the ‘look in his eyes,’ as though ‘he wasn’t human,’” according to the federal report. The cop, “Witness 148” added, shot Brown while the teen was “surrendering.”
When asked why she had not come forward sooner, “Witness 148” said that she feared the Ferguson Police Department. The woman, a convicted felon who participated in protests over the teenager’s killing, claimed to have recently met with Brown’s mother. “Witness 148 explained that as a mother herself, she wanted to share with Brown’s mother what happened to Brown,” according to the DoJ report.
Like so many before her, “Witness 148” was dismissed as “inherently unreliable” by federal investigators.