FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) – Information about the Michael Brown fatal police shooting is beginning to leak out, and former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says it’s no accident the feds are allowing the information.
Fitch discussed a New York Times article indicating, according to federal investigators, there was a struggle that led up to the fatal police shooting of Brown, with KMOX’s Mark Reardon on Monday.
Fitch calls the information from the investigation coming out as phase two – to “coordinate leaks to the media, and to start getting some of the facts out there to kind of let people down slowly,” he says. “When I say this is phase two – phase one was really Eric Holder’s announcement how they were going to basically do a complete review and take over the Ferguson Police Department.”
Fitch says he thinks the feds recognize that it’s “probably very unlikely” that there’s going to be charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
“There was a struggle over the weapon. Law enforcement, we know that about half the officers killed every year with firearms are killed with their own,” he says. “So the fact that he didn’t have his own doesn’t mean there wasn’t a weapon there available that could be used in deadly force use.”
Fitch is a strong proponent of believing physical evidence over eye-witness evidence.
“Physical evidence has no reason to lie. It doesn’t see things differently,” he says, and it is that kind of evidence he thinks could make or break the case.
“If there was a struggle inside that car over a firearm, it sounds to me like Officer Wilson would have been justified in taking the action he did if he pulled the trigger and actually shot Michael Brown in the vehicle area,” Fitch says.
He notes that the other key piece to the investigation is what happened after Wilson and Brown were out of the police vehicle.
“If Michael Brown was truly turned around and basically charging the officer, he already went for round one fighting over his handgun. Are you going to go for round two and take the chance of losing it this time?” Fitch asks. “I think that would be a more logical explanation as to why Officer Wilson would have discharged his firearm at Michael Brown.”
He says police officers are given lawful authority to use force, and according to the law, they are under no obligation to retreat when someone resists arrest. Fitch adds that with that authority comes some gray areas.
Fitch believes the New York Times story is just a preview of what’s to come over the next few weeks.
This story was updated at 8:20 a.m. on Oct. 21.
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