By Bob Stone
“If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.” – Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte
On November 6th, if you were paying close attention, you would have noticed a story about Mike Brown’s mother putting her true feelings about peacefulness, equal justice and transparency on display when she asked the police not to disclose that she’s under investigation for felony robbery and assault. In fact, an investigative reporter, seeking said “transparency,” had to procure a court order to get the report released.
According to the newly released Ferguson police report, several people, including Brown`s paternal grandmother, Pearlie Gordon, were selling ‘Justice for Mike Brown merchandise.’
Then at about 1:20 pm, cars pulled up and 20-30 people “jumped out” and “rushed them.” One of those people was Michael Brown`s Mom, Lesley McSpadden, who is quoted yelling, “you can`t sell this s%$&.”
The report says Gordon was ‘repeatedly struck in the back of the head by an unknown subject’ and ‘knocked to the ground.’ The report adds that McSpadden ‘then ran up and punched (Gordon).’
What can one say but “a child learns what he lives.”
“That’s disingenuous! Just because McSpadden is under investigation for felony robbery and assault it doesn’t follow that Mike Brown was violent too” I can hear the Brown supporters say.
It just warms my heart to hear Brown supporters use logic and reason to support their claims; as opposed to demanding an indictment based on ideology rather than facts and evidence. And while McSpadden did raise Mike Brown, I do agree that one should not be judged based on “the company you keep fallacy.” Thus we can also dispense with this nonsense:
There are racist cops in Ferguson;
Officer Wilson is a white cop in Ferguson;
Officer Wilson shot an unarmed black man;
Therefore, Officer Wilson is a murderous racist.
But if we can’t simply say that Officer Wilson is a murderous racist, then the question arises … how did we get here? How did we get from a cop assaulted by a robbery suspect that got shot in the hand while fighting for control of the officer’s gun, ran off, stopped, turned and advanced on the officer while his gun was drawn — to nationwide protests about a racist cop executing an innocent black kid who had his “hands up?”
How could so many people recite a story that’s not supported by the forensic evidence?
Back when I wrote “Don’t You Dare Kick That Dog: In Defense of Officer Wilson” I briefly discussed the problem of “Distorted Retrospective Eyewitness Reports”:
The advent of social media has vastly decreased the time it takes for any remotely reliable eyewitness pool to be spoiled. Social media can now operate as a substitute for the official identification process in the post identification feedback effect. (See also Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Misinformation Effect) A recent article in the Wall Street Journal examines a similar phenomenon in the field of clinical research. If the eyewitnesses do not remain “in the blind,” so to speak, taking to Facebook & Twitter, etc., to discuss what they saw, the authenticity and reliability of those potential eyewitness statements will plummet. Consider that there’s a shooting resulting in death in the middle of a street and before any sort of investigation is carried out, before any official statements have been taken, people are taking to Twitter and texting their opinions about what happened—the Rashomon Effect gone viral. When you combine that with the added detail of a white cop shooting a black man in a community rife with racial tension, and add to that national media attention, how long before the eyewitness accounts suffer from confirmation bias or the damaging effect of confirming feedback?
Little did I know at the time there was someone on scene with motive and opportunity, i.e. access to all three primary witnesses, to COMPLETELY distort the truth of what happened that day while creating the “hands up” meme that would eventually form the basis of all the protests and vitriol against Officer Wilson.
Meet Anthony Shahid.
As a means of introduction, here are a few excerpts from a 2003 article (long, but highly informative) by Jeanette Batz for the Riverfront Times: “Who’s Afraid of Anthony Shahid?”
Shahid is “a professional agitator … who makes even his allies reach for water.”
“For years, Shahid has involved himself in virtually every controversial city police shooting and court decision affecting African-Americans.”
“By St. Louis standards, [Anthony Shahid]’s an attention-seeker who shoves aside the boundaries other people have set for themselves, inflaming situations that should be handled with civilized restraint.”
Well versed in police interference:
“It’s said that on at least one occasion, [Shahid] goaded onlookers to take [a] suspect back from the police, nearly starting a neighborhood riot.”
Friend and political ally of former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.; hired to represent Dorian Johnson:
“In the early 1990’s “when [Bosley] campaigned for mayor, Shahid provided extra security; and after Bosley won the election in 1993, Shahid went to work for the city, helping defuse gang problems in parks and recreation centers.”
Longtime “cohort” of Anthony D. Gray; (who supervises the Pine Lawn Police Departmen that issued 17,000 tickets and 23,000 warrants) hired to represent the Brown family:
“Shahid organized a press conference for Operation SUFYR — Stand up for Your Rights– uniting African-American police officers, firefighters and other public-safety workers. “White police officers shoot black police officers,” he charged. “We are family. We are united. We stand together. To attack any of us is to attack all of us.” He was joined by an old cohort, attorney Anthony D. Gray, who, as SUFYR’s advisor, called for a full-scale investigation into alleged violations of SUFYR members’ rights.”
Doesn’t like white people:
“The Reverend B.T. Rice, pastor of New Horizon Church, hears Shahid’s name and murmurs, “Oh boy.” Then he recovers. “We’ve agreed about issues that needed to be addressed. Where we disagree is, I think he generally has a view where he just doesn’t like white people. There’s a disdain there.”
“Disdain” is an understatement. Anthony Shahid is a full blown cop hating racist.
He describes himself on his Twitter page as an “Activist, Agitator and Servant of Allah.” Here’s a sampling of his “wisdom”
But what does Anthony Shahid have to do with the three primary witnesses at the scene? How did the three primary witnesses, two of which, as shown in their FBI interviews, lied to the media about seeing any of the “tussle” in the car with Wilson, end up telling the same story? It turns out that The Conservative Tree House and its commenters, i.e. the same site that discovered the excited utterance (discussed here) regarding Brown advancing on Wilson while he was firing, also discovered that Anthony Shahid is the one who started the “hands up” myth.
Shahid and Dorian Johnson (Full Video Here)
Shahid with Piaget Crenshaw, Tiffany Mitchell & Mike Brown’s Mother
Anthony Shahid starts the “Hands Up” movement. (Note how Shahid keeps his focus on the protesters that he’s just trained; rather than the camera)
Shahid Promoting Piaget Crenshaw
So the next time you hear “hands up, don’t shoot” just remember that the man who concocted the story of a racist white cop executing an innocent black kid; the man with the racist motive and opportunity to harmonize the statements of the three primary witnesses to bolster his fiction; the man who got Freeman Bosley Jr. to keep Dorian Johnson’s story straight; the man who started the “hands up, don’t shoot” meme; the man ultimately responsible for the falsehood that flew from Ferguson to Washington D.C. and round the world while truth [was] pulling her boots on — was a cop hating racist street activist named