Forensic evidence seems to support what white police Officer Darren Wilson said happened before he shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown two months ago. The evidence appears to offer a legal justification for his actions.
Rabble-rousers, pundits and even ordinary people of goodwill take note: Whether in Ferguson, Missouri, or NYC, it's best to temper anti-police rhetoric -- and not rush to judgment -- before the facts are in.
In Ferguson, Wilson, 28, told authorities he was trying to get out of his car when Brown pushed him back in. Inside the car, the two fought and Wilson removed his gun from his holster. He fired two shots. One hit Brown in the arm, and the other missed.
Forensic evidence shows Brown's blood was on Wilson's gun, his uniform and on the car's interior door panel, according to The New York Times, which first reported it last week.
A struggle in his car would indicate Wilson may have felt his life was in danger, which would justify the shooting. Such a struggle also would make it difficult to charge Wilson with violating Brown's civil rights. But the forensic evidence does not explain why Wilson, after getting out of his car, repeatedly fired at Brown, killing him -- and spurring racial turmoil.
Further roiling tensions, some eyewitnesses said Brown was surrendering, holding his hands up when Wilson shot him; others have said Brown appeared to move toward Wilson.
A rush to judgment also played out in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island. Black leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries have called for a conviction in the case of Garner, who died after resisting arrest by a white officer.
Sharpton has condemned Wilson's account as reported by the Times. "You are asking me to believe that a young man that was shot and knew he didn't have a gun ran back at you, in toward a gun that already shot him?" he said. "If that grand jury [in Ferguson] comes back with no indictment, then we are headed to Washington and we are going to have a national 'hands up' rally around the Justice Department like you have never seen before."
If that's the case, President Barack Obama, who invited Sharpton to the White House this summer, will learn what NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn't: You deal with Sharpton at your peril.