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Conflicting testimony


AP

Conflicting testimony

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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) – Some witnesses said Michael Brown had been shot in the back.

Another said he was face-down on the ground when Officer Darren Wilson “finished him off”.

Still others acknowledged changing their stories to fit published details about the autopsy or admitted that they did not see the shooting at all.

An Associated Press review of thousands of pages of grand jury documents reveals numerous examples of statements made during the shooting investigation that were inconsistent, fabricated or provably wrong. For one, the autopsies ultimately showed Brown was not struck by any bullets in his back.

Prosecutors exposed these inconsistencies before the jurors, which likely influenced their decision not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death.

Bob McCulloch, the St Louis County prosecutor, said the grand jury had to weigh testimony that conflicted with physical evidence and conflicting statements by witnesses as it decided whether Wilson should face charges.

“Many witnesses to the shooting of Michael Brown made statements inconsistent with other statements they made and also conflicting with the physical evidence. Some were completely refuted by the physical evidence,” McCulloch said.

The decision Monday not to charge Wilson with any crime set off more violent protests in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson and around the country, fuelled by claims that the unarmed black 18-year-old was shot while surrendering to the white officer in the mostly African-American city.

What people thought were facts about the August 9 shooting have become intertwined with what many see as abuses of power and racial inequality in America.

And media coverage of the shooting’s aftermath made it into the grand jury proceedings. Before some witnesses testified, prosecutors showed jurors clips of the same people making statements on TV.

Their inconsistencies began almost immediately after the shooting, from people in the neighbourhood, the friend walking with Brown during the encounter and even one woman who authorities suggested probably wasn’t even at the scene at the time.

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