MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell ripped into A St. Louis County assistant district attorney for making a huge mistake in prosecuting Darren Wilson.
In her arguments, Kathy Alizadeh handed members of the Ferguson grand jury a letter referencing an outdated and overturned law. The 1979 Missouri statute stated that a cop can use deadly force on a fleeing suspect to keep them from getting away if they think they need to. Specifically, it reads that an officer is justified in using “such physical force as he or she reasonably believes is immediately necessary.”
This may have applied to Darren’s case, where he gunned down unarmed teen Michael Brown had the United States Supreme Court not deemed the law unconstitutional in 1985. Lawrence essentially accused her of completely blowing the case and handing Darren a golden ticket all at the same, however unwittingly it may have happened.
“She was handing them something that had not been law in Missouri during her entire legal career, but it was very helpful to Darren Wilson,” Lawrence said during a recent “Rewrite” segment. “By handing the grand jury that unconstitutional law, the assistant district attorney dramatically lowered the standard by which Darren Wilson could be judged.”
From that point, Lawrence argues that case was completely tainted because this letter completely changed the testimony and evidence because it altered the lens through which the grand jury was looking at it. Before she handed them this letter the defense would have had to convince the grand jury that Darren had reasonable cause to believe that his life was in danger even though Michael was retreating.
Since Michael was fleeing the scene he was no longer an immediate threat to Darren, but this outdated law said all Michael needed to do to legally be shot was run away.
“[Kathy] was telling the grand jury that Darren Wilson didn’t have to feel his life threatened at all by Michael Brown,” Lawrence explained. “She was taking the hurdle that Darren Wilson had to get over in his testimony and flattening it.”
It’s not as though this is new information. It’s been nearly 30 years since SCOTUS outlawed the statute. Completely flabbergasted at the level of legal ignorance, Lawrence said, “With prosecutors like this, Darren Wilson never really needed a defense lawyer.”