Frequent Payouts on Complaints Against Police Compound ‘Ferguson Effect’

The parents of Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson (Mo.) police Officer Darren Wilson in 2014, have just gotten a financial windfall. The city’s insurance company has agreed to pay them $1.5 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the former police chief and Wilson.

In other words, Ferguson folded, probably on the advice of their insurance company’s lawyers.

While I cannot imagine the grief of those parents, losing their son the way they did, I can’t shake the feeling that they are being rewarded for their 18-year-old’s bad behavior.

The cold hard truth of that day is that Brown had just stolen a box of cigarillos from a local market and was defiantly walking down the middle of the street, ignoring the officer’s instructions to get on the sidewalk.

Trustworthy eyewitnesses reported it was Brown who was the aggressor that day, that he violently pushed Wilson back into his patrol car as he tried to get out, and then wrestled over his gun.

Forensic evidence confirmed Brown’s blood was found on Wilson’s gun and on the inside of the car, clear corroboration of the eyewitness accounts that Brown started the fight and the officer’s claim that Brown was going for the weapon.

Initial witnesses screamed into TV cameras that Brown had his hands in the air and was begging, “Don’t shoot!” before he was “shot in the back.” Those reports were proven to be false.

Of the six bullets fired by the officer, the first took off a hunk of Brown’s right thumb, and four others hit him in the right side of the neck and chest, and right arm. The fatal bullet struck him in the top of his head, indicating the 6-foot-5-inch 289-pound young man was either falling forward or charging at Wilson.

A grand jury heard 60 witnesses and declined to indict Wilson. A separate Justice Department investigation during President Barack Obama’s administration cleared the officer of any civil rights abuses.

Major Media Failed to Highlight the Facts as They Became Known

The DOJ also investigated the practices of the political and justice system in Ferguson and concluded that city officials had engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans. The report said it stemmed from the undue pressure put on the police department by Ferguson’s finance director to increase revenue by issuing more tickets and fines for minor infractions.

From the report: “Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on ‘productivity,’ meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.”

It was a terrible thing that happened that steamy August day in Ferguson. A young man who was anticipating going to college was gunned down in the street. Because an angry crowd gathered and officers heard gunshots, his body laid on the hot pavement for four hours.

Officer Darren Wilson’s Injuries Were Cataloged Immediately After the Shooting – courtesy of Police Department

Ultimately, Wilson resigned, and at last report, he is unable to find another law enforcement job and still receives death threats.

I suppose it is human nature to think someone somewhere should pay for what happened.

But this practice of insurance companies automatically paying out to avoid the expense of proving the truth in court should end. By believing that it is cheaper to pay a bit upfront, these companies give strength to the idea that big money must be the reward for any and all unexpected occurrences. This practice has gone on too long.

More than a decade ago, I was verbally and physically threatened by a man while covering a long criminal trial. Day after day, his ugly in-your-face taunts continued until court security finally urged me to file a restraining order so they could have legal standing to arrest him should he cross the line. I did. My tormentor teamed up with an eager imaginative attorney and threatened a lawsuit because I had chilled his constitutional right to free speech. I’m pretty sure the Founding Fathers did not believe that constant cursing and rants constitute free speech, but no matter. Rather than go through a costly trial to argue the merits of the case, my employer’s insurance company decided to pay the man and his attorney to go away.

After looking into the law enforcement system in Ferguson, the Justice Department reported, “We have found substantial evidence of racial bias among police and court staff in Ferguson.”

Surely, that conclusion underscored the need for a major overhaul. But in the specific case of Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown? The DOJ found no fault on the part of the officer, no reason to charge him for, in effect, defending himself during a violent citizen-instigated altercation.

So, where is the logic in paying out $1.5 million to Michael Brown’s parents? I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.



  1. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Reader Tom Coyle writes:

    Diane: As a Retired Police Officer from a very busy east cost state, I thank you for a beautiful fact filled article in the July issue of Albuquerque Journal. I wish all news personnel would do the Good Job you do.

    Thank you very much!

  2. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Noozhawk Reader MaxWebXperienZ writes:

    We could change the way we do court business. Make it so the loser pays all court costs and attorneys on both sides of the case. That is the way it is in Texas and it’s one of the reasons they have a flourishing economy. That will reduce the fake lawsuit thingy to nothing. We don’t have a chance to implement that while Democrats are running things because attorneys are big donors but eventually…

  3. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Facebook Friend Donnakay Church writes:

    I absolutely agree with you! Michael’s criminal behavior greatly contributed to his death IMO.

  4. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Facebook Friend Scott Wilson writes:

    What did the police officer get that their son ruined his career, I bet not even severance pay, So Sad,

  5. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Facebook Friend Linda Van Haver writes:

    So ridiculous. It amazes me that anyone even becomes a police officer anymore with all that is stacked against them.

  6. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Facebook Friend Jon Duncan writes:

    Probably because legal fees to defend the city would have been more than the settlement.

  7. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Facebook Friend Elaina Deva Proffitt writes:

    Horrible! He was not an innocent baby nor are they.. their past is filled with the same behavior. I saw a video of him in back of apartments with some of his thugs he was beating a young man..was sickening.. he got his karma. he strong armed that poor man who owned the market. he was caught red handed. .

  8. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Facebook Friend Pat LaLama writes:

    Brilliantly stated Diane. Might I add that the “hands up don’t shoot” mantra evolved from this incident based on the “testimony” of a “friend” that Brown had his hands up. Yes we have house cleaning to do in some departments but it’s wrong for all of us- including media to perpetuate a false narrative.

    • Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Baxter Porter VI responds:

      That’s the problem though, Pat LaLama, the departments refuse to purge the “bad apples” from their ranks.
      And even if Michaele Brown didn’t have his hands up (still up for debate IMO since it wasn’t ONLY his friend that said he did), remember the man that was caring for the autistic man who was laying on the ground with his hands up… and was shot anyways? That officer was “afraid for his life” too, I’m sure. So the narrative isn’t false. It happens. Whether we’re running from cops and shot in the back (Walter Scott), pulled over for a broken tail light (Philando Castile/Walter Scott), playing with a toy gun (Tamir Rice) etc: These shootings will not subside until LEO’S who commit them are habitually convicted.

      note: LEO’s = Law Enforcement Officers

  9. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Facebook Friend Dan Klein writes:

    I think two bad behaviors, first was Michael Brown and second the City of Ferguson which (like a lot of towns) have made their police officers into back door tax men. The number one ticket written in Ferguson, at the time of the Brown killing, was jaywalking. That town is so poor that once you got into the spider web of the very unfair criminal justice system it never was going to let you go.

  10. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Facebook Friend Karen McIntyre writes:

    It’s not his father (they aren’t even married), they didn’t raise him–his grandmother did.

  11. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Facebook Friend Geri Coleman Tucker writes:

    Geri Coleman Tucker Rewarded? They lost a son to police who totally overreacted to Brown’s behavior.

  12. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Dave Hocevar replies:

    please read the facts of the DOJ report clearing Officer Wilson.

  13. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Facebook Friend Madeline Michele Hovey writes:

    Well that’s how you look at it I think they deserve it I’ve always thought they deserve it I’ve always thought he was innocent and I’m hoping were able to put our opinions here without getting jumped I am not going to talk bad about Michael Brown he wasn’t there to stick up for herself so I’m glad they got this money

  14. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Facebook Friend Carla Marie Mills writes:

    No one deserves to die like that disappointed in you Diane Dimond

    • Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Facebook Friend Bill Voinovich replies:

      How about the beating officer Wilson got from that thug????
      I’m guessing you probably think THAT was OK??

    • Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Diane Dimond replies to Carla Marie Mills:

      Please understand what I wrote. I never said Michael Brown deserved to die. For goodness sakes! My point was: Brown’s fatally bad behavior (leaning in the patrol car and attempting to grab the officers gun – which we know he did because his blood was found on the console, on the uniform next to where the officers holster was) brought about a series of extremely unfortunate events that ended his life.
      Ask yourself this Carla – honestly ask – Don’t you think if Michael Brown had simply obeyed the officer’s command to get out of the middle of the street he would be alive today? THAT is the point. Do what the officer tells you and if you think its wrong fight it in court later.

  15. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Facebook Friend Debbie Cabrera writes:

    No one also deserves to profit from anyone else’s death either. It’s sad all the way around. If he didn’t put himself in the negative situation in the first place he wouldn’t be where he is today. Shame.

  16. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Facebook Friend Calvin De Mond writes:

    Wow. Seriously? I could not disagree more. You are being totally insensitive to the situation. Sorry but I cannot agree with your take on this. No matter what Brown had done that day that officer had several options available to him other than being judge, jury and executioner. He had to make a split second decision, I get that. Putting his cruiser in reverse should have been his response seeing as the boy was not armed.

    • Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Calvin De Mond Thanks for this thoughtful response. I appreciate it. You should know that I really do try to be sensitive to every crime and justice situation. But common sense in my guide in everything I write in my weekly column. A question, if I may. Do you think young Michael Brown should bear no responsibility in what happened to him? Asked another way: Can you see where his actions sparked this awful tragedy? As I asked someone else (above) if only Brown had just done what the officer said – get out of the middle of the street – do you think he would be alive today?

  17. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Reader Anonymous writes:

    I watched my brother die in a boat crash when he was 22, and the aftermath of what it did to our family and my parents… so I tend to stay hands off of grieving parents; however, it certainly seems that they were more elated with the profits off their sons suicide by cop, than they were with teaching him the values that would have kept his thug-punk ass out of trouble in the 1st place. These people are the leeches of society.

  18. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Facebook Reader Joann Ross writes;

    Tamir’s mother got 6 million.

    • Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Diane Dimond replies: The Tamir Rice case was COMPLETELY different, That poor child was simply out playing in the park when a police officer jumped out of his car and shot within 2 seconds. And – that officer, it turned out, should never have been hired in the first place. Terrible reviews from his previous law enforcement gigs were either ignored and not even read. Ms. Rice deserved every penny of that settlement, IMHO.

  19. Diane Dimond on July 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Linked In Friend Jeanne Tutt writes:

    By paying things off right off the bat like in Ohio, it is in essence saying, we aren’t sure we would win given another chance at trial. There are some that have paid out that the facts were a little more obvious in the other direction and rather than have the department scrutiniZed and previous cases looked at they settle. Then the officer resigns to keep his good standing so he can work elsewhere because if he was fired he couldn’t. Here in Durham, they are getting too well known for officer involved shootings. It is becoming the Detroit of NC.

  20. Diane Dimond on July 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Twitter Follower jerry koblin@jkoblin96 writes:

    You got it right

  21. Diane Dimond on July 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Twitter Follower vertelvickie vertel@vvertel writes:

    I don’t get it either Diane. As much as I hate to say this there is a racist mentality towards black criminals by blacks. Sad.

  22. Diane Dimond on July 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Twitter Follower Estella Vidal@estellaines writes

    Ask CNN, MSM in general and the DNC who had the mothers of all those kids on tv. Propaganda made a victim and a hero out of MB.// Yes! and sadly, he is not the only one

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