Understanding The Origin Of The Mike Brown Narrative
When we first began digging in to the Mike Brown story something odd was immediately identifiable. The individual witness statements, when compared over time, were case studies in the evolution of self-contradiction.
But why ?
It’s generally a true statement that eye witnesses testimonials can often be unreliable; but the statements of the people hitting the New York media circuit were beyond unreliable – they were contradicting themselves from show to show, often within hours.
A little research into the shooting aftermath and things begin to fall into place.
The primary witnesses used to create what we’ll call ‘the media narrative’ were and are: Dorian Johnson, Piaget Crenshaw, and Tiffany Mitchell.
A few days later Michael Brady surfaced, but Brady didn’t follow the same script – and we’ve discovered why.
To understand the origin of the “Hands Up” tale it helps to have a firm understanding of where each of the players are AT THE MOMENT the shooting took place.
Tiffany Mitchell was arriving to the apartment complex in her car to pick up Piaget Crenshaw for work. Tiffany’s car pulled in as the shooting took place.
Piaget Crenshaw, Tiffany’s friend, was in her apartment.
As Piaget Crenshaw explained, Tiffany had just called Piaget to tell her she had arrived, when Tiffany noticed something happening down the street in front of Piaget’s apartment.
Minutes earlier, according to Michael Brady, Dorian Johnson, Mike Brown’s strong-arm robbery cohort, had taken up a hiding position behind a parked two-door white -or silver- vehicle located on the sidewalk.
Moments later, as Tiffany Mitchell was walking to her friends apartment, Dorian retreated further to the parking lot between where Tiffany’s car and Piaget’s apartment were located.
Witness Michael Brady was in his apartment at the West side of that parking area – originally looking out his window as a consequence of hearing the voices, shouts, and initial scuffle at Wilson’s SUV.
You’ll note all of these people are essentially in the North Western region of the crime scene. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO FURTHER UNDERSTANDING.
The grassy area between the parking spaces for both Mike Brady and and Piaget Crenshaw’s buildings became the gathering place AFTER the shooting. As people who lived in each building began exiting their apartments. It’s a Saturday – and it’s just after noon.
What initially sticks out to an independent observer is that ALL of the New York media witnesses, those who have made the TV circuit, are from this physical area of the incident observation.
Virtually none of the witnesses on the Southside of Canfield Drive have appeared in the news; nor have any of the witnesses East of Piaget Crenshaw’s apartment appeared in the news.
To understand why the Northwestern witnesses were in the media – you need to understand how quickly the scene was initially cordoned off. It’s actually bizarre, interesting, and incredibly simple why things happened as they did.
Crime scene tape stopped people from walking through the crime scene where the body of Michael Brown lay in the street. However, it also stopped people from traveling amid the complex.
Police units arrived within 2 minutes of the shooting.
12:01 – Officer Wilson first encounters Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson
12:04 – First back-up officer arrives on the scene (Brown is dead)
12:05 – A supervisor arrives on scene.
The police immediately begin securing the scene at 12:04/05 less than 3 minutes from the time the shots were fired.
Crime tape is used to cordon off the area.
In essence Mike Brown’s location created an area of non-passage, and the police tape created a grid.
Witnesses were confined to their immediate geography. Moments later, as tensions escalated, those perimeters were even more secured as dozens more police units arrived.
Essentially all of the witnesses became confined or corralled to their physical locations.
The media arrived into the apartment complex following the same path Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson had been walking.
The initial media, and consequently the immediate media footage, all showed perspectives from the North West side of the crime scene looking East down Canfield Drive as seen above.
Coincidentally, this puts the arriving media in EXACTLY the same location as the gathering witnesses – in the Northwest quadrant.
The same area as Tiffany’s car, the same parking lot as Michael Brady and Piaget Crenshaw. The same parking lot where Dorian Johnson ran after the encounter with Officer Darren Wilson.
It was the appearance of Dorian Johnson in the background shots of the first media live feeds that piqued our curiosity. We were researching the location of the principals not expecting to find Dorian Johnson hanging around in the crowd, but there he was.
Yes, Dorian Johnson the strong-arm robbery accomplice, and participant in the incident, was right there in the crowd; from the outset, talking, listening, and watching intently.
As you can see, Dorian had removed his dark colored T-shirt, slung it over his left shoulder, and was standing amid the crowd of observers watching the investigation unfold.
A lucky turn of events for the first media on the scene who initially interviewed him without understanding the full scope of how he related to the events at hand.
Additionally interesting, and vastly self-explanatory, is how Piaget Crenshaw, Tiffany Mitchell, and Dorian Johnson were all in the exact same crowd merely feet away from each other as the “what happened” conversations continued.
Tiffany arrived to pick up Piaget for work. It was at that exact moment when Officer Wilson was pulling the trigger about 150 feet down the street. Tiffany and Piaget were on the phone as Tiffany pulled in to pick her up.
Piaget begins looking out her window, as Tiffany walks up to her apartment. Tiffany joins Piaget and together they look out over the body of Mike Brown from the window and the stairway balcony.
Here is a picture taken from their position looking right (West)
Here is a perspective from their location looking left (East)
They took both pictures and video. You’ll notice there’s no actual video or pictures from Tiffany or Piaget until about 8-10 minutes AFTER the shooting itself as they are documenting the post shooting activity.
However, once the body of Mike Brown was covered both Tiffany and Piaget went into the parking lot where Tiffany’s car was located, but also where the crowd was gathering and discussing what just took place.
For simplicity we shall call this area the “Grassy Knoll”.
Michael Brady was also on the Grassy Knoll area having left his apartment to take phone video footage of the events as they unfolded.
ASSEMBLY COMPLETE – There you have the confluence of witnesses and participants; Dorian Johnson, Tiffany Mitchell, Piaget Crenshaw and Michael Brady, all within moments of the shooting, all within feet of each other. These are the same people who did the New York media circuit.
Tiffany and Piaget not actually having witnessed the actual shooting per se’, but witnessing all of the events immediately after.
Only Michael Brady had witnessed some of the event at the SUV and seconds later some of the event of the shooting scene. The event void for Brady was the time it took him to grab his phone and walk outside to the stairwell balcony.
*Remember according to the CNN shooting audio from beginning to end the fired shots were less than 7 seconds TOTAL:
- Shots 1 through 6 took 1.8729 seconds.
- Pause 2.76 seconds
- Shots 7 through 10 took 1.6273 seconds.
After the shooting, and as the community was gathering, Michael Brady, Dorian Johnson, Tiffany Mitchell and Piaget Crenshaw all ended up on the Grassy Knoll.
In addition some other key people begin to arrive and assemble in the same area. Most notably Mike Brown’s mom, Lesley McSpadden, and her boyfriend, Louis Head.
However, additional “interested parties” had also arrived into this cordoned off Grassy Knoll area.
Calvin Swings, Mike Brown’s uncle arrived – and almost simultaneously so too did the key player who immediately knew how to put all the witness ingredients into just the right formula….
…. enter Mr. Anthony Shahid.
That’s Mr. Shahid, aka “green shirt guy” getting in the face of the riot police. Mr. Shahid likes to wear a mock police captain’s hat:
“The police hat: “I wear the police hat because the police are killing us – and because we need to see more black police leaders.” (link)
This is also Anthony Shahid standing behind Dorian Johnson in the initial media interview:
Anthony Shahid is a severe racial and anti-police antagonist within the Saint Louis community. He is very well known by activists and law enforcement. Mr. Shahid is an avowed friend of the notorious Louis Farrakhan, and also a National Action Network (NAN) friend of MSNBC’s Al Sharpton.
As this article from 2003 gently headlines: “Who’s Afraid of Anthony Shahid? – He’s a hero to some, a pain to others. Either way, he makes people very nervous“:
[…] When they were led to the elevator, Shahid and his friend John Bordeaux came, too. Both men have led civil-rights protests, but Shahid’s a professional agitator, an agitator who makes even his allies reach for water. Bordeaux usually comes off as the reasonable one, shrugging indulgently at his friend’s excesses. An ousted president of the St. Louis NAACP chapter, Bordeaux is also better known. Shahid plays his own game, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks of him.
“We’re going up with the sister,” Kessler remembers Shahid telling the Barnes security guard.
“He made me feel personally uncomfortable,” admits the attorney, “because even after we were getting what we wanted, he kept escalating, whipping it up. I never did figure out what his agenda was. But I can’t say anything bad — (link)
As the famous saying goes: ….And That’s How Things Get Started.
Apparently, with years of activism under his belt Mr. Shahid knows how to find the nucleus in an opportunity – and quick. It was only moments before Shahid, wearing a green shirt -and initially identified in our research as the “green shirt guy”- was quickly working his crowd magic.
As soon as the general script was outlined Dorian Johnson was put in front of the cameras with self-admitted “cop hater and grievance producer”, Anthony Shahid, watching closely.
Johnson is witnessed in this video being held tight by Mike Brown uncle, Calvin Swings.
And watch as community organizer Shahid gives and delivers instructions from the background:
Just off camera, yet within earshot of the audio, Tiffany Mitchell and Piaget Crenshaw were awaiting their turn when, according to Piaget, she was instructed to talk to Lesley McSpadden and confirm to her that it was indeed her son dead at the eastern end of Canfield Drive.
All of the family, and all of the New York media witnesses, and all of the provocateur’s now together on the grassy knoll area.
Overtaken with emotion Big Mike’s mom collapsed in grief and shock (pictured below).
As quick as a jackrabbit, and totally understanding the value of the moment in front of a watching media, Anthony Shahid knew just what to do with the surrounding crowd:
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”
They killed her son in cold blood; Damn punk ass fuckin’ cops…
…. And so a T-Shirt meme was born.
Hands up, don’t shoot. Soon turned into violence, looting, rioting and general mayhem. The exact outcome of the ingredients Anthony Shahid put together on that Grassy Knoll on August 9th.
Once Dorian, Tiffany and Piaget got the ‘Hand’s Up’ message into the New York media narrative, the actual truth, you know, those “pesky facts”, well, they really didn’t matter.
THE OUTLIER – The only character of the Grassy Knoll bunch who didn’t take the initial spotlight was Michael Brady – and there’s a really good reason for that.
Not coincidentally Brady’s interviews tell a far different story than the Knoll bunch.
Brady’s invisibility on the afternoon in question, and his removal from the socially pressuring group think, is also the reason his actual witness phone footage was delayed – and to this day not fully seen.
After originally giving his footage to the investigation team, a few days later they gave it back. It was this “new” footage that piqued the media yet again, and so subsequently Brady was taken on the same media tour Mitchell and Piaget had covered several days earlier.
However, according to Brady’s own words, the footage he has given to the requested media shows a divergent set of facts.
According to Brady, Big Mike Brown was actually witnessed at the vehicle punching officer Wilson. This is what he first witnessed when he looked out the window from his vantage point. Remember, Brady was an actual witness to at least part of the event – Tiffany and Piaget were witnesses to the aspect *AFTER* the shots were fired.
It is not coincidental that none of the New York media alphabets, nor their ideologically aligned cable cohorts, have aired the full Michael Brady footage. Those same media outlets have previously broadcast the post shooting – “non witness” footage from Tiffany and Piaget, and perhaps that explains their reluctance to broadcast anything which would contradict all those hours of viewership.
However, at least one lefty-pundit was willing to go on record and admit the content of the Michael Brady footage itself.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell was man enough to admit the omission on air.
Go to the 03:10 point of this interview and listen:
MSNBC, or any New York national network, would have collapsed the entire “Hand’s Up” narrative if they had aired that video – they know it. In my opinion that’s specifically why they didn’t air it. You’ll notice Michael Brady was the only witness not given the fancy studio media sit down stage setting.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Brady outside his apartment. Likewise Cuomo did his interview “on scene” at the complex and O’Donnell gave him the outside satellite interview.
Michael Brady is the only person from the Grassy Knoll who did NOT sell the Anthony Shahid “Hands Up” storyline.
In the interview above with Anderson Cooper you can see Brady try to avoid having to answer why the other witnesses are laying claim to something he is sure did not take place.
When you witness Brady’s interviews you can tell he’s consciously worried about that fine line between telling the facts honestly, and becoming a victim to the isolation felt as a consequence of going up against the “snitches get stitches” crowd. After all, he does have to live in this community when all the media trucks pack up and move on.
Hey Mike, if you are reading this I make you a promise – if you want someone to honestly air that footage, we’ll do it.
As to the Dorian, Tiffany and Piaget story, and make no doubt whatsoever it’s a story, well, its usefulness has essentially run its course. And, unfortunately, fulfilled its purpose.