Michael Brown witnesses feared telling truth: ‘Snitches get stiches’

Michael Brown witnesses feared telling truth: ‘Snitches get stiches’

Several expressed concern for their safety should they choose to contradict that narrative publicly. As one witness noted, there were signs in the neighborhood reading “snitches get stitches.”

The fear experienced by witnesses to the incident is a constant refrain in the DOJ report. Witness 102 (numbers are used to identify the witnesses rather than names) is described as a “27-year-old bi-racial male.” The report describes why witness 102 left the scene a few minutes after the shooting:

Witness 102 did not stay on Canfield Drive long after the shooting, but rather started to leave the area after about five minutes because he felt uncomfortable. According to Witness 102, crowds of people had begun to gather, wrongly claiming the police shot Brown for no reason and that he had his hands up in surrender. Two black women approached Witness 102, mobile phones set to record, asking him to recount what he had witnessed. Witness 102 responded that they would not like what he had to say. The women responded with racial slurs, calling him names like “white motherfucker.”

Witness 102 eventually presented himself to authorities because he was worried “witnesses would not come forward to tell the truth in this case because of community pressure.” The nature of that community pressure is made clear in the remainder of the report. Witness 103—a 58-year-old black male—”expressed concerns because there were signs in the neighborhood of Canfield Drive stating, “snitches get stitches.”

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