A Body in the Street

UnknownDateline: New York Times — Ferguson, Mo. 

AUG. 23, 2014

“Just after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer… For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell.

“Neighbors were horrified by the gruesome scene: Mr. Brown, 18, face down in the middle of the street, blood streaming from his head. They ushered their children into rooms that faced away from Canfield Drive. They called friends and local news stations to tell them what had happened. They posted on Twitter and Facebook and recorded shaky cellphone videos that would soon make their way to the national news.

“[L]ocal officials say that the image of Mr. Brown’s corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America, and left some of the officials asking why.

“’The delay helped fuel the outrage,’ said Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman in Ferguson. ‘It was very disrespectful to the community and the people who live there. It also sent the message from law enforcement that ‘we can do this to you any day, any time, in broad daylight, and there’s nothing you can do about it.’

“Two weeks after Mr. Brown’s death, interviews with law enforcement officials and a review of police logs make clear that a combination of factors, some under police control and some not, contributed to the time lapse in removing his body…

“For part of the time, Mr. Brown’s body lay in the open, allowing people to record it on their cellphones. A white sheet was draped over Mr. Brown’s body, but his feet remained exposed and blood could still be seen. The police later shielded the body with a low, six-panel orange partition typically used for car crashes.

“Experts in policing said there was no standard for how long a body should remain at a scene, but they expressed surprise at how Mr. Brown’s body had been allowed to remain in public view…

For the rest of the story, CLICK HERE.

To view the video “Timeline for a Body,” CLICK HERE.

Here’s some questions for police leaders:

  1. How important do you think it is on a chaotic and emotionally-packed street crime scene as this to respectfully cover the victim’s body?
  2. How soon could this have been done without compromising the crime scene and hindering investigators?
  3. What about beginning a dialogue with the crowd? How soon should that have occurred?
  4. What other actions could be taken at the scene to relieve the anger and tension in the assembled crowd?



  1. I have to share with you and others while i think Ferguson is a good example to raise awareness of workforce diversity, policing crowds, use of specialized equipment and even questionable police procedures, I beleive it is the anomaly in polcing today. There are alot of senseless things you report that are the exception to what we are doing today. Living a body of a deceased person in the middle of a street uncovered for a lenthy period of time is unconscionable. i havent heard of a similar example in my 38 years of policing so excuse me for not spending time talking about this issue. I’d rather dedicate my time to making improvements in my organization and community which improves that intanigble products we call safety, shared trust and confidence to those i serve.

    We have talked before about police leadership and its similarities to the faith based community. None of us what to go to church each week to hear a preacher condemming the 99% who live their lives and serve others in a good way by using the example of one sinner. I want to hear the positive ways other police leaders are working with their communities so i can do the best job in serving and protecting them by working together. /s/ still your friend and disciple in Boise.


    1. I accept what you say. But one set if facts drives me: the impact this has had on the attitude and lack of trust incidents like these generate in the black community! Yes… perhaps a great anomaly but devastating among the ranks of police today because it makes their job not only difficult but dangerous. We can disagree as friends and colleagues! It’s great we are having this discussion.


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