Was Michael Brown High on Marijuana, and Did It Matter?

Citing an anonymous “person familiar with the [St. Louis] county’s investigation,” the Washington Post reports Michael Brown “had marijuana in his system when he was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson,” Missouri.

Leftist David Sirota persuasively argues for the International Business Times that there’s no good reason to think marijuana contributes to violent behavior overall.

More concerning to me is that Brown apparently robbed a market just ten minutes before he was shot. Maybe consuming marijuana doesn’t make a person aggressively agitated, but robbing a store and assaulting its employees (as Brown apparently did) almost certainly does. And flashing gang signs is also probably associated with aggressive violence. The Christian Science Monitor points to a report by Pat Dollard with images showing Brown apparently flashing gang signs. (That doesn’t mean he was active in a gang, of course.)

As far as I can tell, there simply is not sufficient evidence (and there may never be sufficient evidence) to determine whether the officer who shot Brown was justified in doing so. What is clear is that Brown was no angel. Of course, the police have a responsibility to protect the rights of everyone, not just angels.

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