FRANCONIA, Grafton County, New Hampshire — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Wednesday defended her false claim last week that 18-year-old Michael Brown had been “murdered” by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
Speaking to reporters after a town hall event in Franconia, New Hampshire, Warren said that Brown had been unarmed when he was shot “in the middle of the street, by police officers, and left to die.”
The 18-year-old Brown, who was unarmed at the time, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. That much is true.
However, left-wing activists falsely claimed at the time that Brown was innocent of any crime; had been shot in the back; and had put his hands over his head and said, “Don’t shoot!” (hence the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”).
None of those claims turned out to be true — though they were circulated by Democrats and mainstream journalists.
The incident revitalized the “Black Lives Matter” movement, bringing focus to claims of police brutality — but also bringing unrest to many American cities, and prompting police to pull back from fighting crime in black neighborhoods. Race relations, according to Gallup polls, suffered a decline from which they have not recovered.
The U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama, after an extensive investigation, found evidence that Brown had not been murdered, and that he had probably attacked Wilson first, reaching for his gun (and shooting his own thumb during the scuffle). Brown had also been charging Wilson later when the shots were fired.
The Department of Justice concluded that Officer Wilson’s use of force could not be described as “objectively unreasonable.” It added: “Accordingly … it is not appropriate to present this matter to a federal grand jury for indictment, and it should therefore be closed without prosecution. ”
When a local grand jury likewise declined to induct Wilson, a riot ensued, damaging many minority-owned businesses in Ferguson. The neighborhood has struggled ever since.
Warren tweeted last Friday:
5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 9, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), also running for president, made a similar claim in a tweet of her own on Friday. The Washington Post‘s left-leaning fact-checker awarded Warren and Harris’s claim that Brown was murdered “Four Pinnochios.”
In addition, in response to Warren’s tweet, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association wrote a sharply critical letter, arguing, “Your reckless tweet will only serve to create hatred towards Police Officers and place them in danger of more assaults and perhaps death.”
Asked by a reporter for ABC News at a press gaggle after the town hall if she still thought Brown was “murdered,” Warren refused to retract her claim or to apologize:
What happened is that a man was shot — an unarmed man, in the middle of the street, by police officers, and left to die. And I think that’s where our focus should be. It is the fifth anniversary of that occurring, and we need to talk about how to make real change in this country. I have a more comprehensive plan coming out just a little bit later.
Warren, who spoke to a crowd of over 300 in Franconia, is scheduled to continue campaigning in New Hampshire through Wednesday evening.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.