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article imageFerguson Witness 41 says she taped Brown shooting, trashed phone

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 19, 2014 in Crime
Ferguson - A Ferguson grand jury witness, identified in the records as "Witness 41," said she videotaped the Aug. 9 confrontation between Officer Darren Wilson and teenager Michael Brown on her cell phone, but later, accidentally, dropped the phone into the toilet.
Ferguson grand jury transcripts released by St. Louis prosecutors and posted to the website The Smoking Gun, record that "Witness 41," a Ferguson, Missouri resident, who lives in an apartment complex near the spot on Canfield Drive where Brown was killed, told prosecutors that she videotaped the moment when Officer Wilson shot and killed Brown, who was on his knees with his hands up.
"Witness 41" said she accidentally dropped the cell phone which contained the footage in the toilet and then later trashed it.
Prosecutor Kathi Alizadeh told grand jurors that when prosecutors asked "Witness 41" why she threw the phone away, she said that after dropping it into the toilet "she got so mad [that] she threw it away."
Information about the bizarre testimony by "Witness 41" comes soon after news emerged that "Witness 40" suffered mental health issues and a "history of racism." It also emerged that despite appearing as witness before the Ferguson grand jury, she was not present during the Aug. 9 shooting.
But curiously, when "Witness 41" appeared before the grand jury on Oct. 27, she said nothing about having recorded the Brown shooting on her phone. She later casually dropped the information in a conversation with prosecutors after she and her godson, "Witness 42," who also appeared before the grand jury, were preparing to leave.
According to the transcripts, when prosecutors Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley were saying goodbye to "Witness 41" and her godson, Alizadeh made a comment expressing regret that there were no surveillance cameras at the scene of the killing. "Witness 41" then replied casually, and unexpectedly, that she had recorded the "entire thing on her phone."
Prosecutors must have been shocked to hear the witness drop such vital information as though it was an irrelevant piece of information. Alizadeh said "Witness 41" had never spoken about it to prosecutors and FBI agents who interviewed her soon after the shooting.
But she had told FBI agents during an Aug. 26 interview that she saw Wilson shoot Brown after he had fallen on his knees and raised his arms in surrender. She said Officer Wilson stood over Brown and "just finished him up" by shooting him in the head.
But she did not tell them that she had recorded the incident on her cell phone.
Her godson, "Witness 42," corroborated her story that Wilson shot Brown while he was on his knees with his arms up. He added that Wilson also shot the unarmed youth, "execution style," after he had fallen on his face. He reportedly said, "The officer stood over him and finished him off."
But "Witness 42" later denied some details of his story, saying that from where he stood "I couldn't see physically with my eyes." But when both witnesses appeared before the grand jury, they maintained their claim that Wilson shot Brown after his arms were raised.
Responding to questions from Alizadeh after she revealed that she had videotaped the shooting, "Witness 41" said that the part of the incident captured on her phone was the last moment when, as she claimed, Brown was on his knees with his arms raised. She said Officer Wilson "finished him up," execution-style.
But she told prosecutors "I dropped the phone in the toilet."
According to Alizadeh, when prosecutors told her that forensic experts could still gain access to the information in the phone, she said that "it [the phone] is in the junk yard. She got so mad she threw it away."
"This is information I've never known about," Alizadeh added, and her colleague Whirley agreed.
Interestingly, the information also came as a surprise to the witnesses' godson who also inquired about what happened to the phone. According to Alizadeh, the information "was news to him [the godson] as well."
The prosecutors promptly passed the information to the grand jurors and recommended that the witness be recalled to testify. But for unconfirmed reasons she never returned to testify.
Questions are now being raised about the credibility of "Witness 41." The fact that she told grand jurors that she had been diagnosed with mental health problems, specifically "mood swings," and that she was currently taking medications for them is being cited to impugn her credibility.
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