“Demon”

Fraught and loaded with meaning, Darren Wilson told the St. Louis County grand jury that during his scuffle with Michael Brown, the 18 year old Brown looked “angry”, like a “demon.”

This is a classic case of a statement that people on both sides will see through profoundly different lights. For Wilson’s supporters, it’s Wilson’s confirmation that Brown was a thug, an out of control violent malefactor. For Brown supporters, there’s little more graphic evidence of the dehumanization that lead to Brown’s killing.

What is striking about Wilson’s testimony is the almost infantilized way he talks about himself. At one he describes himself as feeling “small” as he grappled with Brown. At another point he describes himself as “like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

At a simple level, he’s justifying himself before the grand jury and in some sense arguing for his freedom. So a level of hyperbole and drama is expected. But these are very loaded words, Wilson portrays himself as almost literally in the hands of a monster and in a fight for his life.

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