Eric Holder and Ferguson- Part 2

Kendall Coffey on Eric Holder and Ferguson

Eric Holder and Ferguson- Steve Malzberg and Kendall Coffey Spinning the Law 8/21/14

Part 2

Read Part 1 here:


Steve Malzberg: Those are all great points. And the scariest I guess is the high expectations because if an indictment is not handed down then I don’t want to see what militarization the police might have to pull out once again.

Kendall Coffey: Yeah, and I don’t think the Attorney General tends to stack the deck, I’m sure he telling his prosecutors and his FBI agents: be objective.

Steve Malzberg: The young man, who’s name escapes me, Darien Johnson I think, he was in the store with Michael Brown when the robbery occurred, or as Al Sharpton defined it, “shoplifting, it’s not robbery, it’s shoplifting.” By the way, he’s wrong about that isn’t he? The police called it strong armed robbery, yet he said, let’s be real it’s shoplifting. Is there a legal difference there?

Kendall Coffey: Yeah. Shoplifting involves theft when there’s no confrontation at all, you walk into a store when nobody’s looking, you grab stuff, you walk out.

Steve Malzberg: Yeah.

Kendall Coffey: That’s shoplifting.

Steve Malzberg: We saw a confrontation.

Kendall Coffey: Robbery means that you take from another person by varying degrees of coercion or force. Obviously we’ve all heard about armed robbery, that means that the theft is accomplished by pointing some kind of weapon at the victim of the thievery. So there is a difference.

Steve Malzberg: So we saw the Michael Brown video where he pushed on a couple of occasions the store owner who went after him, so I assume that’s more like robbery than shoplifting. Correct?

Kendall Coffey: Well I think that police, if there’s a physical confrontation, that’s part of the theft, police would be more likely to charge that as a form of robbery.

Steve Malzberg: Yeah, as they have. And I got sidetracked. I sidetracked myself so I lost my train of thought on where I was going with that. But I had Jesse Jackson on the show and I gave the cop’s side of the story and I said, what if the cop’s door was pushed on him and he was punched, and they grabbed for his gun and went off and the guy runs and then he starts coming back and starts charging at the cop and the guy fires until the guy stops because he thought that “he hit me once, he dazed me a little, I’m in fear for my life.” First he accused me of giving a worst case scenario, and then I said, but if it were true, are there any circumstances under which the cop would be justified in shooting Michael Brown? And he said no. Now that is, legally and ridiculously wrong, correct?

Kendall Coffey: Well, it was described as a worst-case scenario, in actuality that’s the narrative of Officer Wilson as I understand.

Steve Malzberg: Right.