This morning, a black conservative pundit named Kevin Jackson misidentified a police officer who specializes in ethics as the shooter of Michael Brown, the unarmed teen whose death has sparked protests and an unprecedented militarized police response in Ferguson, Missouri.
The police officer’s name was released to the media earlier this morning, and a feeding frenzy began as reporters frantically searched the web for apparently any police officer with the name “Darren Wilson”.
Of course, conservative pundit Kevin Jackson thought he’d hit the jackpot when he discovered a police officer by the name of Darren Wilson is President of the Ethical Society of Police, located in the neighboring city of St. Louis.
Most important to Jackson’s fact-finding mission was the juicy tidbit that Darren Wilson, whose entire career has focused on ethics and correcting disparities in the criminal justice system, is, of course, black. Which apparently Kevin Jackson knew was true about the shooter all along! So he rushed to be the first to get the news out. (Fact checking? Fact finding? Who needs that?) And of course, the conservative echo chamber echoed it.
Several other details should have tipped Kevin Jackson that he was barking up the wrong tree; detailed reports have confirmed that the police officer who shot Michael Brown was a white man with a six year history within the Ferguson police department. Never mind that Police Sergeant Darren R. Wilson is African-American, or that St. Louis is definitely not the same city or police department as Ferguson. Sergeant Darren R. Wilson happens to be an 18 year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department, and heads a nonprofit committed to fixing discrimination and other disparities within the police force. The only thing the two men have in common is a name and the fact that they both carry a badge in the state of Missouri.
Darren R. Wilson took to Facebook to calm rumors and clear his own name.
Meanwhile, Kevin Jackson was shocked to learn that the police shooter was, indeed, a white man, just like all the mainstream media outlets have been reporting for the past several days.
He updated his previous article to state, “We are removing this story, since we are told that this is NOT the same Darren Wilson. Efforts are being made to find the correct Darren Wilson. That said, I still believe this cop is black.”
And less than two hours later, the conservative genius had posted a brand-new “breaking news” item – letting everyone know that the officer was, indeed, white. (And as a black conservative, he’s very, very shocked about this…lolwut?) Just like all the news outlets and the Ferguson police department had confirmed was true all along.