WaPo columnist regrets supporting ‘hands up’ mantra


The “mantra of a movement” was a myth.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart penned a mea culpa expressing his regret that he ever supported the “Hands up, don’t shoot” rallying cry — admitting it was “wrong, built on a lie.”

His change of heart came after the Justice Department released a report that “corrected the record” on the shooting of Michael Brown by white cop Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., last August.

“They have also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown,” Capehart writes in the March 16 column.

As the shooting roiled Ferguson, Capehart was one of a chorus of pundits who bought Dorian Johnson’s story that his friend had his hands up when he was shot.

But even though a different DOJ report outlines a history of abuse within the Ferguson Police Department against its mostly African-American citizens, Capehart now believes that Brown was “an inappropriate symbol” of racial strife in the St. Louis suburb.

“Through exhaustive interviews with witnesses, cross-checking their statements with previous statements to authorities and the media, ballistics, DNA evidence and results from three autopsies, the Justice Department was able to present a credible and troubling picture of what happened on Canfield Drive,” he said.

Their findings made him “ill,” Capehart added.

He was finally forced to recognize that evidence and eyewitness accounts didn’t point to the “hands up” narrative Johnson had spun to the media.

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