Michael Brown Shooting

Fox News Commentator Suggests Michael Brown Was High on PCP When He Was Killed


Fox News

Today Fox News commentator (and occasional Reason contributor) Jim Pinkerton speculated that Michael Brown may have been on PCP when Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot him dead on August 9. "Eyewitnesses said that Brown was charging the cops," Pinkerton said on Fox's Happening Now show. "Ask a Secret Service agent what would happen if an individual who's six foot-four, 290 pounds, went charging anywhere near the direction of the president. I suspect they'd put a lot more than six bullets in him….We'll know more with a blood test. If he was high on some drug, angel dust or PCP or something…it's entirely possible you could take a lot more than six bullets and keep charging." In other words, if Brown was high on PCP, firing just six rounds into him would be a mark of restraint.

It should be noted that witnesses disagree about whether Brown was moving toward Wilson when the fatal shots were fired. Another point Pinkerton overlooks: Angel dust and PCP are the same thing. By either name, the drug does not live up to its fearsome reputation. While its anesthetic effects might help someone endure pain that would otherwise be disabling, PCP is not a magical potion that allows people to survive "a lot more than six bullets," especially if any happen to strike the head, the heart, or a major blood vessel.

The New York Times, 1914

In any case, Pinkerton has no evidence whatsoever to support his suggestion that Brown was under the influence of PCP. His reckless speculation to that effect is especially regrettable because this sort of pseudoscientific explanation has a long and shameful history in this country, going back to the "cocainized Negroes" whose fearlessness, aggressiveness, and superhuman strength supposedly forced Southern sheriffs to start using larger-caliber guns.

The theme of drug-crazed black men has been periodically revived since then. In the 1980s people worried about irrationally violent crackheads, although the vast majority of "crack-related homicides" actually grew out of black-market disputes. The Los Angeles cops who beat Rodney King in 1992 justified the assault partly by arguing that his behavior suggested he was high on PCP, which everyone knows gives you "Hulk-like strength." King tested negative for the drug that supposedly made him act the way he did. So did Rudy Eugene, a.k.a. the Miami Cannibal, whose horrific 2012 assault on Ronald Poppo was widely (and wrongly) ascribed to "bath salts."

The message of these false narratives is pretty clear: Illegal drugs are scary, especially when mixed with the blood of African-American men. Commentators should think twice before reviving this ugly stereotype in an attempt to exculpate police for killing an unarmed black teenager.

Addendum: The Washington Post, citing an unnamed source, reports that "Brown had marijuana in his system when he was shot." It's not clear whether that means he was actually under the influence at the time, which would depend on the level of THC in his blood. In any case, I am not sure whether Pinkerton would want to claim that pot made Brown a menace, although there is precedent for that too. 

[via Media Matters for America]

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  1. Fox news is the best comedy channel.

    1. Yeah, that’s why I always get my news from ABC, NBC and CBS.

      Those three, which are really, really distinct from one another, have been my news source for over 50 years.

      I still long for Walter Cronkite deciding what’s important for me to know.

      1. YOU ?. YOU are too, too good. I’m LMAO as I read your humor. Keep up the good work. Walter really knew how to bring out only what we needed to know, didn’t he?

  2. Prove he wasn’t on drugs! Prove it!

    1. Cut his mike!

  3. “He was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and wouldn’t feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?”

    1. Episarch listen, and understand. That big black guy high on pcp is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

  4. Wow a talking head in the millionth hour of news coverage, said something incredibly unsustainable on a tv show designed to bring in ratings? Color me shocked.

    1. *unsubstantial

  5. Oh good god.

  6. Lieutenant Traxler: This is what they call body armor. Our tac guys wear these. It can stop a 12-gauge round. This other individual must have been wearing one under his coat. Feel that. Go ahead.
    Sarah Connor: [She is handed the vest and she feels it] What about when he punched through the wind shield?
    Detective Vukovich: He was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and wouldn’t feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?



  7. Pinkerton was actually referring to the mostly forgotten Warner Bros. cartoon character “Peace E. Pee”, a manic horny-toad with superbufo strength.

  8. I’m about to go see an endodontist to have my gums lacerated and drained since my face has swollen up and I look like a stroke patient when trying to smile.

    Maybe I’ll score some PCP on my way home.

  9. Brown had THC in his system according to “a source”, whatever that means.

    1. Automatic Death Sentence – retroactive too.

    2. He was lookin for da white womyn.

    3. I watched the remastered Star Wars editions and had THX in my system for hours.

  10. ‘Negro Cocaine Fiends’: all the news that’s fit to print. Start drumming up support for more eugenics, O proud Grey Lady!

  11. The toxicology report will trump anything the ballistics report comes up with. It is well known that people who have PCP or THC or an other proscribed substance have superhuman powers. They can do shit ike charge cops running backwards (hence he bullets in the back) or heckling cops with words that actually become real bullets.
    I’ve seen credible reenactments of thison important TV shows in the 70s like Quincy and Emergency!

    1. If we’re talking about the same case, all bullets struck from the front of the body. But I have no doubt the ‘shot in the back’ meme will live on forever. It just fits so much better than the facts.

      1. You beat me to it. Even the independent ME said that the wound to the top of the head would be just as consistent with the victim running at the cop as it would be if the victim were on his knees.

        None of this excuses the “he wuz on da drugz” justification/speculation but it seems there’s more than a fair amount of people reflexively jumping on the “copz shootz da blecks in da back” speculation as well.

        1. Gangstas always wear their pants backwards so you never know which way they’re facing.

  12. OT: Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the stupidest article on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever written: Gaza’s zoo animals caught in crossfire of Israel-Hamas conflict

    1. I only had to see it was CNN to believe you that it was the stupidest, ever. How many apocalypse is nigh global warming commercials, I wonder, would one have had to sit through to watch that live report?

    2. I’m surprised Hamas didn’t already kill all of them for being demons and agents of deh joooos

    3. War Raging: Terror Campaign Continues
      ‘Mandrills, Ostriches, Among Worst Affected’

  13. He was obviously on the bath salts, which turn you into a face-eating zombie. This is why he kept coming after being shot. Fortunately his training kicked in and he remembered to shoot them in the head.

  14. Michael Brown may have been on PCP

    Well, then there was no choice but to gun him down, since everyone knows that drugs make guys super strong, I mean they become like one of those freak super heroes on the teevee!, a guy high on drugs can literally pick up an entire cop car, full of cops! And hurl it like a hundred feet in the air! This happens all of the time!

    1. I haven’t snorted gamma rays since college…

      1. I know I’m way late, Catatafish, but that was damn funny.

  15. Fox News used to be a “fair and balanced” alternative to left-leaning media. Now it’s more relentlessly propagandistic than its competitors, CNN or even Al-Jazeera America. Orwellian fascism is no better than Orwellian communism. What Fox News does not report is at least as important as what it reports with agenda.

    1. Oh yeah, then why is that Bill O’Reilly the biggest hero of you libertarians, huh? Him and Bush and that Santorum guy that you all voted for.

      1. Ha, good one, Hyper.

      2. You left out Glenn Beck, our Ideological High Priest

        1. I think Michael Savage deserves some consideration.

    2. To search for an unbiased new source is folly. There is no such animal. Instead, gather your news from various sources and perform data triangulation. The closest approximation to truth can be found in where the evidence converges.

      1. Or you can just save yourself all that effort and just read The Economist

      2. I get all my news from the AM Links…

    3. Sure, Fox leans to the right, along with 40% of the country. On the topics that I have some expertise in, I find them no more biased than ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, the New York Times and the vast majority of the institutional press that are biased to the left. On Fox, I find that both sides of the argument are usually presented, even if one is favored. The rest of the institutional press sometimes leaves out one side of the argument altogether, or presents it as evil and crazy. If you turn off Fox and never hear a contrary opinion, won’t you cease to understand the perspective of nearly half the country over time?

      Fox News is far from perfect but on a given topic, I can reasonably expect them to make an attempt to present more than one side of the issue at hand. I read all sides of the political spectrum, and the NYT has become the worst of all. The “newspaper of record” simply leaves out giant parts of a story in order to push its agenda. And this is very common on the left / liberal side – stories are chosen to fit the narrative, and then the stories are further slanted to fit the narrative.

    4. JNS, is that really you? I enjoyed “Alongside Night” but haven’t read it when it first came out. Looking forward to seeing the movie version.

    5. I don’t think that a commenter speculating about a news event counts as propaganda, relentless or otherwise.

  16. Today Fox News commentator (and occasional Reason contributor) Jim Pinkerton speculated that Michael Brown may have been on PCP when Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot him dead on August 9.

    And I think the cop that killed brown was experiencing a psychotic break caused by his habitual use of steroids combined with excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar.

    Prove me wrong.

    1. I think both of them were probably repressing a lot of homosexual impulses too

      never hurts to add that.

  17. I think we should add “Reductio ad Angeli Pulvis” to the list of commonly-resorted-to-fallacies

    ‘The notion that any gaps in our knowledge of a situation can be explained by assuming that at least one (or many) of the participants involved had consumed excessive amounts of Phenylcyclohexyl Piperidine, or ‘angel dust’.’

    That said, i think it is in fact the most likely explanation for some things. Such as Ryan J Reilly confusing ‘earplugs’ for ‘rubber bullets’. Or most of what Susan Rice says.

  18. Dude seems to know what deal it is.


  19. So it turns out he was on pot, just like that face eating cannibal in Missouri.

    1. Er, Miami

  20. Fox is trying to blame drugs instead of the thug? Damn Fox News, always trying to absolve the criminals of guilt!

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