“This is what due process looks like: it is messy, it can be long and it can be frustrating.”
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown.
AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, File
America's biggest law enforcement organization was girding itself for a legal battle last month just in case a grand jury indicted Darren Wilson.
When the grand jury ultimately cleared Wilson on Nov. 24 — opting not to charge him for killing Michael Brown — the Fraternal Order of Police released a statement saying the decision brought “a sense of relief and a hope that this community can begin to heal from its wounds.”
But archived documents found on the organization's website show that it was preparing for an indictment too. The documents are a collection of four undated news releases the Order apparently prepared before the decision was announced. Two of those discuss an indictment.
Fraternal Order of Police / Via fop.net
Both documents describe the (ultimately nonexistent) indictment as a result of due process, with one stating that “while the FOP at every level disagrees with the decision of the grand jury, we respect it.”
The second release then offers a glimpse into what the Order was preparing to do next: “Officer Wilson is innocent until proven guilty and we will continue to defend and support him as he fights these charges.”
The Fraternal Order of Police didn't respond Wednesday evening to BuzzFeed News' request for more information about its potential strategy. However, there has been an apparent financial connection between Wilson's defense efforts and the Order since August, when one of the earliest GoFundMe pages set up for Wilson shared an address with the Order's local lodge.
The release later calls Brown's death a tragedy.
“It is a tragedy that the officer and the Brown family will struggle with for the rest of their lives,” [FOP President Chuck] Canterbury said. “But anger is not the solution. Angry people can't fix things or heal. So I hope that we can all take a deep breath and let the justice system work.”
It concludes that the Order believed Wilson would be “cleared of the charges made against him today.”