Aaron Hernandez Cocky Body Language and Smiles in the Courtroom Will Turn Off Jurors

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 10.42.40 AM Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is on trial  in a Massachusetts courtroom for  the murder of his fiance’s sister Odin Lloyd. . While  prosecutors their case  case that he killed another man.

While he has a serious facial expression as he appears to listen carefully to the evidence against him displayed on the monitors, he often laughs and jokes with his fiance or with his family members when they are present.In fact, he appears very charming and beams his dimpled smile.

He has been reported to have a swagger when he walks as well and a cocky demeanor as he sits in his seat.

What he doesn’t realize is that his body language and facial language will be working against him.Jurys as well as judges  don’t like seeing happy or cocky people when they are on trial for murder. So this may very well influence how the jury voices as well as his sentencing.

Jodi Arias Allowed to Live As Travis Alexander’s Death Teaches Us About Trusting Our Instincts When We Realize Someone Is Toxic

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The verdict is out and  Jodi Arias will not die by lethal injection, nor by any other means, after slaughtering her ex boyfriend Travis Alexander. Even though 11 of the 12 jurors felt that death would be the right punishment for her, there was one lone juror who refused to commit to having Jodi put to death.

As someone who does jury selection and trial consulting for a living, you can never ultimately predict  what will happen in a real trial. Even if you ask jurors who are serving on a death penalty case if they could in fact choose death as one of their choices and they answer “yes”, when push comes to shove and they have to make the decision as to whether someone lives or dies, many cannot choose death after all..

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When the judge told the jury that they had to decide on an outcome after four days of deliberation, I knew that Jodi would most likely  not be put to death. Now she has to await the judges decision, which will occur in April,  as to whether she will spend life behind bars without parole or life with parole after two and a half decades when she will be in her mid fifties as you can see by this art rendering of her aging.

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Whether or not she gets life or life without parole, there will be times at the harsh Perryville Prison  where Jodi will be baking in the scorching Arizona sun, in an open air cage, that she may very well have wished she received the death penalty when the other prisoners make her life a living hell.

The bottom line is that Jodi will be living under harsh conditions where she may spend most of her time in isolation in order to protect her from other prisoners  because she is such a high profile case. This could be the worst torture of all for Jodi Arias who thrives on attention and manipulation of others. If there is no one to manipulate or to give Jodi, her attention fix, life for her may not be worth living.

In any event, one does not have to be killed to receive just punishment as Jodi will soon discover in her new home.

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One of the most anguishing sites at the trial was seeing Travis’ sister, who loved her brother so much, break down and cry in such pain. She was inconsolable, while  Jodi  was at the other end of the courtroom showing no compassion and no emotion as you can see below. Perhaps she was in shock. Perhaps she had expected to receive the death penalty.

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One of the things that jurors said after the trial was that  throughout the trial, Jodi showed no remorse for what she did to Travis. This was not surprising to me. The bottom line is that Jodi actually believed that she was was a woman scorned. In  her warped thinking,  she no doubt felt that Travis got what he deserved. That is why she showed no remorse and no genuine emotion. She did not feel sorry for what she did to him. She felt that he abused her and used her and he had what was coming to him.

While almost all of the jurors felt the opposite, there was one juror who obviously thought along the lines as Jodi. She too, felt that Travis abused her and used her.

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While so many people remarked that Travis was a wonderful guy, truth be told, he was full of contradictions. He wanted to follow his faith and not engage in sex before marriage, yet he continued to engag in sex with Jodi. He told Jodi she was not the woman for him and wanted to find a pure Mormon wife, yet he continued to engage in sex with Jodi. He told Jodi to leave him alone and not stalk him, but yet continued to allow her into his life and into his bed. He allowed her to clean his home. He allowed her into his life, instead of calling the police and getting a restraining order against her and being vigilant about her ever being in his presence.

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When Travis first met Jodi he was taken with her. he thought she was beautiful, glamorous and super sweet. But her sickeningly sweet tones belied her. They reflected a great deal of psychopathology. As Travis got to know Jodi, he realized there was something very wrong with this woman. Yet, he continued to take her to bed and have sex with her. He continued to travel with her.

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He  eerily voiced his concern about Jodi being a serial killer to many of his friends. Even his friends picked up on the fact that there was something off about Jodi as they asked in disbelief, if she was always that “sweet”. It was that sickening sweetness that didn’t ring true to either Travis or his friends.

But being the nice guy that he was and wanting adventure as well as ” having his cake and eating it too”, he ignored his instincts. He ignored what he saw and what he heard out of Jodi’s mouth. He ignored her tones and her actions.He ignored his own gut level reactions that he shared with friends, and unfortunately,  he ignored the action he need to take. That action was to stay completely away from Jodi and never allow her  back into his life under any circumstances. He needed to cut off the phone calls and the visits for good.

His lack of listening to  and trusting his initial instincts about Jodi and acting upon them,  tragically  cost him his life. I am in no way blaming the victim – blaming Travis. Instead, I am pointing out how his death can serve as an example to all of us and to our children. If we see and hear and feel something is not right about another person, we must cut it off asap and never look back.

When the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, when you feel queasy or nauseated around the person, when you have a tinge of fear around them- run as fast as your feet will carry you and never look back.

And remember to never trust anyone with a high pitched baby girl sickeningly sweet breathy, monotone,  voice quality devoid of demotion. This voice often reflects a passive aggressive personality. Their voice indicates that they are hiding something and not revealing their true selves.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. There is alway a  “cause” and and an “effect”. The “cause” of Travis engaging in sex with Jodi and then taking a shower to get ready to take another woman out of town created the “effect” of  having a very disturbed woman  brutally murder him.  The cause of his not listening to and trusting and acting on his negative  instincts about  Jodi, created the tragic effect of him leaving the earth way too soon.

Travis did not die in vain. His death teaches us  that we all to pay close attention to that gut level feeling that tells us something is wrong with being around a specific person. If you are around someone where you even joke about them being a serial killer, get away from them as soon as possible. Your instincts are screaming that something is wrong.  Had Travis listened to his gut and trusted his instincts and never allowed Jodi  into his life again, he would probably be alive today.   May he rest in peace and may Jodi be held accountable  and deal with the effects that her actions caused for the rest of her natural life.

Netanyahu Passionate Powerful Body Language and Voice During Moving Speech Before Congress

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.50.57 AM  No matter what your political opinion is, no one can deny the passion and expression that came out of Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke  in a vibrant and clear tone that  made things understandable to everyone. In delivering his message, he  made it  very clear  in terms of the consequences of  Iran and nuclear arms.

No one could have relayed the message in front of Congress better in his flawless American Accent than Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The message was loud and clear and highly emotional as he spoke with respect and appreciation in terms of how Obama  and America has helped Israel as he relayed the message of  message” peace  that we all desire”

Netanyau’s outstanding vocal cadance  moved people and got them to their feet as he spoke about not allowing “dark and murderous regimes” to succeed.

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Perhaps the most powerful and emotional message which brought everything home and gave things a concrete and realistic perspective was when Netanyahu introduced Elie Weissel,  Holocaust survivor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. When Netanyahu said “is life and survival is what  inspires us to give meaning to the words NEVER AGAIN” there was an eruption of clapping as he urged leaders to not repeat the past.

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When Netanyahu said “The days are over when we remain passive in genocidal ” atrocities there was a  loud roar from the crowd as he said ”  We the Jewish people can defend ourself, even if it has to stand alone it will stand.”  He then said    human spirit  refuses to succum to histories  of horrors. He then said that Israel doesn’t have to stand alone as  America is standing with Israel,” which  resulted in loud applause and whops of agreement.

His quote of Moses in Hebrew was very moving as well. As she ended his speech he said ” Be strong and resolute never fear nor dread them  May be face futre with confidence faith and hope  May GOD BLESS ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.52.13 AMThis made the audience rise to their feet and continue clapping continuously for two minutes. Netanyahu’s body language and facial expression showed that he was visibly moved by the support as he raised his hand to wave it to the audience who rose to their feet.

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As he walked off the podium and walked through the chamber, he was met with handshakes, pats on the back as the crowd continued clapping for him as they reacted positively to the impact Netanyahu had.

In my view Netanyahu needed to address Congress.  America and the  world needed to hear what he had to say as it was essential for the peace process that he be heard. He was respectful and did not say anything negative against Obama. He relayed his message with passion and an urgency with regard to not repeating the past.

Body Language Shows All Is Not Forgiven with John Travolta and Irena Menzel

At last years Oscars John Travolta messed up big time as he misread the teleprompter calling Idina Menzel Adele Dazeem as he introduced her before she sang. Perhaps it indicated a problem with dyslexia he may have been hiding or perhaps it indicated that he didn’t prepare or rehearse enough. The press let him have it. So this year  to add some humor to the Oscar presentations Irina introduced John and her good friend Glom Gozingo as they were to present the award for best song.

But truth be told, Travolta was highly embarrassed by this and in order to compensate grabbed Idina Menzel’s chin which made her cringe, look down  and turn away from him .

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The chin grab was for him to regain control over the situation as he sang her praises. But she was having none of it body language wise.

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When he first came on stage he got too close for comfort to Idina whom you can see is pulling away from him. She is also not too thrilled about being with him as you can see the muscle tension in her body and her hand automatically balls up in a fist ike position indicating inner anger at the situation she has been placed in.

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As he grabbed her chin she tried to make light of it at first as she felt very uncomfortable and turned her body away from him. She decided to clap to make it seem that things were Ok but deep down they were not OK.

It seems like he grabbed and held on to her chin as a pre gesture of wanting to kiss her but she was having none of it. In essence his gesture backfired on him as he continued to hold on to her chin.

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Everyone noticed how awkward this was so now doubt his handlers quickly got him on Jimmy Kimmel Live in order to  diffuse the situation and to make a joke out of it. But in reality it was no joke. It was about a once very popular actor who made a huge embarrassing mistake by calling a fellow performer by a wrong name and then trying to rectify the situation by allowing his name to be called with a wrong name. But John Travolta was too embarrassed by this as well so he tried to take control over the situation and Irina and it backfired once again.

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He also appeared to be very touchy feely with other guests like Scarlett Johanssen as you can see. She did not welcome his kiss nor his hand on her abdomen which is a very intimate gesture.

All of this shows that John as an aging actor still wants to be relevant, but it  is not working.

Michelle Obama Body Language Shows She’s Disgusted By Saudis and Lack of Head Scarf Makes A Loud Statement

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Michelle Obama’s body language clearly shows that she is no fan of the Saudis. For one, she refused to wear a head scarf during the visit. This apparently upset Saudi’s and other Muslims throughout the world as was reported in the press. While one could think that she may have made a mistake or breached social protocol because she wasn’t aware of the customs this was clearly not the case.  .

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In 2010 when she visited Indonesia, she respectfully donned a head  scarf for her visit. So she clearly knows the rules and the drill in Muslim countries. But this time she decided that she didn’t want to show respect for the Saudi’s as she went bare headed.Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 7.26.39 PMWhile she may consider herself very special  on American soil where she gets a lot of attention,  on Saudi land hardly anyone  shook her hand or even spoke to her.  This clearly disturbed her as you can see from her soured look and her angrily grabbing on to her own wrist with a fist-like handf. This clealrly showed that Michelle was angry.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 7.26.12 PMShe hated being in the  background  in this very patriarchal society and detested  not acknowledged. Here we see her looking at her husband getting all the attention while she is essentially ignored.

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Her angry faced expressions continued throughout the visit as she could not hide her contempt.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 7.17.27 PMShe was clearly upset and angry as you can see by the protrusion of her lower jaw and her forcefully bracing herself by pressing her one hand over the other in front of her private area. What this pose says is that she is not only angry but feeling extremely vulnerable in this country where women don’t seem to matter – not even a visiting First Lady from the United States of America.

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Her angry and disgusted looks continued throughout the visit as you can see. On the one hand, as a Western woman who can blame Michelle for her feelings where women are not allowed to drive, have no independence and need the permission of a male relative (husband, grandfather, father,  uncle, brother, or son) to do anything. There is no such thing as women walking alone  on the street at their own free will. Women can only go to women doctors and study in classes where there are only women.Women have little or no value except to marry and have children. If their husband wants to take multiple wives, they have no say. They also cannot initiate a divorce and their husband. However their husband can get rid of them just by uttering that they are divorcing their wife. There is no such thing as alimony and if the husband is Toxic or heartless he can render her homeless and penniless.

But from the view of being First Lady and accompanying her husband on a good will trip to meet and greet and the new King Solomon, many believe Michelle did not act correctly. They believe that she should have donned a head scarf and should not have worn pants but a long dress instead. This visit was not about Michele, It was about trying to make friends with the new leader. Clearly, there was no winning friends or influencing anyone via Michelle’s actions. In fact many took this as a personal insult or slap in the face.

From my view I believe that one must respect the cultures of others when you are on their territory. I myself have even donned a head scarf when I have lectured in certain countries where the head scarf was expected to be worn by women. Even though I was a Westerner I thought it was more respectful if I wore one and it was very well received and much appreciated. It showed that I respected their culture.

Michelle’s body language can be translated  by many as reported in the  press as to her being defiant and arrogant. There was no question that she was angry and disgusted. There was also no question that her presence and actions were not very diplomatic.

Tom Brady’s Body Language Shows Multiple Signals of Deception

Is Tom Bray a liar?

Here are some signals of deception which I observed during his press conference in response to the  crucial questions he was asked.

1. Smiling when asked if he’s a cheater  Hiis reponse is ” I don’t think so” Someone who would be asked if they were a cheater would not usually be smiling  if they were not a cheater as they would be angry about the accusation and reflect their anger in their facial expression.

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2. Shoulder Shrugs

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3. Gestures using back of his hand instead of palm of hand

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4. Rocks back and forth

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5.  He often  swallows hard a licks his lips and shows “cotton mouth”

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6. Scratches his head

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7. Repeats words and phrases  and often stammers

8.Blinks eyes rapidly,

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9. Shakes head no when he should be nodding it yes, especially seen when he is  talking about fair play.

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10. Dies off at the end of sentences where he can barely be heard,

11. Breathing changes as he  suddenly goes to upper chest breathing,

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12. Says “you know” often

13. Tension in midface  (nasal area) when saying he doesnt know what happened

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14. Lots of duping delight (inapproriate smiling) when talking about balls being touched and in other answers

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15. Lip pursing
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In my view he showed multiple signals of tension and deception during the press conference which disturbed me. if someone was not showing these signals they would have spoken with more gravitas and would have shown different facial and body language and speech and voice characteristics.

Did Officer Darren Wilson’s Vocal Tone and Words Inflame Anger and Actions of Michael Brown Causing His Fatal Shooting?

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Before I begin I want to state that I have no agenda here and I am not taking sides. This post has no racial or political undertones. As a body language expert and communication expert, I pose questions which in my view, may give us some insight as to another underlying factor  that has not yet been discussed in the press until this blog post.

We all know that The Grand Jury has spoken after scrutinizing the evidence which lead to Michael Brown being shot and killed by Officer Wilson and Officer Wilson not being charged with murder or manslaughter.

In  reporting my observations about Officer Darren Wilson’s body language and tone of voice and speech content and facial language  during the ABC interview , I found it to be as  disturbing as when I watched Michael Brown’s body language in the surveillance video.

In examining Officer Wilson’s account of the events, he did appear to be telling the truth about what happened as I did not see any outward signals of deception. However, I was particularly struck by Officer Wilson’s  robotic and monotone vocal tone and command  terms  when relaying the exact words he used to Michael Brown. Thus, it  made me question  if Wilson’s tone and words may have possibly been a contributing factor to this disaster.

 

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As we all saw on the video, Michael Brown robbed a store where he took some cigarillos. Brown then bullied and roughed up the store clerk as we can see in the screen shot above, leaving the clerk with a fearful body language. . While I have all the sympathy in the world for Michael Brown’s mother in losing a son, after her public comment that her son  would never do anything wrong, she needs to carefully examine the video with regard to her son’s entitled and bullying behavior. That said, many  teens have robbed and bullied and have not been shot dead.

No doubt when Michael Brown left the store feeling empowered that he was able to intimidate the clerk just by his size and  get away with taking whatever he wanted. Most likely, as Brown walked in the middle of street,  which was reported, he may have continued that feeling of empowerment and entitlement, especially when Officer Wilson approached him.

Reports say that when Officer Wilson saw him and a friend walking in the middle of the street. Wilson said he told Michael Brown to “get out of the middle of the street”.  But the question here is,  how did Officer Wilson tell Michael Brown to get out of the  middle of the street? What tones did he use and what exact words did Officer Wilson say to Brown?

The reason I bring this up is that even though Darren Wilson was doing his job as he repeatedly said, I wonder if perhaps it may have been Wilson’s tone or  the specific words he used that helped spark the fire that ignited an already entitled and empowered Michael Brown’s anger, which in turn escalated to the event that lead to Brown’s being shot to death.

Research has shown that the tone of a person’s voice and the words they use can either inflame or diffuse a situation. This is one of the things I continuously emphasize in my lectures to Police Departments across the country on body language and communication skills. Sometimes a simple “Please” before a command can change an entire attitude for all parties involved. Oftentimes a “please” doesn’t make the request sound like a threat. Perhaps Brown interpreted the command as a hostile threat and reacted as he did. So often things can escalate and get out of hand due to tones and words.

As a side note, throughout the years,  the Beverly Hills Police Department has been very aware of this very factor. One of the things that has been observed by many who have been stopped by a BHPD officer is that they are conscious of being very respectful and polite when they engage a person. In fact a friend of mine who is a retired Beverly Hills officer shared  with me that being respectful and polite was always drummed into all the officers.

In the Ferguson Police situation,  If Brown did attack Officer Wilson, Brown’s judgment was clearly impaired at that moment as any 17 or 18 year old high school student has to know that attacking a police officer will end badly. For Brown to return and attempt to tackle Officer Wilson, there was clearly something which enraged Brown which may very well have been a vocal and verbal stimulus from Wilson.

Also  as a side thought, why did the officer have to shoot Brown in the head as he charged towards him? Couldn’t Wilson have shot Brown in the legs or in the feet so he would fall down. It seems to me that shooting Brown in the head was excessive and  “overkill” to excuse the pun.

The first thing which struck me about Officer Wilson’s demenor on his ABC interview was his lack of facial animation and his tone of voice where there was a lack of vocal inflection and animation. He appeared detached in terms of emotion and robotic in his tones . This may be in keeping of the type of police officer he is – a “by the book” officer. As he described his actions of the night, this was quite evident. But his facial expression showed no sadness or distress when relaying how Brown died.

Since nothing happens in a vacuum and there is always a cause and affect, after listening to Wilson’s tones I wondered what it was that ultimately caused things to escalate to Michael Brown’s death. What caused this young man to react so angrily to Officer Wilson to led him to engage in a physical attack on the officer and the officer subsequently shooting him to death?

Was it the officer’s tone of voice when he first approached Michael? Did he speak in harsh hostile robotic and angry tones when he told him to get out of the middle of the street where Michael was walking with a friend?  Based on his account it is doubtful that Wilson used terms of politeness or respect  like “Can you please not walk out in the middle of the street?”  BAsed on the other harsh command terms he relayed, it is most likely that he  gave  Michael a harsh command? That may have made a huge difference  in what may have set the tone for what unfortunately followed.

Could all of this have been avoided if the officer would have used different words or different tones with this young man? What would have happened if he engaged Michael Brown and was polite and respectful, at least until his backup unit came by?

When Officer Wilson described the incident on ABC News , Wilson did reveal that he used the command terms “Get back or I’ll shoot you.” This resulted in Brown replying “You’re too much of a pu**y to shoot me.” In essence, an angry Brown was testing Wilson and reacting to what he perceived  as a threat.  But what if Wilson said “ Please get back. I don’t want to have to fire at  you? Would that have made a difference or was the dye already cast? Only Brown and Wilson will ever know the answer to this.

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Another thing which disturbed me the most in the interview was Wilson’s detached vocal coldness, when asked by  ABC interviewer George Stassinopoulos about Wilson’s conscience. When Wilson  said he had a “clear conscience”, it sent off a red flag to me. If someone is shot and killed,  no matter the circumstances, their conscience should not have been  clear in my view.

Many officers have shot in the line of duty, in  fear of their lives,  or to save the lives of others.  For the majority of officers, their conscience is not clear but as a human being it is disturbed for taking a human life. No matter how trained they are, taking a human life does and should have an emotional effect on a person.

Look what has happened to Veterans in so many wars,  who have been trained to kill the enemy. Even though they are doing their job, it still often  affects their conscience, so much so that they get post traumatic stress syndrome, which  has ruined  so many Veteran’s lives. PTSD is an epidemic among Veterans as it has been since World War II where it was referred to as “shell shock.” Vietnam Vets were the first to put a face on this disorder.

Just like Veterans, police officers who have killed someone in the line of duty, can and have easily suffered from PSTD . Oftentimes their consciences are so disturbed that they often undergo extensive psychotherapy to deal with the implications of taking a life . They are  often  counseled right after the incident and many remain in treatment for a long period of time.

In listening to Darren Brown speak, his robotic and detached tones spoke volumes to me . Darren Wilson is not a warm nor engaging  or even a personable type of policeman based on his observed demeanor. I wonder if he had been such a police officer if would Michael Brown still be alive today?