If you regard Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart as a predictable liberal, you might be surprised by his column today: Capehart comes to terms with an unpleasant truth about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and admits that the “Hands up, don’t shoot” rallying cry after the death was based on a lie.

Capehart writes:

The late evening of Aug. 9, 2014, I couldn’t sleep. I was due to substitute-anchor MSNBC’s “UP with Steve Kornacki” and should have been asleep. But after looking at my Twitter feed and reading the rage under #Ferguson, I felt compelled to type a reaction to the killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Tying the shooting to the inane whine of certain politicians about a “war on whites,”  I decried the next morning the death of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer.

In those early hours and early days, there was more unknown than known. But this month, the Justice Department released two must-read investigations connected to the killing of Brown that filled in blanks, corrected the record and brought sunlight to dark places by revealing ugly practices that institutionalized racism and hardship. 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.

What DOJ found made me ill. Wilson knew about the theft of the cigarillos from the convenience store and had a description of the suspects. Brown fought with the officer and tried to take his gun. And the popular hands-up storyline, which isn’t corroborated by ballistic and DNA evidence and multiple witness statements, was perpetuated by Witness 101. In fact, just about everything said to the media by Witness 101, whom we all know as Dorian Johnson, the friend with Brown that day, was not supported by the evidence and other witness statements.

Capehart goes through the DOJ report piece by piece and I urge you to read the column. 

While accepting the findings with regard to Michael Brown’s death, Mr. Capehart adds:

Yet this does not diminish the importance of the real issues unearthed in Ferguson by Brown’s death. Nor does it discredit what has become the larger “Black Lives Matter.”

In fact, the false Ferguson narrative stuck because of concern over a distressing pattern of other police killings of unarmed African American men and boys around the time of Brown’s death.

I'd have to add that the narrative stuck in part because race opportunists such as the Rev. Al Shaprton beat a path to Ferguson to take advantage of the tragic situation. Michael Brown's death was, as Heather Mac Donald notes, used by politicians to fuel cop hatred. It became a tool for tearing the country further apart.

It was rage and violence caused by lies that allowed many to avert their eyes from cultural failures that contributed to the death of Michael Brown. The breakdown of the family has meant that many young men don't develop that discipline and habits to succeed. Young men (and women) growing up in single-parent families are more prone to violence and criminal activity.

I’ll quote Heather Mac Donald again:

The public could perhaps be forgiven for believing that “the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life,” given the media frenzy that follows every such rare police killing, compared to the silence that greets the daily homicides committed by blacks against other blacks.

The press, however, should know better. According to published reports, the police kill roughly 200 blacks a year — most of them attacking the officer. In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S. The police could eliminate all fatal shootings without having any significant impact on the black homicide death rate. The killers of those black homicide victims are overwhelmingly other blacks, responsible for a death risk ten times that of whites in urban areas. In 2013, 5,375 blacks were arrested for homicide, which is greater than the number of whites and Hispanics combined (4,396), even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population.

Still, kudos to Capehart for writing an honorable column.

And he's right–Brown's death does unearth important issues.