News Column

Police Now Claim Brown Was Robbery Suspect

August 15, 2014

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Ferguson police released information on shooting of Michael Brown that connected the teen to a "strong-arm" robbery at a convenience store just moments before he was killed.

Copies of an incident report handed out by police name Brown, 18, as the primary suspect in the alleged robbery a few minutes before noon Saturday and include stills from the store security footage showing a person matching Brown's description allegedly attacking the convenience store clerk.

The report said the clerk pointed in the direction Brown and Johnson had gone, and when the officers pursuing Brown found him, determined he matched the description from the convenience store robbery.

"After viewing Brown and reviewing this video, I was able to confirm that Brown is the primary suspect in this incident," the report says.

Eyewitness video showing Brown's body in the street after he was killed, show him wearing long khaki shorts, a white t-shirt, yellow socks, flip-flops and a red hat, all visible in the store surveillance video.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Friday identified Darren Wilson as the officer who shot Brown.

Police did not release a use of force report, a police report from Wilson, nor any narrative of the shooting itself, prompting accusations that the police were attempting to shift the blame from the police to Brown himself.

After the information was distributed, protests immediately began in Ferguson, where people said even if Brown had robbed a store, that wouldn't give police reason to shoot him.

"I don't think this was maybe the responsible thing to do... to throw things out like this under a cloud of innuendo," said Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman from Ferguson Township, in an interview on CNN.

"The idea that maybe an aggressive shoplifting and jaywalking is enough to get you shot, it makes you wonder, especially seeing the tactics the police have used when they felt there has been an aggressive protest," she said. "So this makes is think about the culture of this police department, in the community and in the county, and how things are being handled here."

Witnesses from the scene of the shooting have said Brown, 18, and the officer struggled at the patrol car, and Brown appeared to be trying to get away. Police originally said the teen was reaching for the officer's gun, while witnesses said that did not appear to them to be the case.

Both sides had previously said police had yelled for Brown and Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the street before the struggle began.

Eyewitnesses said the officer chased Brown down the street, firing his weapon. Then, they said, Brown turned to face the officer with his hands over his head, and the officer fired again, and Brown fell to the ground.

Below, the description of the video footage from the alleged convenience store robbery:

"The video reveals Brown enter the store followed by [Dorian] Johnson. Brown approaches the register with Johnson standing behind him. [Redacted] can be seen in the background wing from the restroom to behind the counter. Brown hands a box of Swisher Sweets [cigars] to Johnson. An apparent struggle or confrontation seems to take place with Brown, however it is obscured by the splay case on the counter...Brown turns away from the counter with another box of Swisher Sweet cigars and walks towards the exit door. [Redacted] then comes out from behind the counter, with what appears to be a set of keys in his hands. [Redacted] then stands between Brown and the exit door. Brown, still holding a box of Swisher Sweets in his right hand, grabs [redacted] by his shirt with his left hand. Johnson continues out the door and out of the camera frame. [Redacted], no longer between Brown and the door, stops and watches Brown as he walks toward the exit door. Brown then abruptly turns back around and advances on [redacted]. Brown towers over [redacted] appearing to intimidate him. Brown then turns back and walks out of camera view.


Original headline: Police report names Michael Brown as robbery suspect

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