Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson at a press conference early Friday morning released the name of the officer who was involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. The officer has been identified as Darren Wilson. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that he is a six-year veteran of the force and doesn’t have any blemishes on his record.
For days, the police chief had been adamant about protecting the identity of the police officer involved in the shooting, claiming that the department had received death threats. The identity of the officer comes after days of protest and civil rights leaders urging that his name be made public.
The police chief also noted that Wilson was in the field attending to a sick person when another call came in about a strong-arm robbery. The police chief noted that Wilson left the sick person to respond to the robbery call when he encountered Brown, according to the Post-Dispatch.
It is unclear why the police chief noted the information about the robbery, since Michael Brown was not named as a suspect, and did not connect that information to the shooting death, the Post-Dispatch notes.
On Thursday Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that he was handing the protest-policing reins over to Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, an African American who was raised in Ferguson, Mo., and is vowing to take a different approach.
“It means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence,” Johnson told reporters at a news conference, the New York Daily News notes.
Ferguson has been widely criticized for its militarized police action in handling peaceful protests after Brown was fatally shot by Wilson on Saturday. Violent images showing clashes between police and protesters, officers in full riot gear carrying high-powered automatic weapons, and tear-gas smoke-filled nights have caused many to compare Ferguson to that of a war zone.
“What’s gone on here over the last few days is not what Missouri’s about, it’s not what Ferguson’s about,” the governor said during his press conference, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “[It’s] a Missouri community, but lately it’s looked a little bit more like a war zone, and that’s unacceptable.”
So now Johnson and his fellow state troopers have been asked to set a different tone from the one left by the Ferguson and St. Louis County police.