Cop Shooter Didn’t Know Michael Brown Was Robbery Suspect; Family Furious Over Report Release

In a press conference, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the name of the officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown and talked about a robbery that occurred just minutes before the shooting. Plus: Attorneys for Brown’s family release a statement about the police report.

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Standing in the parking lot of a gas station in Ferguson, Mo., that was burned during rioting, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Aug. 15, 2014, announces the name of the Ferguson police officer responsible for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown. 

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Updated Friday, Aug. 15, 4 p.m. EDT: The Associated Press is reporting that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who was named as the unarmed teen Michael Brown’s shooter, was not aware that Brown was a robbery suspect at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile, Dorian Johnson, the young man who identified himself as Brown’s friend and gave his personal testimony about what happened on MSNBC earlier this week, confirmed that he and Brown did indeed steal cigars from a convenience store, his attorney stated.   

“We see that there’s tape, that they claim they got a tape that shows there was some sort of strong-armed robbery,” Freeman Bosley, Johnson’s attorney, said, according to MSNBC. “We need to see that tape, my client did tell us and told the FBI that they went into the store. He told FBI that [Brown] did take cigarillos. He told that to the DOJ and the St. Louis County Police.”

Updated Friday, Aug. 15, 2:30 p.m. EDT: The attorneys representing Michael Brown’s family released a scathing statement after the press conference and police report that linked the unarmed teen to a robbery shortly before the shooting.

Attorneys representing the family called the methods of the police “devious,” adding that they were "beyond outraged”:

Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate [piecemeal] information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

Benjamin L Crump, Esq.
Anthony D. Gray, Esq.
Daryl D. Parks, Esq. 

Earlier:

In a brief press conference on Friday, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, who was unarmed and allegedly surrendering.

Details from the fatal shooting are still unclear and were not the focus of the press conference. Instead, Jackson detailed a timeline of a strong-arm robbery that took place just before the shooting, according to Talking Points Memo.

Reporters got a handout of the report, which included stills from video footage taken from store surveillance. In the report, both Brown and a friend who was with him at the time of the shooting, Dorian Johnson, were named as suspects in the robbery.

A report by the Daily Mail points out that Brown appeared to be wearing the same outfit in the surveillance footage that he was wearing when he was gunned down.

The suspect in the video was wearing what appeared to be a gray, or other light-colored, shirt, shorts and distinctive shoes with a red cap. In pictures of Brown’s body, he also appeared to be wearing a light-colored shirt, shorts and unusual shoes. A baseball cap was also at the crime scene, according to the Daily Mail. However, during the press conference, a woman questioned the footwear, observing that the socks and shoes from the video don’t match images of Michael Brown lying in the street.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted from the actual incident report, in which employees described their run-in with the suspect:

As (redacted) was placing the boxes on the counter, Brown grabbed a box of Swisher Sweets cigars and handed them to Johnson who was standing behind Brown. (Redacted) witnessed (redacted) tell Brown that he had to pay for those cigars first. That is when Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets and turned to leave the store. (Redacted) then calls ‘911.’ Meanwhile (redacted) comes out from behind the counter and attempts to stop Brown from leaving. According to (redacted),(redacted) was trying to lock the door until Brown returned the merchandise to him. That is when Brown grabbed (redacted) by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack. (Redacted) backed away and Brown and Johnson exited the store with the cigars.

However, according to the Post-Dispatch, some just saw the details of the robbery as a distraction. “I am incensed,” St. Louis resident Laura Keys told the Dispatch. “I can’t believe this is the tactic they are using, bringing up a robbery to make the victim look like he was the person who created this whole mess. Where’s the footage?”

“They brought it up to justify the cop’s actions,” Jay Williams added.