Friend Who Witnessed Michael Brown Shooting Speaks

Dorian Johnson
MSNBC screenshot
Dorian Johnson
MSNBC screenshot

The last words Dorian Johnson heard from his friend were, “Keep running, bro!”

The 22-year-old, who was walking with Michael Brown before Brown was fatally shot, revealed to MSNBC in an exclusive interview exactly what he saw during the inexplicable shooting by police Saturday in Ferguson, Mo.

Johnson told MSNBC that he saw the gun and “fire” coming out of the barrel … all over what he described as a confrontation with a bully cop.

According to the young man, he and Brown, 18, were walking and talking when a squad car pulled up. The officer in the car told them to “get the f—k on the sidewalk.”


The young men told the officer that they were almost at Johnson’s residence, and that is when things got violent … on the part of the cop, Johnson said.

The young man told MSNBC that the officer put the vehicle in reverse, almost hitting them, so that they were in line with his side door. He demanded to know what they had said, or something to that effect, Johnson told MSNBC. The officer tried to open the door, but it bumped into Brown and closed again. Then the officer reached out and grabbed the teen by his neck, choking him, Johnson said.

“I could see the muscles in his forearm,” Johnson told MSNBC. “Mike was trying to get away from being choked.”

The struggle continued, with the officer now grabbing the young man’s shirt and a “tug of war” ensuing, with the officer trying to pull Brown in and Brown trying to get away.

Then the officer voiced a threat that turned into tragic action, Johnson told MSNBC.


“I’ll shoot,” Johnson said the officer said.

“I seen the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,” he said. “He had it pointed at him and said ‘I’ll shoot,’ one more time.”


Then he started firing, Johnson told the cable news station, with the first shot leaving blood seeping through Brown’s shirt.

Both young men started running. Johnson managed to duck behind a car, but Brown kept on running, advising his friend Johnson to “keep running.”


A second shot was fired.

Brown put his hands up in the air, begging the officer to stop shooting, and shouting that he did not have a gun, Johnson told MSNBC.


It didn’t matter.

The officer was face-to-face with Brown, according to Johnson, and he still kept on shooting.


“After seeing my friend get gunned down, my body just ran,” he said.

He ran back to his apartment and vomited. At that point, when he returned to the scene, he saw his friend, lying lifeless in the street.


The exclusive interview comes a day after it was revealed that the FBI is planning to conduct an investigation into the shooting of the unarmed Ferguson teen.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the investigation will be parallel to that of local authorities.


Protesters have continued to congregate in the suburb of St. Louis, demanding that the officer who killed the unarmed teen be named, fired and charged in the slaying, the Los Angeles Times notes.

The crowd, which was gathered outside of the police department Monday, chanted, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now."


According to the Los Angeles Times, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar was open to the parallel investigation, calling the outbreak of violence amid the protests a “tragedy.”

“We want to heal. We want to build trust with the community,” Belmar said.

Two officers were reportedly injured Sunday night after violence erupted during a protest and looting began. More than 30 people were arrested, suspected of theft, assault or burglary. Several businesses were vandalized and looted in the process.


“The death of yet another African American at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the community where he lived is heartbreaking,” NAACP President Cornell Williams Brooks said in a statement, demanding answers about the tragedy. “Michael Brown was preparing to begin college, and now his family is preparing to bury their child—his life cut short in a tragic encounter with the police.”

However, the statement also cautioned protesters to act “calmly.”

“Even as we call for accountability by those charged with protecting the community, we call on the community to act collectively and calmly until we secure justice for the family of Michael Brown," Brooks added in the statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Read more at MSNBC and the Los Angeles Times.

Also on The Root:

"Black and Unarmed: Men Without Weapons Killed by Law Enforcement"

"Black Kids Don’t Have to Be College-Bound for Their Deaths to Be Tragic"

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`