Police allege Michael Brown was involved in robbery before shooting
FERGUSON, Missouri — Police revealed the identity Friday of the officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown, along with a report indicating that Brown and a friend had been involved in a theft at a convenience store shortly before the shooting occurred.
According to the police report (embedded below), video surveillance showed Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, in an altercation with a store employee on Aug. 9. Brown and Johnson allegedly took cigars from the store. The report released Friday does not appear to shed light on the details of Brown’s death, and it is unclear how the officer could have been certain of Brown’s involvement in the robbery earlier that morning.
In an interview with MSNBC shortly after the report was released, Johnson’s lawyer confirmed that Brown had taken cigars from the store.
“We see that there’s tape, that they claim they got a tape that shows there was some sort of strong-armed robbery,” said Freeman Bosley, Johnson’s attorney. “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 he did take cigarillos, he told that to the DOJ and the St. Louis County Police.”
In an interview earlier this week, Johnson described the events of the shooting but did not mention that he and Brown had been in a convenience store just before, or that Brown had stolen anything.
According to the police report, the officer who shot Brown was responding to a description provided by police dispatch searching for a suspect in the robbery nearby. The officer was identified as Darren Wilson, who is white, and has been on the police force for six years. He is currently on paid administrative leave.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who made the details public Friday morning, declined to answer questions from the media but said he would provide an update later in the day.
“The [officer’s] name in and of itself doesn’t let us know a whole lot,” Bosley said. “The next step is: what do we know about the officer? We’d like to see his personnel file and if any disciplinary action has been taken against him, and how long he has been an officer.”
In his brief appearance before the media, Jackson said that no disciplinary action had been taken against Wilson. Brown was not believed to have a criminal record, either.
Residents of Ferguson had been demanding the release of the officer’s name and details about the shooting. Many questions remain unanswered regarding Brown’s death. Ferguson had been engulfed in tensions and aggressive police tactics toward the community in the wake of Brown’s killing, but the climate has cooled since President Obama and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon urged calm Thursday.
“I’m pleased that the people of Ferguson and the region began to get some long-overdue information today, and I will continue to call for openness and transparency as the parallel investigations into this tragedy proceed to their necessary conclusions,” Nixon said Friday in a statement.
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