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Ferguson chief: Contact between Brown, officer not related to store robbery

This imagery, released by the Furgeson, Missouri Police Department Friday, August 15, 2014, depicts an alleged strong-arm robbery at a convenience store. Ferguson police allege the man in these images is Michael Brown, the teen later shot and killed by police.

This imagery, released by the Furgeson, Missouri Police Department Friday, August 15, 2014, depicts an alleged strong-arm robbery at a convenience store. Ferguson police allege the man in these images is Michael Brown, the teen later shot and killed by police.

UPDATE:  Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters Friday that “the initial contact between” Michael Brown and the police officer who fatally shot him was not related to the alleged convenience store robbery committed nearby a short time earlier.

The officer approached Brown not because of the robbery, but “because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” Jackson said.

FERGUSON, Missouri — Police named the officer involved in the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown on Friday, then released documents containing a bombshell: The 18-year-old was the “primary suspect” in the robbery of a convenience store moments before he was killed.

Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the department, was responding to that call when he encountered Brown, police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters.

According to the documents, Brown roughly handled a clerk trying to stop him before walking out of the store with a box of Swisher Sweets cigars.

The unidentified police officer who wrote the incident report on the robbery said he identified Brown by comparing surveillance images of the incident to the body of the slain teen.

The claim immediately met with skepticism among some in the community, who have accused Ferguson police of attempting a cover-up to protect the officer.

One resident interviewed by CNN said police are “tarnishing this young man’s name.”

“Anyone could walk in the store and they could get surveillance and take a picture,” the woman said. “I don’t see that he’s robbing the store. I just see a picture of a young man.”

On Twitter, community members and activists expressed disappointment and outrage.

“How can they not release info on the shooting but link #MikeBrown to robbery. Shame on them,” @NafisMWhite tweeted.

The release of Wilson’s name satisfied a key demand of protesters and critics of the handling of the case by the suburban St. Louis police department and St. Louis County investigators handling the probe.

But, especially in light of the robbery allegations, the release of Wilson’s name is unlikely to quell protests in the city and elsewhere over Brown’s death.

A key complaint of protesters has been that witnesses say the officer shot Brown as he stood with his hands in the air.

Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer’s gun.

Highway Patrol steps in

The controversy incited sometimes violent protests that culminated in a tense standoff with heavily armed police Wednesday night, prompting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to put the Missouri State Highway Patrol in charge of security.

The change was immediate and welcome to protesters.

Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights. So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators.

The crowds swelled and became more diverse Thursday; their chants for justice accompanied a concert of honking car horns, and though their cause was somber, their mood was buoyant.

Despite the celebrated change in tone after his department stepped back, Jackson said Friday he is not going to resign, as some critics have suggested he do.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay and see this through,” he said.

Smile tactics

Highway patrol Capt. Ron Johnson is now in charge, at the request of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

“We have a different approach that we’re using this evening,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. Smiling instead of scowling is key. “I’ve smiled more today than I have in the past few days.”

Maj. Ronnie Robinson from the St. Louis City Police is working with Johnson. He underlined the importance of dialogue with residents. “We feel the pain in the community,” he said. They can protest 24 hours, if they want to.

He also insisted there will be law and order. No looting, no vandalizing. State troopers will protect small businesses, he said. And protesters may not block the streets.

Despite the new tone by authorities, some protesters said they were prepared for police aggression.

“Gas me, shoot me, I will stand my ground,” one sign read.

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who was arrested at a demonstration in Ferguson on Wednesday, said he’s noticed the new tone.

“Really, it has been the police presence, the heavy-handed presence, which has escalated the situation, and I think led to the violence each night. And so it’s good to see this new approach,” he said.

Diversity

Ferguson’s police department has been criticized for a lack of ethnic diversity. The St. Louis suburb’s population is two-thirds African-American. Of the police force’s 53 officers, only six are African-American.

An eyewitness has said that the officer who shot Brown was Caucasian.

Johnson and Robinson are African-American. Though he believes in ethnic diversity and would like to see more in Ferguson’s police force, Robinson did not peg it to skin color but to a person’s ability to understand people’s culture and communicate with them.

“You’ve got to give respect to get respect,” he said.

Authorities have said that the change of appearance of the police force was intentional.

As Robinson spoke, a group of young Caucasian men behind him held up a sign calling for justice for Brown.

‘No excuse’

Nixon and President Barack Obama have called for peace from all sides and respect for the rights of protesters and the press. Police briefly detained two reporters Wednesday and Al Jazeera America said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at their camera position.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,” Obama said Thursday. “There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Brown’s killing has gained attention around the world and moved people to protest in other U.S. cities Thursday. In Los Angeles and in New York, hundreds gathered to demand justice for Brown.

The Los Angeles protests included commemoration for Ezell Ford, an African-American youth recently killed there. In New York, police formed a line to halt the march, CNN affiliate WABC reported.

They told the crowd to disperse and arrested a few people.

114 comments

  • max

    Nothing good happened, other then having another thug off streets. By age 18 rubbing stores by 19 he would be killing people, Google killer of officer matlosz shot execution style in NJ. Exactly the same type of thug like Brown killed him. Stop doing crime. You lazy worthless piece of shts on welfare already rubbing taxpayers, and then rubbing your own community on top. look at yourself, pull your pants up of your knees! and go get jobs, raise families and live normal life.

    • Dee Irby

      I see you have generalized people on welfare as being lazy and worthless, and rubbing the taxpayers. I encounter people like you all of the time. It is your thinking that has caused this country problems. Firstly mainly women, single women are on the system and have children. There is nothing wrong with getting help when needed. People on welfare are not necessarily criminals and lazy like you claim. The other is this this country was built off of the backbones of slavery and none of the slaves nor descendants have ever BEEN COMPENSATED for this atrocious genocide. So a large group of people should be tax EXEMPT and reality is that RACISM DOES EXIST, although I don’t think this case is one of them. I don’t think people are lazy as the system forces one to get off of welfare and have a job. Apparently you don’t keep up with the news. A welfare recipient has to go through a job training program for TANF CALLED THE VIEW in which they work without compensation and then they are required to have a job and then are tossed off of the system. Watch your words and get your facts straight. Thugs come in all shapes and sizes, color , race and background .

      • max

        Btw, The compensation was paid and was a total bad choice by keeping you here. Blacks Were Almost Out Of The Country At One Point . As far as the country itself it has always been and still is build off of immigrants and is ruined by thugs that are majority black again sad truth

      • Rowdy Roddy

        Being a single woman does not justify taking welfare. It just means you are an irresponsible breeder. More reason to kick you off. Sterilization should be the answer to these folks on welfare.

      • PattonFiend

        Seriously? The African kings SOLD THEIR OWN PEOPLE for spices, chocolate, weaponry, cloth, silk, etc. Why does not one Goddamn f’ng worthless American pig pick up a history book? They have been fucking themselves over for thousands of years. Compensation for what? They could have fought back and not allowed their own people to sell them to Europeans. You have no problem with black-on-black crime until a white police officer kills a criminal who JUST committed a crime. The biggest travesty is worthless negroes thinking that they are owed something from hundreds of years ago that NONE OF US HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH. Worthless f’ng apes.

    • Paul

      Too bad a kid got shot but why isn’t anyone talking about his actions in that store. He walked around like a bully and used physical intimidation against that store owner. Is it really so hard to believe he may have got physical with the police officer. His body language says it all. Study that tape and you see 3 young men who have no respect for anyone. And furthermore, why are we glorifying this THUG… that’s right, I said it and more people need to. Disgusting to see people stand up for this criminal. Don’t even try to say he isn’t, the tape proves it.

      • newsweary

        People are saying the release of video showing Mike Brown stealing and physically assaulting the store clerk is somehow not relevant to the clash with a cop 16 minutes later? Did it look to you like this HUGE and strong young man (not boy) looked very comfortable using his size to intimidate and people…like maybe he has done this before? Would Mike Brown not carry that same thug attitude out to the street with him as he left the store? You don’t think that maybe he assumed the cop knew he had just robbed a store and that he might not be aggressive and physical with the cop? I say OF COURSE the two events are connected and speak exactly to Mike Brown’s state of mind when he and the cop interacted! The final analysis may show that the cop did not follow police protocol, and was not correct in shooting Mike Brown, but it seems very likely that Mike Brown helped create and escalate his encounter into a tinder box situation.

      • dl1958

        Brown was a punk, bully and engaged in a felony according to Missouri law. Of course, that in and of itself doesn’t justify the officer using deadly force. A segment of Furgerson is trying to paint Brown as an innocent victim. He wasn’t. The combination of his criminal behavior, and the officers decision to use deadly force, right or wrong according to law, ended in Browns death.

      • Domici

        Paul you are my kinda guy in your way of thinking!! Like I said I’m black, & I’m on the side of right, not black or white!! This is all just a big floors show, for blacks that could care less about Mr. Brown to rob, pillage, & plunder thier own city!! It’s funny half of my people that cry about being owed for slavery, don’t even get up before 12!! That’s the past!! Pull your pants up, turn off your demonic rap & hip hop music, & get an education & a job!! Don’t blame the white man, for your laziness!! We as blacks can do the same things that any white man can!! If your so angry, get back at racist peeps through education, doing something & being something!! You’d think michael brown was an upstanding citizen!!

    • Domici

      This is a Black man agreeing with you all the way!! I’m a decent hard working black man & I live in a neighborhood that was once nice & now the same undertow like Michael Brown is moving into this area & jus seeing them around here is absolutely SICKENING!! Christopher Newsom & Shannon Christian were killed by Lemaricus Davidson in Knoxville Tenn!Chris was raped & set on fire, Shannon was Raped tortured & stuck in a trash can! That story didn’t get Half the NATIONAL coverage that this no good gutter snipes story got!! Chris & Shannon were good kids going to school & working!!! YES I am black, however I’m not on the side of Black , or white for that matter, IM ON THE SIDE OF RIGHT!! I don’t blame white people for not wanting blacks in thier area!! All whites that feel that way don’t just hate blacks!! They are tired of blacks robbing them, challenging them violently in thier own neighborhoods, raping thier daughters etc!! Thank you officer for protecting us!

      • Mickie

        Thanks for your comment and your honesty. it’s refreshing to hear someone that’s not tring to race bait or throw gas on the fire. May God’s blessings overtake you daily.

      • Wen

        (uncle) Yes sir boss and thank you for allowing me to live in the house.
        I don’t know if your comment is legit but either way you would probably say to African American injustices – “get over it”.
        I wonder what your ancestors would think of YOU NOW?

      • Sammy

        wEN?? how about you do some real research??? MLK was a REPUBLICAN!!!! Yeah CHECK it out. Get your own opinion and logic. Try that?? You may respect yourself

    • bell

      max is an idiot with no education. He obviously was raised a racist or had a bad encounter with a black person and is letting the media dictate his views like the sheep that he is. Do not reply to him as a he is a dumb sheep and can not carry on an intelligent conversation.

      • max

        Obviously, the truth hurts you. You haven’t even commented any of my views, because simply you know that I’m right. So again pull your pants up and go to work.

  • Oyes

    Oh, Pu-leeeze, Media. You are fully aware, and Playing it, that just mentioning The Ferguson Police incites, provokes, and fans your intended flames.
    Odd Media refuses to Deal with their FBI cohorts, on site, ever present and “investigating”.
    And yet, the FBI gets a Free PC Pass. Somehow the “highest echelon of Federal investigators” stands back to allow the assault of the hated local Police. The infamous FBI can not, will not, refuses, and can’t be expected to Stand Up, speak, address their Democrat’s Urgent Demands, in any way shape or form. WHY? WHY doesn’t Media confront them?

  • Dee Irby

    Ok I have finally read the story. I have can see that this young man was indeed violent shown from him trying to hurt the store owner where he stole the cigars. One account says this man when confronted by police did as he was told, another story by eye witnesses said the young man fought the police and was assaulting the officer and trying to get his pistol. If the officer shot the young man and the young man did what he was told then officer is wrong, but if this young man tried hurting the officer and was trying to get his pistol than the officer’s actions was justifiable. I am Afrikan American and can say I don’t know what to believe. Rioting and looting the poor little store owner business who is just trying to make ends meet is a bunch of thugs using an excuse a and an opportunity to steal free beer etc. Remember this kid was stealing from his store. Also these thugs looting are only hurting the communities in which they live. I applaud the people the real AFRIKAN KINGS who stood up and blocked the looters from doing more damage to the store. We have to think for a moment why we don’t have decent stores in our community. It is situations like this that deter others from wanting to bring businesses into the community. After all of this would you wish to keep a business in that area if looters damaged your store? I would not even renew my lease and pull out. This hurts people living in the community. Police are not all bad…………

    • max

      Totally agree on one part, i dont criticize people on their race, but on their behavior you have caused the problem yourself. I am not racist but look what happens to every community that blacks move in? Crime raises drastically all you see is stores closing and barbershop open on each closed store where drugs are sold and people have no choice and are forced to move out or face crime and danger every single day.Until thugs like Brown will exist things will never change, i am sorry but it is the truth and sad truth. Did you ever Google matlosz killer 19 year old? Think, People have choices to move out and live in normal places while cops can’t they need to deal with people like Brown to serve us a better and safer life everyday. The thing I don’t understand is why all this black people protesting now in MO? That’s what real racism is. I bet you anything that if the owner of that store was black he would have pulled the tiger himself on the spot before that thug walked out of that store. So now stop the protesting and face reality start pointing at all thugs you know because they are the only problem we have.

  • Luv Life!

    Why didn’t those protestors stop those idiots who were looting and damaging stores? No wonder there are lowlifes in this world…no morals/values or education! If that kid was so good, why was he stealing?

  • Joy

    This is a shame all the way around. The young man has been proven to be a thug. He was no gently giant as the media has tried to portray him as. Mothers and fathers, what will it take to make you be involved with your children’s lives and realize that they are the most valuable asset we have. Why do so many parents have no idea that their kid has misbehaved so often? I just do not see how you could actually be so naive if you are connected to them. This going after justice in overdrive will not replace your son. I know you have to do it but it will not bring him back. I just hope this story will cause some mothers and what father’s we have to pay closer attention to the activities of their children especially the boys. Are they stealing? Where did they get the money for those shoes or clothes? Are they involved in drugs? Never develope an attitude that your child would never do that. I hope the full story comes out on the police and justice will be served. I do not trust their story but I feel it is safe to assume that if this young man had not been involved in the stealing of the cigars, this would have never happened. And the buddy who is lying for the deceased will be the next to get into serious trouble. He gains nothing when he does this except for a lot of people listening to him. He should come clean. I am just an old lady that is wise enough to know pretty much what is going on..

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    • Belenda michael

      Sorry for the family of the thug Michael Brown. His body language to that shop clerk says so much! This was not his first crime and wouldn’t be his last! If you look like a thug and act like a thug then guess what? You are a thug!!!! I feel more sorry for the police officer!

    • Domici

      I wish I could protect him & I’m a black man!! Police have a hard job dealing with the undertow of my race!! I pray everyday that black people will get out of the VICTIM syndrome & get it together!!! Michael Brown was no victim, he was a volunteer!!!

  • Ruben Garcia

    Someone doesn’t become a thug and bully overnight. Need to open school records to see his background. Need to top calling him a child, he was a large intimidating man and strong arm robber.

  • Vintage Rock (@Vintage_Rock)

    I think the cop and Brown were both wrong and used poor judgment. Clearly, Brown wasn’t right to disobey the officer. If he’d just said, “Yes sir,” and walked over to the sidewalk, he’d be alive today. Instead, he had ripped off a store and then went walking down the middle of the street like he owned the town. Not smart. He drew attention to himself and it cost him his life. Regarding the cop, he simply over-reacted. Why he took a fatal shot at Brown, when he probably could have shot him in the kneecaps will be the subject of debate for years to come. I won’t take sides because both of them made bad decisions that day.

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