Police ID officer, allege teen robbed store

Officer, who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, has worked in suburban St. Louis for six years and had no complaints filed against him
Associated Press
Aug 15, 2014

Police on Friday identified the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager and released documents alleging the young man had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a "strong-arm" robbery shortly before he was killed.

Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer did not know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting and stopped Michael Brown and a companion "because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

Darren Wilson, 28, has been an officer in suburban St. Louis for six years and had no complaints filed against him, Jackson said.

Brown's relatives immediately questioned whether the officer really believed Brown was a suspect and said no robbery would justify shooting the teen after he put his hands up.

The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, said Brown's parents were blindsided by the allegations.

"It's bad enough they assassinated him, and now they're trying to assassinate his character," Crump said.

An attorney for the teen who was with Brown on the day of the shooting said his client has acknowledged to investigators that Brown took cigars from the store.

The police chief described Wilson as "a gentle, quiet man" who had been "an excellent officer." He has been on the Ferguson force for four years. Prior to that, he patrolled in the neighboring community of Jennings, Jackson said.

Wilson, who was placed on administrative after the Aug. 9 shooting, "never intended for any of this to happen," Jackson said.

Police reports released Friday under an open-records request showed that at 11:51 a.m. on the day of the shooting, authorities received a 911 call reporting a robbery at the Ferguson Market. An unidentified officer was dispatched to the store, arriving within three minutes. The officer interviewed an employee and customer, who gave a description of a man who stole the cigars and walked off with another man toward a QuikTrip store.

Descriptions of the suspect were broadcast over the police radio. The officer did not find the suspects either on the street or at the Quik Trip, the reports said.

The robber took a box of Swisher Sweets Cigars valued at $48.99. The suspects were identified as 18-year-old Michael Brown and 22-year-old Dorian Johnson, according to the reports.

Separately, Wilson had been responding to a nearby call involving a sick 2-month child from 11:48 am until noon, when he left that place. A minute later, he encountered Michael Brown walking down Canfield Drive. The documents contained no description of what happened between Brown and Wilson.

Crump noted that police did not release a photo of the officer but released images from the store's security video that they say show Brown grabbing a man inside the store. Crump said he had not seen the photos.

Police "are choosing to disseminate information that is very strategic to try to help them justify the execution-style" killing, said Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder.

The Aug. 9 video appears to show a man wearing a ball cap, shorts and white T-shirt grabbing a much shorter man by his shirt near the store's door. A police report alleges that Brown grabbed the man who had come from behind the store counter and "forcefully pushed him back" into a display rack.

Johnson, Brown's friend, told investigators that Brown "did take cigarillos," his attorney, Freeman Bosley, told MSNBC. Bosley said he was aware of video but had not seen it.

Police have determined that Johnson was not involved in the robbery and will not seek charges against him, Jackson said.

Brown's uncle, Bernard Ewing, questioned whether Wilson really believed Brown was a suspect. He referred to Johnson's account that the officer's only command to the two young men was to get out of the street.

"If he's a robbery suspect, they would have had the lights on," Ewing said. "If you rob somebody, you would tell them, 'Get on the ground' or something, not, 'Get off the sidewalk.'"

A robbery "still doesn't justify shooting him when he puts his hands up," he added. "You still don't shoot him in the face."

Brown's death ignited four days of clashes with furious protesters. The tension eased Thursday after the governor turned oversight of the protests over to the Missouri Highway Patrol. Within hours, the mood on the street lighted, with state troopers walking side-by-side with peaceful protesters and no hint of violence. Gone were the police in riot gear and armored vehicles, pointing assault rifles at protesters and firing tear gas into crowds.

But Friday's announcement by the police chief was met with disbelief and anger by several dozen Ferguson residents who also attended the news conference, which was hastily held at a gas station burned during a night of looting earlier in the week.

"He stopped the wrong one, bottom line," yelled Tatinisha Wheeler, a nurse's aide at the news conference.

A couple of dozen protesters began marching, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot" and "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

Dorian Johnson has told reporters a different story. He said an officer ordered him and Brown onto the sidewalk, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Comments

getit right be4...

Trayvon Martin was not killed for wearing a hoodie.

Michael Brown was not shot for walking down the street.

The Big Dog's back

Why was Michael Brown shot and killed? Since you were at Trayvon Martin's murder, give us the video of why he was killed.

Donegan

You are a racist.

GoBigLex2001

Brown was shot and killed after he beat the officer nearly unconscious and tried to disarm him.

coasterfan

I'm not sure if this is a racial issue. Regardless of what led up to the incident, if you try to grab/take away a policeman's gun, should you be surprised when you get shot? Until the full story comes out, all we can do is speculate.

SamAdams

Exactly! COULD Brown have been shot and killed for the "crime" of "walking while black?" Maybe. COULD Brown have been shot and killed because he tried to steal a cop's gun? Maybe. Although it's looking more and more like the latter is the case -- Brown, it now comes out, was a gang member AND apparently a "strong-arm" robber -- the investigation remains ongoing. Condemning EITHER Brown or the police officer at this point isn't just speculation. It's racist no matter which side you take in the absence of more of the facts!

CommonsenseNow

@Ms. Adams - I think we don't need to misuse the word "racist." It used to be that a man who acted violently, without cause, to harm and harass another man simply because he was black, was racist. The true meaning of that word used to mean qualifying the worth of a man's soul based on the color of his skin. Misusing the word abuses all the true victims of it. People speculate. I hardly believe that it is due to "racism." It is not a stretch to see the situation from either side. I hate to see the word "racist" misused by either side, because the word actually meant something once.

SamAdams

I have no argument with what you say. The sad fact is, however, that charges of racism are used willy nilly these days for anything and everything. At this time, the charge (bolstered by the appearance in Ferguson by such as Jesse Jackson and the NAACP) is "racism" against one police officer in specific and the Ferguson police department in general. The only response, it seems, is to suggest that such knee-jerk conclusions on EITHER side, and which are based largely if not entirely on skin color, are comparably as racist.

deertracker

Sam, the NAACP, Rev. Al or Jackson don't just show up. They are contacted and asked to help. Why make it seem like they are making the situation worse when they are not? Black communities all over this country have major issues with police. Is every community lying? There is no knee jerk conclusion. This entire incident was bound to happen sooner or later. It will continue to get worse.

deertracker

@Common
Exactly. I don't care if this guy was a serial killer. When he was killed he was surrendering. Even if it is proven he tried to take the officer's gun, that is not when he was killed. He was feet away with his hands UP!! UNARMED! Those are FACTS that are not in dispute. The military style response can't be disputed. What is up here? This did not happen in Nevada.

doglegright

Those are facts HUH!!!

There are at least 10 witnesses that say Micheal Brown bullrushed the cop and a bystander admitted it on a cellphone video.

Facts??? Hardly!!

You must be Sharpton's right hand money henchman.

deertracker

Enlighten us getit right!

arnmcrmn

Not the innocent kid just minding his business getting ready to go to college now is he.

The Big Dog's back

So because he took something, like no white kids have ever done this, he deserved to be killed?

getit right be4...

You are coming off a bit to defensive.

Where did he say no white kids take things that don't belong to them? Where did he say he deserved to die for it?

The Big Dog's back

So you agree he should not have been shot.

DirkDiggler

That's it...flip it over and play the race card ! White kids never do this stuff ? Really ? You have issue's bro ! White or black...you steal you're a thief ! White or black...you attack a cop and try to take his weapon he has every right to use lethal force ! The end !

B0ttom Line

Why do you never care the thousands of times a black kills another black?

CommonsenseNow

@BigDog - you bring up a valid point. Too bad that your constant name-calling of people who disagree with your points has made it less valid to some. I'm not sure what happened. But the question of whether black profiling - subconscious or not - deserves an answer. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. But the question needs to be asked nonetheless.

The Big Dog's back

I'm also saying that just because it happening to Black kids now doesn't mean white won't be targeted next. Theses cops, a lot of them Iraq war veterans, are to eager to pull the trigger.
I remember in the 80's when some companies were making employees take concessions, people at other companies thought it would never affect them. Wrong. Now it's to late. Just like this, it will be to late if people wait until it affects them.

deertracker

Dog is right. If you think this can't or won't happen to white kids you are plainly naïve. Even the whites are alarmed at the military style response. Look for the white guy dressed in his Marine uniform. He makes great sense. This is just crazy to me.

SamAdams

Dog is at least partially right (though I suspect for the wrong reasons), and so are you. The militarization of the police is something EVERY American should fear, not just hyphenated Americans!

knowitall

Our country seems to glorify violence. Deer...your point on military uniform on non military people. I shoot at the rifle matches at Camp Perry. It amazes me the number of wannabes that come dressed in their camo outfits. I wear regular clothes. It is target practice for heavens sake!
Then there is the right to bear arms groups. I obviously am ok with most of that but when groups are ok with assault rifles, Saturday night specials, etc........that is where the line should be drawn.
Our country is the largest supplier of arms to other countries. As a percentage of GDP....we are way at the top. Look at ISIS using our weapons against us.

doglegright

He deserves to be killed if he keeps charging a policeman after being asked to stop and after tussling with him in his police car and after taunting the police man AND after being high on marijuana....

just observing

Don't attempt facts and logic with piddle pup, he is your typical far left loon political-union hack that never worked an honest day in his life. Piddle doesn't the floors need mopped at 913?

coasterfan

Always makes me chuckle when rightwing folks accuse us lefties of lacking facts/logic. Doesn't that describe their Mother Ship (Fox News) perfectly?

wasthere

When Fox News show actual footage of your president caught in a lie......Is that photoshopped? I'm happy that you are just a music teacher and don't teach our children anything of meaning.

knowitall

Interesting how FOX virtually never harasses a republican. Are they all angels?

William Jeffers...

Based on his "strong-arm robbery" video, this kid is a thief, a punk and was either going to be killed or kill someone else in the next 3 years. Nothing to do with race, everything to do with actions and character.

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