Michael Brown, the black teen whose death has been the subject of heated and often violent St. Louis, Mo.-area demonstrations, was identified as the individual who committed a strong-armed robbery of a convenience store minutes before he was shot and killed by a local police officer.
This information, as well as the identity of the officer who shot Brown, was revealed at a Friday press conference, according to Fox News, which reported:
Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that the robbery took place just before noon on Saturday at a nearby convenience store roughly 10 minutes before a police officer identified as Darren Wilson fired the bullet that killed Michael Brown. Police say that the shot was fired after a struggled touched off by Wilson’s confronting Brown. Jackson said Wilson is a six-year veteran with no disciplinary action on his record.
The news conference came after nearly a week of sometimes-violent protests and calls by many, including President Obama, for local law enforcement to be more transparent about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Police previously said they withheld Wilson’s identity because of the potential for threats on the officer and his family. The officer has been on administrative leave since the shooting.
Police released still images and were planning to release video from the robbery, at a QuikTrip store in Ferguson. Jackson said Wilson, along with other officers, were called to the area after a 911 call reporting a “strong-arm robbery” at a nearby convenience store. He didn’t immediately release details about the alleged robbery, saying more information would be released later.
Jackson provided few other details about Wilson at the news conference and did not take any questions. Jackson said Swisher Sweets cigars were stolen in the robbery. He was suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars.
Local residents weren’t necessarily buying it.
“I am incensed,” Laura Keys, 50, told The St. Louis Post-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.”
Brown was reportedly assisted in the robbery by someone identified only as “Johnson.” Brown was accompanied by a Dorian Johnson when confronted by the police officer, and tells a story completely different from the officer. Fox reported:
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. 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.
But a much different story has been told by Dorian Johnson, who says he was walking down the street with Brown when he was shot. He has said the officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend’s neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.
Watch the report from Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum and Fox reporter Mike Tobin, via this tweet:
Police release stills of robbery connected to Michael Brown | http://t.co/HPKK0dWkDH
— Michael Dorstewitz (@MikeBPR) August 15, 2014