An incident in a store in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2014 is seen in these still images taken from a security camera and presented to the media during a news conference by the Ferguson Police Department on August 15, 2014. Police are saying the man in the white t-shirt and red cap is Michael Brown.
*Along with identifying Officer Darren Wilson as the cop who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, Ferguson, Mo. Police Chief Thomas Jackson released several police reports and documents during the Friday morning news conference alleging Brown was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars.
Jackson said Officer Wilson went to the area after a 911 call reporting a “strong-arm” robbery just before noon. He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Wilson, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate.
Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police department, encountered Brown just after 12:01 p.m., with a second officer arriving three minutes later, Jackson said.
Police said that Brown was shot after an officer (identified Friday as Darren Wilson) encountered him and another man (Dorian Johnson) 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 media a different story. He said he and Brown were walking in the street when an officer ordered them 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.
Johnson did not mention in his multiple interviews that he and Brown had been in a convenience store just before, or that Brown had stolen anything.
In an interview with MSNBC shortly after the report was released Friday morning, 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.”
Meanwhile, Brown’s uncle, Bernard Ewing, questioned whether Wilson really believed Brown was a suspect. He noted Johnson’s account that the officer told the two young men to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk, and that Brown had his hands up when he was shot.
“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.’”
“It still doesn’t justify shooting him when he puts his hands up,” he added. “You still don’t shoot him in the face.”