Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference where he also identified the officer involved as Darren Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since he shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
Reportedly, Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning, according to police reports. Jackson said 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.
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.”
Tensions in Ferguson boiled over after a candlelight vigil Sunday night, as looters smashed and burned businesses in the neighborhood, where police have repeatedly fired tear gas and smoke bombs.
By Thursday, there was a dramatic shift in the atmosphere after Gov. Jay Nixon assigned protest oversight to Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is black and grew up near Ferguson. He marched alongside protesters, along with other high-ranking brass from the Highway Patrol and the St. Louis County Police Department.
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. Authorities named Darren Wilson as the police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri last weekend, saying the officer had a good record and the incident came in the aftermath of a robbery in which the teen was a suspect. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said there had been a report of a robbery of cigars in a convenience store in the area a few minutes before police officer Darren Wilson encountered Michael Brown walking down the street near an apartment complex. REUTERS/Ferguson Police Department/Handout via Reuters