Moral Low Ground


Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson ID’ed as Michael Brown Shooter; Slain Teen Accused of Robbery

The police chief in Ferguson, Missouri identified a six-year veteran as the officer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown last Saturday.

On Friday, Chief Thomas Jackson named Darren Wilson as the shooter. Jackson also released a police report revealing that Brown was suspected of stealing a box of Swisher Sweets Cigars in what an officer called a “strong-arm robbery” shortly before the fatal encounter with Wilson.

Police have released still images from the convenience store surveillance camera that appear to show a large black male identified as Brown roughing up a much smaller store employee. According to the police report, Brown “forcefully pushed [the clerk] back into a display rack” before leaving with the stolen cigars.

Convenience store surveillance video allegedly showing Brown committing a "strong-arm" robbery.

Convenience store surveillance video allegedly showing Brown committing a “strong-arm” robbery.

Jackson said the department received a 9-1-1 call reporting a robbery at the convenience store at 11:51 a.m. Dispatchers broadcast a description of the suspect, and at 12:01 p.m., Wilson encountered Brown and another young man, Dorian Johnson, walking in a street.

According to Jackson, Brown pushed Wilson into his squad car as the officer confronted him and the two then struggled over Wilson’s gun. But witnesses provided a very different account, claiming Brown’s hands were in the air when he was shot multiple times.

Johnson claims Wilson ordered the young men to get out of the street and onto a sidewalk. He says Wilson tried to open his squad car door but couldn’t because the two men were too close to the vehicle. Wilson then allegedly grabbed Brown by the neck and attempted to pull him into the vehicle. He then allegedly drew his pistol and shot Brown.

As the two teens attempted to flee, Johnson says Wilson fired more shots. He said Brown, who then placed his hands in the air and dropped to the ground, pleaded with Wilson to stop shooting, telling the officer that he was unarmed. Wilson then allegedly stood over Brown and shot him again.

Ferguson police enraged protesters by refusing to release the name of the officer who killed Brown for nearly six days. Civil unrest peaked on Wednesday night, when police fired ‘less lethal’ projectiles and tear gas at demonstrators, a small minority of whom violently clashed with heavily-armed and armored SWAT teams and riot police. Some 16 people were arrested. Numerous journalists covering the story reported being arrested or brutalized.

The situation improved tremendously after Gov. Jay Nixon relieved local and county police officials and placed the Missouri State Highway Patrol in charge.

Wilson is described as a six-year police veteran with no prior history of disciplinary action. He has been staying in a secure location since the shooting out of fear for his safety. Chief Jackson told CNN that Wilson was “devastated.”

“This is his community,” said Jackson. “He never wanted any of this to happen.”

But much of the community has long complained about tensions between Ferguson’s 22,400 residents, nearly 70 percent of whom are black, and the police force, which is just 5 percent black. The mayor and five of the six city council members are also white.

On Friday, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Brown’s family, dismissed reports of the slain teen’s alleged involvement in the convenience store robbery.

“Nothing, based on the facts before us, justifies the execution-style murder by this police officer in broad daylight,” asserted Crump.

“The police are playing games here and the parents are beyond incensed with the way that the police are handling the distribution of information,” he added. “The police are not being transparent and they are strategically trying to justify this execution-style murder.”​

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