After a week of silence, the police in Ferguson finally decided to make an official statement regarding the fatal shooting which involved Michael Brown, a black teen. They said that the officer involved in the fatal shooting is Darren Wilson. They also released a videotape and images which show that the young African-American was suspected of taking part in a robbery at a store right before the shooting happened.
Ferguson residents, who were already disgruntled about the fact that an unarmed teen was shot by an officer, are now furious at the manner in which the information was released by the police. In the report, details about the robbery are given, but there is no new information regarding the fatal shooting of last week. Gov. Jay Nixon, and Captain Ronald S. Johnson, an African-American who is now heading the security efforts in Ferguson, attempted to defuse the situation and referred to the lack of racial diversity among police officers.
The week has been a tumultuous one, and Thursday was the first peaceful night after a series of violent confrontations. The media was concerned that the release of information about the shooting and robbery would lead to more chaos.
“In our anger, we have to make sure that we don’t burn down our own house (…) That does not prove a point.” – Captain Johnson
Captain Johnson is pleading for calm, and adds that he was not announced how the authorities are planning to release the information. Earlier on Friday, Thomas Jackson, chief of Ferguson police, identified the officer who shot 18-year-old Brown. It was Darren Wilson, a veteran of the department. He had no record of violence or disciplinary actions taken against him.
According to Chief Jackson, Officer Wilson had been alerted of the robbery a few moments before he encountered the African-American teen, who was walking home. The videotape released by the police after the news conference shows a confrontation inside the store before Saturday’s shooting. In the footage, a man identified as Mr. Brown was pushing a store clerk. According to the police report, Mr.Brown stole a Swisher Sweets cigars box, and when he confronted the clerk, he pushed him into the display rack.
“Nothing, based on the facts before us, justifies the execution-style murder by this police officer in broad daylight (…) The police are playing games here and the parents are beyond incensed with the way that the police are handling the distribution of information.” Benjamin L. Crump, lawyer for the Brown family
At the moment he is on administrative leave. A lawyer representing the Ferguson police also said that officer Wilson received an”extraordinary effort in the line of duty” award in February.
Mr. Brown’s death on Saturday has ignited violent movements in Ferguson, where mostly white police force is aiming military-style weapons at African-American protesters. Officials hope that the conference will finally manage to calm spirits and bring closure to the Brown family.