The police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown did not know that he was a suspect in a convenience store robbery, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Friday.
Jackson said the officer, previously identified as 28-year-old Darren Wilson, initially stopped Brown and a friend ”because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.”
Police earlier Friday released security footage they said showed Brown grabbing a box of cigars from a convenience store and then shoving the clerk away to leave.
Daryl Parks, an attorney for the Brown family, confirmed that the security footage “appears to look like” the teenager, but accused the police chief of “strategically” releasing the video to “assassinate the character of Michael Brown.”
Brown’s cousin, Eric Davis, called the video “smoke and mirrors” to obscure what had happened to the 18-year-old. Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, said he and Brown were ordered down on the sidewalk and that the officer attempted to pull Brown into his car before Brown tried to flee and was shot.
The police have said Brown was shot amid a struggle with the officer in and around the officer’s squad car.
After the police chief’s revelation, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan speculated that the decision to release the security footage — while seemingly unrelated to the officer’s decision to stop Brown — was because “Michael Brown knew about the robbery,” even if the officer didn’t.
“The officer didn’t know about the robbery in the store when he stopped Michael Brown, but Michael Brown knew about the robbery, and Michael Brown … thought that he was being apprehended for robbery, and therefore when the officer tried to put him in the car for not being cooperative or whatever his reasoning was, Brown immediately started to struggle because he thought he was going down on a robbery in the second-degree,” Callan said.
On Fox News, legal analyst Annemarie McAvoy made the same point: “The victim knew, if it was in fact him, that he’d just committed a robbery, may have assumed that he was going to be arrested and essentially tried to resist before he gets arrested.”