Outrage ensued again after new video surfaced in the controversial case of a young black man named Michael Brown who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson. A filmmaker claims that the video exonerates Brown from the crime that led to his shooting, and condemns the police action as unjust.
But not everyone is convinced that the speculation by the filmmaker proves Brown's innocence.
"It's just after one in the morning on the day that Michael Brown would be killed," CNN reports. "And this newly released surveillance video shows him inside the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store, the place he'd be accused of robbing 11 hours later.
Now CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity. It's part of a new documentary called "Stranger Fruit," which debuted at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Saturday.
It challenges the police narrative that Brown stole from a convenience store moments before he was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in August 2104. It argues Brown's altercation with the store employees later that day, shown in this video that was released by the Ferguson police, stemmed from a misunderstanding tied to an earlier apparent drug deal with the clerk, which the filmmaker Jason Pollack suggests, is happening in the previously unreleased video.
Now the 18-year-old appears to give the clerks a small bag. Pollack claims it's marijuana. They give Brown a bag with cigarillos, which he takes but then turns around and gives back to the clerks before leaving. The film suggests that Brown did not return to rob the store later that day but to get his stuff back.
The shooting death catapulted the nation into violent protests, riots, and a national debate over racism and police brutality. Brown's supporters continued to allege that Brown said "hands up, don't shoot" before Wilson shot him, even after the investigation conducted by the Department of Justice debunked this narrative.
Skeptics point out that it was not the market robbery that made Wilson shoot and kill Brown, rather that Brown reportedly attacked the policeman when questioned, and tried to grab at his gun. They also focus on the speculative nature of the claims of the movie, which were addressed in the police report of the incident, but not widely publicized in the media.
The filmmaker's claim was roundly mocked by conservatives on social media.
"We'll explain to the public that Mike Brown wasn't a shoplifter, he was a drug dealer." - World's worst image consultant.— Holden (@Holden) 1489327856.0
No this is misunderstanding, innocent Mike Brown was actually a drug dealer when he tried to grab that cop's gun. You've got this all wrong.— Stephen L. Miller (@Stephen L. Miller) 1489327191.0
Errrr, a video of Mike Brown dealing drugs and later assaulting someone after robbing them doesn't help your case, guys. #FergusonMarket— I Am Leah (@I Am Leah) 1489392026.0
Media: No no. Mike Brown didn't rob the store. It was a drug deal that went awry. Well that sure paints him in a better light.— TheRightWingM 🇺🇸 (@TheRightWingM 🇺🇸) 1489339562.0
Some witnesses said that he was holding his hands up when shot, which inspired the Black Lives Matter motto, "hands up don't shoot." But the official Department of Justice report refuted the popularly accepted narrative.
Police say the events of the newly released video would have been irrelevant to the investigation, but they also refuse to confirm the new footage.
The term "Strange Fruit" in the title of the film comes from a reference to lynched African-Americans who were hanged by racist mobs, and is clearly intended to suggest that Brown was the victim of a modern day "lynching" by racist police.
The Department of Justice report on Ferguson also cited systemic racism in Missouri as the cause of Brown's death. Former President Barack Obama released a statement about the Ferguson incident in 2014, spurring many to accuse him of exacerbating our national racial tensions.