Officer did not know of robbery prior to shooting Brown - Tucson News Now

Officer did not know of robbery prior to shooting Brown

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Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson addressed the media about the officer who shot Michael Brown. (Source: CNN) Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson addressed the media about the officer who shot Michael Brown. (Source: CNN)
Police released still images of a robbery before Michael Brown was shot. They have not confirmed Brown is in the images. (Source: CNN) Police released still images of a robbery before Michael Brown was shot. They have not confirmed Brown is in the images. (Source: CNN)
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(RNN) - Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said six-year veteran Darren Wilson is the police officer who who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Friday. Wilson is from the St. Louis area, and has no history of disciplinary action.

Jackson also said, in statements around 2 p.m. on Friday, that the Wilson did not know about the robbery at a gas station prior to incident with Brown that lead to his death. 

However, after it was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jackson said that while Wilson did not know that Brown was involved in the robbery, but saw the stolen cigars in his hand, and stopped him, connecting him to the robbery. 

In a press briefing Friday afternoon, Jackson addressed several questions that were posed via social media. Jackson said that Dorian Johnson, the person who was with Brown, will not be charged in the robbery because he was not complicit in the incident.

Jackson did confirm that police found evidence of the robbery on Brown's body. However, Jackson said that Wilson stopped Brown because he was walking down the middle of the road "and blocking traffic" and had no idea about the robbery. Jackson declined to go into more details about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Ferguson, MO police chief said the robbery "Was not related to the initial contact" between Wilson and Brown.

Jackson said that the police department "had been sitting on" the surveillance tape "for a while." When asked why he released the surveillance footage if the officer did not know about it, Jackson said "because you [the media] asked for it." 

"He [Wilson] never meant for any of this to happen," Jackson said.

The Department of Justice, who is also doing an investigation parallel to the St. Louis County Police Department, said that the FBI is in Ferguson and has conducted several interviews with witnesses. 

The DOJ is conducting a civil rights investigation in the shooting, and have covered the neighborhood where Brown was shot. 

Documents released at the news conference allege Brown was a suspect in strong-arm robbery that occurred minutes before the shooting. Brown had no previous criminal record and was set to start college.

In the timeline of events given by Jackson, Wilson was on a different call - a sick call - when he heard from dispatch about the robbery. Another dispatch came with a more detailed description of the suspects involved in the robbery a few minutes later.

In the packet of information given to reporters at the news conference, CNN reports that those who filed the complaint at the convenience store name Brown and his friend as those who took a box of cigars and pushed a clerk into a display.

Wilson encountered Brown and his friend shortly there after, and Brown was shot by Wilson. Police allege Brown and Wilson struggled for the officer's gun.

The ambulance from the earlier sick call arrived and assessed Brown at the scene.

Critics pointed out that Brown's companion, who was listed in the documents as being at the robbery as well, has yet to be taken into custody by police.

Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson spoke to the media, saying that there were no incident calls Thursday night. In the previous days, protesters and police clashed, raising questions about how the mostly white police force interacts with the majority black town.

Johnson stepped in front of bank of microphones towards the crowd, saying it was more important the community heard him than the media. When there were some issues, he encouraged the crowd to press closer so they could hear him. He also took questions during the news conference from the community.

Johnson also said he planned to be walking the streets of Ferguson later that day, along with Jackson, to continue the dialogue with people in Ferguson.

The department previously declined to release the officer's name because of the threats of violence against the officer. The police department is making the announcement willingly and not as the result of any lawsuits, Jackson said. Wilson was treated for injuries at the scene.

The hactivist group Anonymous, who pressured the Ferguson Police Department to release the officer's name, hacked the police department's website. The group posted a name on Twitter they claimed to be officer involved, but it turned out to be incorrect.

The announcement came after a peaceful night of demonstrations, where police and protesters walked together through the St. Louis suburb to the site where the unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer.

The shift in tension comes after Nixon brought in state police to oversee security, instead of local police. Johnson, who is black and a Ferguson native, took command over the situation. However, local police will continue to head the investigation. The FBI and Department of Justice are also conducting their own investigation.

Ferguson looked like a police state as pictures of tear gas and rubber bullets being fired at protesters and journalists stunned the nation and the world, highlighting racial tensions in the suburb. On Wednesday, police arrested two journalists in a McDonald's and threw tear gas at an Al Jazeera crew who ran from the scene, leaving their equipment behind.

The escalation in tension garnered comments from President Barack Obama on Thursday, who urged for reason and calm, and the end of excessive force used by police.

When pressed about the use of tactical and military gear against the demonstrators, Jackson said there will be many meetings and reviews about what the department could have done better and will learn from this experience.

"In spite of the perception that's been out there, no deadly force was used, no one was killed and no one was seriously injured," Jackson said. "I'm proud of no injuries, no deaths."

Jackson said that he will not step down, and that he meeting with community leaders to help Ferguson move forward.

"We are all accountable for our actions at all times and ultimately that all comes to me," he said.

Brown's parents have called for a formal autopsy of their son. The family released a statement by their attorneys. It says, in full:

Michael Brown's family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piece mil information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer's name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael's death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

The attorneys of the family held a brief press conference Friday afternoon, and the family spokesman, Eric Davis, spoke on how the family reacted to the release of the surveillance video.  

Davis said the release of the video is being used to steer attention away from the shooting death of his cousin. 

"The events that took place on Canfield had nothing to do with the grocery store Michael may have been in or the person who was on the video was in," Davis said. "Because we don't know that was Michael for sure. So whatever took place there had nothing to do with an individual getting down on his hands and knees, raising his hands in the air and saying 'Don't shoot!' This is a universal call for I surrender, and I can hear my cousin's voice right now as I speak saying, 'don't shoot.' Yet still the officer stepped to him and shot him, is what we're hearing - and that is wrong!"

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