April V. Taylor
Ferguson police have finally held a press conference and released information related to the murder of Michael Brown, responding to a national demand for more transparency. The press conference was held in front of the QuikTrip on W. Florissant Avenue, which has become Ground Zero for protests. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson identified Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force, as the officer who shot Brown. Jackson had previously refused to release Jackson’s name, citing concerns for his safety due to death threats.
Some residents in attendance at the press conference erupted in anger at the insinuation Jackson made that Brown may have been a suspect in a robbery that took place at a nearby convenience store. An information packet distributed at the press conference alleges that Brown stole a box of Swisher Sweets cigars. Frames from surveillance video were released showing a black man, who was wearing a hat and sandals, having a confrontation with someone inside of the convenience store that was robbed. Video that has circulated of Brown’s body lying in the street after he was killed do not show him wearing a hat or sandals.
While Jackson did not directly connect the robbery with Brown’s murder, he did provide a timeline of events that puts Brown’s death at less than ten minutes after the alleged robbery. The timeline shows that a call was made from the store where the robbery took place at 11:51 a.m., and that Wilson, “encountered Michael Brown on Canfield Drive,” at 12:01 a.m..
Jackson did not provide answer any questions, stating that he would be speaking with the media again later in the day. It does seem that officers are doing their best to justify Brown’s murder by criminalizing him and making him appear to be a robbery suspect. The press conference was held outside the QuickTrip convenience store that caught fire during protests on Sunday. One protester could be heard contesting Jackson’s accusations stating, “That was no robbery, it was murder.”
Police accounts of Brown’s murder and what led up to it have consistently conflicted with every eyewitness account that has been provided. Police did not interview the friend who was walking with Brown and witnessed the entire series of events leading to Brown’s death until days after the murder. Many have worried that the lack of information being released regarding the investigation is an indication of a cover-up.