After a brief period of calm in Ferguson, Missouri, tensions flared again in the aftermath of police releasing videotape of what is purportedly Michael Brown robbing a convenience store just before he was gunned down by officer Darren Wilson. Brown's family is outraged that the police chose to release the video at this time, saying it is "character assasination" of their son, who was unarmed and, according to witnesses, surrendering when Wilson shot him.
The Brown family admits that their son was not "the perfect kid" but say that nothing would have justified him being shot several times on the street. The Ferguson police say they only released the video of him stealing cigars from a convenience store because the media had demanded the video.
Michael Brown, who was 18 and stood over six feet tall, can allegedly be seen in the video walking out of the store with cigars. When he is confronted by someone inside the store (possibly not the clerk), he appears to shove him and moves towards him threateningly, then walks away.
A short time later, police say that 6-year veteran of the force, Darren Wilson, was on his way to another 911 call when he caught sight of Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street blocking traffic, minutes after dispatch gave a description of the suspect. While police say at first Wilson did not know that Brown was a suspect in the "strong armed" hold-up, the police chief later said that Wilson may have spotted the stolen cigars.
What happened after that is up for debate, with the police saying that a struggle ensued in which Brown tried to grab Wilson's gun and that Wilson had injuries to his face; and witnesses saying that Brown was surrendering and holding up his hands.
Brown's family is outraged that the police are now focusing on Brown's transgression before the shooting, with their lawyer saying, "No one out there is proud of everything they have done when they were a teenager."
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While there is no doubt that no one deserves to be gunned down for petty theft, there is also little doubt that Brown's actions before the shooting will play into the timeline of events, and the police will use that to bolster Wilson's version that Brown was a threat.
Do you think the stealing is relevant to what happened?
Image via Daily Mail