Ferguson Police Chief Finally Releases Name Of Officer Who Fatally Shot Michael Brown (VIDEO)

Police Chief Thomas Jackson talks to the press.

Police Chief Thomas Jackson talks to the press.

Ever since the shooting death of 18-year-old African-American, Michael Brown, the St. Louis County Police Department has been under tremendous pressure to release the name of the officer who pulled the trigger. Citing safety reasons, police officials have refused to release the name out of fear of reprisals against the officer.

The pressure was so great, that even hacker group Anonymous got involved, with one arm of the collective actually releasing a name that turned out to be false. But on Friday, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson held a news conference and announced the real name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.

“The officer that was involved in the shooting of Michael Brown was Darren Wilson,” Jackson said. “He’s been a police officer for six years, has had no disciplinary action taken against him. He was treated for injuries which occurred on Saturday.”

Here’s the video via The New York times.

In addition, the Ferguson police also released security camera footage showing a confrontation in a store between a man police allege is Michael Brown and a store clerk around 15 minutes prior to Brown being shot on the street in broad daylight. Jackson claimed that Wilson was responding to a robbery when he approached Brown.

Here’s an image of the footage via The New York Times.

Police claim Michael Brown robbed a convenience store

Police also released a police report which you can view as a PDF here.

On the report, police claim Michael Brown entered the convenience store and stole a box of Swisher Sweets cigars with a friend. Police say Brown “forcefully pushed him back into a display rack” and then left the establishment only to be shot and killed minutes later by Officer Wilson.

The police report, which was also released on Friday, has outraged the Brown family. In a statement made by their attorney, Benjamin Crump, the Browns are accusing the police of systematically trying to cover up the death of their son by “strategically trying to justify” the shooting.

“Nothing, based on the facts before us, justifies the execution-style murder by this police officer in broad daylight. The police are playing games here and the parents are beyond incensed with the way that the police are handling the distribution of information. The police are not being transparent and they are strategically trying to justify this execution-style murder.”

For days, outraged residents of Ferguson have protested the killing in the streets in an effort to shame the police into being honest about the incident. Unfortunately, they waited far too long to release the information and have opened themselves up to conspiracy accusations. Nearly a week has passed since the shooting. That gave police officials plenty of time to create a story to protect one of their own. Even if what they are saying about Brown is true, their decision to not release information immediately only made the situation worse. And now that they have finally released information, it seems the police are making Brown look like a thug who deserved to be killed.

Since the protests began, the St. Louis County Police Department has treated Ferguson like a war-zone. Rubber bullets and tear gas were the tactics used against the protestors. It has become a prime example of how the police treat unarmed African-Americans as opposed to armed mobs of white right-wing militia members. It’s also an example of how police have become militarized in our society.

Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon relieved the Ferguson police of duty and assigned the Missouri State Highway Patrol to control security in the area instead. Led by Captain Ron Johnson, who is an African-American, tensions seem to have lowered. But even he is disgusted with the way Ferguson police are portraying Brown in the police report.

“I think [the robbery and the shooting] are two separate issues,” Johnson said. “People in our country commit crimes every day. I don’t want to mix the two, I’m not going to say that one justifies the other, and I think if we’re going to give answers, we need to not give hints. We need to say it.”

This version of events according to the Ferguson police is an effort to justify the killing of a young man who was unarmed when police shot him. Whether or not this new information will bring normalcy back to Ferguson is unknown. Clearly, there is going to be a major distrust of the police by the majority of the residents. That will certainly make policing the area harder for officers. But one thing is for certain, this series of events is putting police brutality and racism under the microscope. A renewed awareness of this has reached a new high among Americans and maybe, just maybe, we can do something about it to make sure incidents like this do not happen again.

If you want to help put an end to police militarization, and to help hold them accountable, please sign this White House petition for taking up Mike Brown’s Law.