Shooting Victim Accused of Robbery as Police Release Officer's Name in Ferguson

By:  Raven Clabough
Shooting Victim Accused of Robbery as Police Release Officer's Name in Ferguson

In the days following the police shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, officials had not revealed the identity of the police officer involved in the shooting in fears that protesters may retaliate against the officer and his family.

On Friday, however, police revealed that the officer was Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police force.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson stated that authorities were hesitant to release the name of the officer who shot Brown owing to fear of death threats. Jackson explained that Wilson has never had any disciplinary action taken against him.

Likewise, Greg Kloeppel, a lawyer for the union representing the Ferguson police, said Officer Wilson had received an "extraordinary effort in the line of duty" award in February.

But Jackson noted that authorities felt now to be the best time to release Wilson's identity. "A lot of the stakeholders had a big meeting conversation yesterday," Chief Jackson told a St. Louis television station, "and then yesterday evening and we made the determination that today is the day." He added, "Nothing specific went into that decision, but we feel that there's a certain calm," and, "There's a huge outcry from the community." As a safety precaution, police have moved Wilson and his family from the town.

The announcement follows days of demands from the local community to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting. Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, had accused the police of "playing games" and said they were "not being transparent."

According to the New York Times, refusal to release the identity of the officer had "galvanized demonstrators and prompted civil rights groups to go to court to force its release."

But Jackson explained that the hesitance to release Wilson's name was based on safety concerns after death threats had been made against the officer and his family on social media. During the same press conference in which Wilson's name was released, police also revealed that Brown had been involved in a robbery at a local convenience store minutes before the shooting took place.

Authorities handed out copies of a police report to reporters that held details involving a robbery in which Brown was said to be involved before he was fatally shot.

According to Jackson, Officer Wilson had been dispatched on August 9 to investigate a "strong-arm" robbery at a convenience store before his encounter with Brown. The incident report pertaining to the robbery states that Brown and another man, Dorian Johnson, were suspected of taking cigars from the store. Video footage captures Brown manhandling the store clerk during the confrontation.

Click here to read the entire article and convenience store video.

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