Victim-blaming…it’s the hallmark of any abuser, or abusive society. Get raped? It’s because your skirt’s too short. Poor? It’s because you’re lazy. Grandfather was a slave? He should have run faster. Murdered by a cop in the street? It’s because you’re a thug who shoplifted a Swisher Sweet cigar.
Within hours of revealing the name of Michael Brown’s public executioner (Officer Darren “Clean Record” Wilson), conservative media outlets were abuzz with headlines about Brown’s alleged “criminal” misdeeds…as cited by the Ferguson police department. Yes, the same police department under investigation by the Department of Justice, at the same press conference during which they revealed the officer’s name — which they only did under pressure from the ACLU.
The police tell a story of a robbery at a convenience store that happened shortly before noon. According to police, surveillance footage and witnesses identified two men (one dressed in khaki shorts, white shirt and a red hat) get into an altercation with the store clerk over a box of Swisher Sweets.
The shooting happened at about 12:04 P.M., when Wilson came upon the pair walking down the street from the convenience store. But Wilson by his own admission didn’t stop the pair as suspects in any robbery — he told them to stop walking in the street and get on the sidewalk. There was never any mention of the cigar heist that happened minutes before at the time. According to the police department, Brown and his friend (and witness to the murder) were the immediate “primary suspects” in the robbery.
Local residents aren’t buying it. One Milton Jackson said :
“For them to say this is an armed robbery makes me think this is a cover-up…I don’t believe what the officer did was called for. Even if there was a robbery, it was unnecessary force to shoot an unarmed black man.”
Arthur Austin, 39 years old:
“This is how the police operate here, they always defame the name of the victim. Michael Brown had never been in trouble so it doesn’t add up. The more I hear, the less I trust what the police are saying.”
The suburb of Ferguson is about 66 percent black — it’s police force, about 95 percent white.
BREAKING UPDATE: Documents released today paint a fairly damning picture of the police department’s depiction of Michael Brown and the murder witness as “primary suspects” in the supposed robbery. This image was posted by AnonAustria on Facebook, a close-up of the incident report for the cigar robbery. Bear in mind that Brown was killed at 12:04 P.M., and identified on the scene afterward.
This report, though, shows that police were STILL LOOKING for the robbery suspects almost 7 HOURS after the shooting. Following the description given in the incident report, it reads at 6:54 P.M. “STILL SEE NO ONE MATCHING THAT DESCRIPTION.” Maybe they weren’t looking at the dead kid in the back of the SUV.
Good catch Anon, and thanks to AATTP’s John Prager for picking it up.