Ferguson police’s attempts to demonize Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teen killed by Officer Darren Wilson, may have hit a small snag. The very video they released at the same time as they identified Wilson as the officer responsible for shooting Brown six times, including twice in the head, may show the opposite of what they intended.
Supposedly, the video shows Brown robbing the store, taking a box of cigars. However, the attorney for Ferguson Market says that it was not anyone from the store that called police to report a robbery. In fact, a customer called to report what he viewed as a robbery.
How, then, did police get the tape? According to St. Louis News, the attorney said, “‘during the course of Ferguson’s investigation, the police department from Ferguson, came to the store and asked for to review the tape.” In other words, the tape was not viewed by police until after Michael Brown was dead in the street.
In their fervent effort to cast Brown in a negative light, they missed that the video seems to show Brown paying for the Swisher Sweets.
While it is difficult to be 100% certain, the video appears to show Brown purchasing some cigars, but lacking the money for the amount he wished to buy. Brown seems to purchase some cigarillos, pay for them, attempt to buy more, then replace the ones he could not afford.
The confrontation between Brown and the clerk may have been because Brown impatiently reached across the counter. Perhaps it was wrong for Brown to shove the employee (it is impossible to know what words were exchanged) but this footage seems to exonerate him. It is important to note that Brown only shoved the clerk after he put his hands on him.
In any case, neither the employee nor the store owner called law enforcement–something that would surely happen if Brown committed a “strong-arm robbery.”
At this point, the police portrayal of the video and strategic release have had the desired effect. Right-wingers have labeled Brown a “thug.” Somehow, those who are determined to hate every African-American murdered by police (or anyone, for that matter) have managed to form an opinion that a simple theft is worthy of a death sentence if one’s skin is not light enough.
The Ku Klux Klan and a growing group of angry white people are raising reward money for the murder of “typical low-IQ Negro” Michael Brown. Wilson is already on course to make tens of thousands of dollars for his deed.
We will never truly know the exact circumstances surrounding Brown’s death, as Ferguson police have not bothered to equip their cars with dashboard cameras, but we do know that an independent autopsy performed on Brown’s body has revealed not only that there was no sign of a struggle between Brown and Wilson, but that one bullet entered “back to front,” and the wounds were consistent with Brown having his arms raised in surrender.