Six days after unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer, and after a refusal to release the name of the officer who shot the teenager, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson identified Brown’s killer as Officer Darren Wilson.
No incident report from the shooting was released, and no video exists because Ferguson can apparently afford tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized police force but not dash camera installation, but police were quick in their attempt to demonize Brown. While they did not release anything related to the shooting, police did attempt to justify the murder by releasing a video that allegedly shows Brown stealing a box of Swisher Sweets.
The officer who stopped Brown did not know that the teenager was a suspect, as was revealed hours after police provided fodder for conservative media outlets’ attempts to demonize the teenager. Jackson told reporters that the “robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown.”
Jacoson said that his department “sat on” the video as long as they could, but that they had to release it after receiving numerous FOIA requests. “I felt it would be prudent if I was releasing that, it could be inflammatory if I release that but didn’t release the name of the officer,” Jackson said. He added that “we needed to release that at the same time we needed to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting,” but did not cite the reason.
CNN’s Don Lemon, however, was not about to buy the chief’s story. “Family members and not only family members but people in the community say you are trying to discredit him, trying to soil his reputation, trying divert attention to something else besides the actual shooting,” Lemon said to Jackson. He asked if releasing the tape was, as Brown’s parents claim, “devious and you’re assassinating the character of their son by releasing the video attempting to smear the character of the victim and essentially blaming the victim.”
Watch Lemon grill Ferguson’s shifty-eyed police chief, below: