In case you were wondering when dash camera footage of Michael Brown’s murder will be released, the answer is that it won’t. It doesn’t exist, according to Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson.
The city of Ferguson can afford tear gas, rubber bullets, tactical vehicles, and a militarized response to peaceful protests–but one thing they just can’t afford is the installation of dash cameras they already own.
Jackson said that his department has 18 patrol cars, and purchased two dash cameras and two body cameras this spring but that the department has not installed the equipment because it doesn’t have the money to cover installation. The police chief told FOX 31 that the dash camera and installation costs about $3,000 total.
On Friday, Ferguson police identified Michael Brown’s killer as officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force who is currently enjoying a paid vacation (administrative leave) while the murder is investigated. Police initially promised to release the name, then refused. However, the revelation seems to have been spurred on by Anonymous’ release of the wrong officer’s name as the murderer.
At a Friday press conference, police had one goal: to destroy public support for the slain teenager. In an effort to make Brown appear to be a ruthless criminal, packets containing stills from a shoplifting incident that occurred near the time of Brown’s death were handed out along with a police report that names Brown as the primary suspect. Police claimed that Brown, who had no criminal record, was approached because he “fit the description” of the suspect.
However, police also admitted that Brown was stopped simply for walking in the street, and Wilson did not know the teen was a suspect in what they are calling a “strong-arm robbery.”
“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.” said local resident Arthur Austin.
Austin is correct that something doesn’t add up. For instance, hours after Brown’s death, a police report stated that they were still looking for a suspect.
Let’s say police are telling the truth, and Brown did steal a box of Swisher Sweets. Is that an act that is deserving a death sentence? Should he be tried and convicted in the media? Why would police release a report of a robbery that was not connected to the shooting, but not a report on the shooting itself?
There are many inconsistencies in the police version of the story, and many unanswered questions–questions that will likely remain unanswered as Ferguson police scramble to protect their image and justify a homicide.