Police identify officer, allege teen robbed store

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson releases the name of the the officer accused of fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Jackson announced that the officer's name is Darren Wilson.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson releases the name of the the officer accused of fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Jackson announced that the officer's name is Darren Wilson.

Editor's note: As new information has become available, this page has been updated. Earlier coverage is below the most recent, last updated at 8:52 p.m. For live time reporting happening on Twitter, check out this feed of journalists and other sources reporting from Ferguson.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Police on Friday identified the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager and released documents alleging the young man had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a "strong-arm" robbery shortly before he was killed.

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Ferguson convenience store surveillance video released

Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer did not know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting and stopped Michael Brown and a companion "because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white officer, has patrolled suburban St. Louis for six years and had no previous complaints filed against him, Jackson said.

Brown's relatives said no robbery would justify shooting the teen after he put his hands up. Family attorneys said Brown's parents were blindsided by the allegations and the release of a surveillance video from the store.

"It appears to be him," attorney Daryl Parks said, referring to the footage, which he said was released without any advance notice from police.

The police chief described Wilson as "a gentle, quiet man" who had been "an excellent officer." He has been on the Ferguson force for four years and served prior to that in the neighboring community of Jennings.

Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave after the Aug. 9 shooting, "never intended for any of this to happen," Jackson said.

According to police reports released Friday, authorities received a 911 call at 11:51 a.m. on the day of the shooting reporting a robbery at the Ferguson Market. An unidentified officer was dispatched to the store, arriving within three minutes. The officer interviewed an employee and customer, who gave a description of a man who stole the cigars and walked off with another man toward a QuikTrip store.

Descriptions of the suspect were broadcast over the police radio. The officer did not find the suspects either on the street or at the QuikTrip, the reports said.

The robber took a box of Swisher Sweets, a brand of small, inexpensive cigars. The suspects were identified as 18-year-old Michael Brown and 22-year-old Dorian Johnson, according to the reports.

Separately, Wilson had been responding to a nearby call involving a sick 2-month child from 11:48 am until noon, when he left that place. A minute later, he encountered Brown walking down Canfield Drive. The documents contained no description of what happened between Brown and Wilson.

Johnson has told reporters that the officer ordered the pair to move onto the sidewalk, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Another family attorney, Benjamin Crump, noted that police did not release a photo of the officer but released images from the security video that they say show Brown grabbing a man inside the store. Crump said he had not seen the photos.

Police "are choosing to disseminate information that is very strategic to try to help them justify the execution-style" killing, said Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder.

The Aug. 9 video appears to show a man wearing a ball cap, shorts and white T-shirt grabbing a much shorter man by his shirt near the store's door. A police report alleges that Brown grabbed the man who had come from behind the store counter and "forcefully pushed him back" into a display rack.

Police found evidence of the stolen merchandise on Brown's body. Authorities determined that Johnson was not involved in the robbery and will not seek charges against him, Jackson said.

Brown's uncle, Bernard Ewing, said the shooting was unnecessary, even if his nephew was a robbery suspect.

A robbery "still doesn't justify shooting him when he puts his hands up," he added. "You still don't shoot him in the face."

Brown's death ignited four days of clashes with furious protesters. The tension eased Thursday after the governor turned oversight of the protests over to the Missouri Highway Patrol. Gone were the police in riot gear and armored vehicles, replaced by the new patrol commander who personally walked through the streets with demonstrators.

On Friday night, the Rev. Jesse Jackson linked arms with protesters as they marched to the site where Brown was killed. Jackson bent over in front of a memorial cross and candle and sighed deeply. He urged people to "turn pain into power" and to "fight back, but not self-destruct" through violence.

The scene was eclectic Friday night as hundreds gathered for a sixth straight evening. A man on a bullhorn called for a revolution. A young man waved a Bible while citing scripture. Some took selfies in front of a convenience store that had been burned by looters Sunday. Boys tossed a football, and horns and loud music blared.

To Vida Weekly, 51, it was still a somber occasion. She walked through the crowd holding high a sign that read: "The police killed Michael Brown and now they are trying to kill his character."

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street.

Related video:

Ferguson convenience store surveillance video released

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Posted earlier

Editor's note: Below this point are accounts that were posted earlier on Friday.

Update, posted at 2:36 p.m.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by police says the officer didn't know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson earlier Friday released documents alleging 18-year-old Michael Brown had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a "strong-arm" robbery shortly before he was killed.

During an afternoon news conference Jackson said the robbery "was not related to the initial contact" between the officer and Brown on Saturday.

He declined to elaborate as to why the officer stopped Brown and his friend, citing the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

Earlier coverage, posted at 2:24 p.m.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Police on Friday identified the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager and released documents alleging the young man had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a "strong-arm" robbery shortly before he was killed.

Darren Wilson is a six-year veteran of the Ferguson Police Department in suburban St. Louis who encountered Michael Brown shortly after a 911 call reporting the robbery, Police Chief Thomas Jackson said. He released no other details about Wilson or his employment record and refused to take questions from reporters.

Brown's relatives immediately questioned whether the officer really believed Brown was a suspect and said no robbery would justify shooting the teen after he put his hands up.

The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, said Brown's parents were blindsided by the allegations.

"It's bad enough they assassinated him, and now they're trying to assassinate his character," Crump said.

An attorney for the teen who was with Brown on the day of the shooting said his client has acknowledged to investigators that Brown took cigars from the store.

Wilson has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting.

At 11:51 a.m. that day, police records show, authorities received a 911 call reporting a robbery at the Ferguson Market. An unidentified officer was dispatched to the store, arriving within three minutes. The officer interviewed an employee and customer, who gave a description of a man who stole the cigars and walked off with another man toward a QuikTrip store.

Descriptions of the suspect were broadcast over the police radio. The officer did not find the suspects either on the street or at the Quik Trip, the reports said.

The robber took a box of Swisher Sweets Cigars valued at $48.99, according to the reports. The suspects were identified as 18-year-old Michael Brown and 22-year-old Dorian Johnson.

Separately, Wilson had been responding to a nearby call involving a sick 2-month child from 11:48 am until noon, when he left that place. A minute later, he encountered Michael Brown walking down Canfield Drive. The documents contained no description of what happened between Brown and Wilson.

Crump noted that police did not release a photo of the officer but released images from the store's security video that they say show Brown grabbing a man inside the store. Crump said he had not seen the photos.

Police "are choosing to disseminate information that is very strategic to try to help them justify the execution-style" killing, said Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder.

The Aug. 9 video appears to show a man wearing a ball cap, shorts and white T-shirt grabbing a much shorter man by his shirt near the store's door. A police report alleges that Brown grabbed the man who had come from behind the store counter and "forcefully pushed him back" into a display rack.

Johnson, Brown's friend, told investigators that Brown "did take cigarillos," his attorney, Freeman Bosley, told MSNBC. Bosley said he was aware of video but had not seen it.

Brown's uncle, Bernard Ewing, questioned whether Wilson really believed Brown was a suspect. He referred to Johnson's account that the officer's only command to the two young men was to get out of the street.

"If he's a robbery suspect, they would have had the lights on," Ewing said. "If you rob somebody, you would tell them, 'Get on the ground' or something, not, 'Get off the sidewalk.'"

A robbery "still doesn't justify shooting him when he puts his hands up," he added. "You still don't shoot him in the face."

Brown's death ignited four days of clashes with furious protesters. The tension eased Thursday after the governor turned oversight of the protests over to the Missouri Highway Patrol. Within hours, the mood on the street lighted, with state troopers walking side-by-side with peaceful protesters and no hint of violence. Gone were the police in riot gear and armored vehicles, pointing assault rifles at protesters and firing tear gas into crowds.

But Friday's announcement by the police chief was met with disbelief and anger by several dozen Ferguson residents who also attended the news conference, which was hastily held at a gas station burned during a night of looting earlier in the week.

"He stopped the wrong one, bottom line," yelled Tatinisha Wheeler, a nurse's aide at the news conference.

A couple of dozen protesters began marching, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot" and "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

Dorian Johnson has told reporters a different story. He said an officer ordered him and Brown onto the sidewalk, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Earlier coverage, posted at 10:02 a.m.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- A suburban St. Louis police chief on Friday identified the officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager ignited days of heated protests, and released documents alleging the teen was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference where he also identified the officer involved as Darren Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

According to the police reports, Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning. Jackson said Wilson, along with other officers, was called to the area after a 911 call reporting a "strong-arm" robbery just before noon. He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Wilson, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate.

Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police department, encountered Brown just after 12:01 p.m., with a second officer arriving three minutes later, Jackson said.

Brown's death has sparked several days of clashes with furious protesters in the city. The mood was quelled on Thursday, after the governor turned oversight of the protests to the state Highway Patrol. State troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protesters replaced the county police in riot gear and armored tanks of previous nights.

But the police chief's announcement Friday was met with immediate disbelief and anger by several dozen community members who also attended the news conference, which was hastily held at a gas station burned during a night of looting earlier in the week.

"He stopped the wrong one, bottom line," yelled Tatinisha Wheeler, a nurse's aide who was at the news conference.

A couple dozen protesters began marching around the area and in the street chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

Dorian Johnson has told media very different story. He has said he and Brown were walking in the street when an officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Tensions boiled over after a candlelight vigil Sunday night, as looters smashed and burned businesses in the neighborhood, where police have repeatedly fired tear gas and smoke bombs.

But on Thursday, county police in riot gear and armored tanks gave way to state troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protesters. The dramatic shift came after Gov. Jay Nixon assigned oversight of the protests to the state Highway Patrol, stripping that authority from the St. Louis County Police Department.

"All they did was look at us and shoot tear gas," Pedro Smith, who has participated in the nightly protests, said Thursday. "This is totally different. Now we're being treated with respect."

The more tolerant response came as President Barack Obama spoke publicly for the first time about the shooting -- and the subsequent violence that shocked the nation and threatened to tear apart Ferguson, a town of 21,000 that is nearly 70 percent black and patrolled by a nearly all-white police force.

Obama said there was "no excuse" for violence either against the police or by officers against peaceful protesters.

Nixon's promise to ease the deep racial tensions was swiftly put to the test as demonstrators gathered again Thursday evening. But the latest protests had a light, almost jubilant atmosphere among the racially mixed crowd, more akin to a parade or block party.

The streets were filled with music, free food and even laughter. When darkness fell -- the point at which previous protests have grown tense -- no uniformed officers were in sight outside the burned-out QuikTrip convenience store that had become a flashpoint for standoffs between police and protesters.

"You can feel it. You can see it," protester Cleo Willis said of the change Thursday. "Now it's up to us to ride that feeling."

Nixon appointed Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is black, to lead the police effort. Johnson, who grew up near Ferguson and commands a region that includes St. Louis County, marched alongside protesters Thursday, joined by other high-ranking brass from the Highway Patrol as well as the county department. The marchers also had a police escort.

"We're here to serve and protect," Johnson said. "We're not here to instill fear."

Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal investigators have interviewed witnesses to the shooting.

Associated Press writers Jim Salter and Jim Suhr in St. Louis, Eric Tucker in Washington and Hillel Italie in New York, and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner, also in New York, contributed to this report.

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