Police Update: Contact Between Shooting Officer and Brown, Unrelated to Robbery

Police released documents containing a bombshell: The 18-year-old was the "primary suspect" in the robbery of a convenience store moments before he was killed. Later in the day, the police claimed Brown's interaction with the officer accused of shooting him was unrelated to the robbery.

UPDATE:

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) -- The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn't stop him because he was suspected in a recent robbery, but because he was "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic," the city's police chief said Friday.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters the alleged "robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown."
So why did Ferguson police decide to release surveillance video of the alleged convenience store Friday, the same day that they named, six days after the shooting, the white police officer who fatally shot the African-American teenager, if the two incidents are not related?
Jackson said he released the videotape "because the press asked for it," noting some in the media had filed Freedom of Information requests for the footage and that he couldn't withhold it indefinitely. The chief added "we needed to release that at the same time we needed to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting," though he didn't elaborate more on why.
The flurry of information added more intrigue to a case that has spurred protests in Ferguson among those angry at the shooting of the 18-year-old Brown, and what they decry as a heavy-handed response by police afterward.
Earlier Friday, authorities had released documents identifying Brown as the "primary suspect" in the robbery of a convenience store that happened moments before he was killed.
The haul: a $48.99 box of cigars, according to the documents.
The documents claim Brown roughly handled a clerk trying to stop him before walking out of the store with the box of Swisher Sweets. Police also released surveillance video showing a man pushing aside a smaller one who seemingly tried to stop the larger man, who then departed the store.
The claim immediately was met with skepticism among Brown's family and some in the community, who have accused Ferguson police of attempting a cover-up to protect the officer.
"Michael Brown's family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate" incomplete information about what happened, family attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement.
Police, he said, were acting "in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight."
On Twitter, many community members and activists expressed disappointment and outrage.
"How can they not release info on the shooting but link #MikeBrown to robbery. Shame on them," @NafisMWhite tweeted.
Another said that Brown being a suspect should not have led to the use of deadly force.
"When police approached Mike Brown, he was still a suspect, he wasn't guilty of anything, so it shouldn't have come to a shooting," one man told CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday.
A key complaint of protesters has been that witnesses say the officer shot Brown as the teenager stood with his hands in the air. Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer's gun.
Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran, including four years with Ferguson, was named Friday as the officer who fired the fatal shots. Wilson was in the area around the time of the convenience store robbery, even if he did not try to stop Brown specifically because of that alleged robbery, Jackson said.

Original Story

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) -- Police named the officer involved in the shooting of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown on Friday, then released documents containing a bombshell: The 18-year-old was the "primary suspect" in the robbery of a convenience store moments before he was killed.
Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the department, was responding to that call when he encountered Brown, police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters.
According to the documents, Brown roughly handled a clerk trying to stop him before walking out of the store with a box of Swisher Sweets cigars.
The unidentified police officer who wrote the incident report on the robbery said he identified Brown by comparing surveillance images of the incident to the body of the slain teen.
The claim immediately met with skepticism among some in the community, who have accused Ferguson police of attempting a cover-up to protect the officer.
One resident interviewed by CNN said police are "tarnishing this young man's name."
"Anyone could walk in the store and they could get surveillance and take a picture," the woman said. "I don't see that he's robbing the store. I just see a picture of a young man."
On Twitter, community members and activists expressed disappointment and outrage.
"How can they not release info on the shooting but link #MikeBrown to robbery. Shame on them," @NafisMWhite tweeted.
The release of Wilson's name satisfied a key demand of protesters and critics of the handling of the case by the suburban St. Louis police department and St. Louis County investigators handling the probe.
But, especially in light of the robbery allegations, the release of Wilson's name is unlikely to quell protests in the city and elsewhere over the death of an unarmed African-American man at the hands of a police officer.
A key complaint of protesters has been that witnesses say the officer shot Brown as he stood with his hands in the air.
Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer's gun.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who had earlier put the State Highway Patrol in charge of protest security after a series of tense clashes between local police and protesters, applauded the release of the new details.
"I'm pleased that the people of Ferguson and the region began to get some long-overdue information today, and I will continue to call for openness and transparency as the parallel investigations into this tragedy proceed to their necessary conclusions," he said in a statement.
"For the sake of the family, the citizens of Ferguson and the entire region, it is vital that the investigations into the shooting death of Michael Brown move forward in a thorough, open and transparent manner to ensure that trust is restored and justice is done," he said.
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