Surveillance video allegedly showing Mike Brown stealing ‘rellos from a convenience store may have been released sooner if the Department of Justice did not tell the local police to keep it to themselves, saying that it would “increase tensions in the community.”
A note to the DOJ: Transparency is always the best policy.
In a written statement, the Brown family said in part,
The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.
Mike Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. last weekend. The killing was made highly visible by rioting that followed. Adding to that, of course, was the dramatic and frightening police response.
Reactions on Twitter to the revelation that Mike Brown stole cigars (rellos) from a convenience store (valued at $48.99) shortly before his death have been mixed. One of the more disturbing aspects of the surveillance video was how Brown treated the store’s owner, who was much smaller than him.
Some, like Roland Martin, are skeptical that the robbery even occurred in the first place.
In any event, it is unclear how Rev. Al Sharpton would know enough about Brown to refer to him as a “gentle giant.” It is also unclear how someone like U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) could claim that Officer Wilson is an “obvious” criminal without having the facts.
Riots and “Outside Elements”
Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal told Uma Pemmaraju on Fox News Saturday during “America’s News Headquarters,” that “outside elements” led to vandalism and looting in the tiny town.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 12, 2014
The town of Ferguson seems to be coming together to make it known that outsiders are responsible for the bad behavior, and further have attempted to stop them from tarnishing their town. On Saturday morning, however, looting continued despite the efforts of some to stop it.
This led to criticism that the police were not doing enough to stop the rioting.
I’m really proud of those who ran to block looters. They tried to redirect back to the chant “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” pic.twitter.com/dARQl1xTyx
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
The rioting hurt real people.
— B. (@princebraden) August 13, 2014
While the circumstances surrounding the initial confrontation between Officer Darren Wilson and Mike Brown remain largely undivulged, it is alleged that Brown and the officer who shot him struggled over the officer’s weapon.
Many have rightly observed that Mike Brown certainly did not deserve to die over a petty theft. However, this point is in dispute.
As reported at CNN:
Ferguson police released surveillance video of that robbery on Friday, but then emphasized that Wilson stopped Brown not because of the theft, but because Brown and a friend were ‘walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.’ Police say Wilson shot Brown after the teen fought with the officer in his patrol vehicle and groped for his gun.
According to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson,
The initial contact between Darren Wilson and Mike Brown was not related to the alleged theft of cigars.
As reported at Liberty Unyielding, a friend of Wilson, known only as “Josie,” called in to The Dana Loesch Radio Show, claiming that the police officer was unaware of the robbery, but did learn about it after the initial confrontation. A video taken shortly in the aftermath of the shooting has gone largely unnoticed, but a witness heard on the video describing the incident seems to confirm Josie’s account that after Officer Wilson yelled “freeze,” Brown “started bumrushing him,” as reported at the Conservative Tree House.
While Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal did not feel that the theft was relevant to the shooting, it may be relevant to the character of Mike Brown. If Mike Brown, just moments before the shooting, had no problems pushing around a store clerk, would he be the type of person who respected a police officer? It is a valid question.
With all due deference to Mike Brown’s grieving family, it is not “character assassination” if it is true.