This story has been updated from its original version.
After six days of unrest and discord, and several false reports, the Ferguson Police Department finally released the name of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Friday. He has been identified as Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force who has no previous disciplinary actions against him.
The name was revealed in a very brief statement by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.
In addition to the name of the officer, police handed out packets of information, including an incident report, dispatch calls, and surveillance video stills related to a "strong arm robbery" at a local convenience store. The police report identifies Brown as the primary suspect in that robbery, according to reporter Ryan Reilly. Officer Wilson was apparently responding to that call when he encountered Michael Brown on Saturday.
No other information was given out, including no further details about the actual encounter between Brown and Wilson. The police chief did not take questions from the media.
Update (2:00 p.m.): CNN had now obtained the actual video of the alleged robbery. The Brown attorney later conceded that it does look like Michael Brown is in the video.
However, after this morning's press conference, Brown's family attorney released a statement saying accusing the Ferguson PD of attempting to "assassinate the character" of Brown, by releasing the robbery info at the same time as they released the name of the shooter.
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.
Police also say Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown when he was shot, will not face charges for the robbery.
Update (3:15 p.m.): Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson held a second press conference this afternoon, where he said that the robbery was not related to the confrontation between Brown and Wilson. Jackson said the officer stopped Brown because he was in the street blocking traffic, and did not know about the robbery or that Brown might be a suspect.
When Jackson was asked why he chose to release the robbery tape today if it had nothing to do with the shooting, he replied that he had to because "the media asked for it."
As we reported earlier this week, ACLU put in open records request for incident pertaining to the *shooting*. Nothing about a robbery.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 15, 2014
Update (7:21 p.m.): It appears that Chief Jackson's story has evolved once again. Jackson told the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Friday that Wilson stopped Brown and Johnson because they were walking in the street, and not because he thought he was a suspect in the robbery. However, after stopping him, Wilson noticed that Brown was carrying cigars and then realized he might be the robber.
According to a St. Louis alderman Antonio French, the announcement will come at 8:00 a.m. Central Standard Time.
At 8:00 police will release the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown. #Ferguson— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 15, 2014
Citing safety concerns, the Ferguson Police Department have refused to make the identity of the officer in question publicly known, despite public calls for its release, including by the lawyer representing Michael Brown's family. On Thursday, the hacker collective Anonymous tweeted the name and photographs of someone it claimed was the officer responsible, but that was quickly denied by officials in St. Louis County, and the Anonymous accounts were suspended by Twitter.
Meanwhile, protests have spread throughout the country including Washington, D.C., Georgia, and New York City, where demonstrators convened in Times Square on Thursday evening, prompting four arrests. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which was tasked with handling security in Ferguson by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday afternoon, reportedly marched along with protesters on Thursday evening. It was the first night of relative calm since Saturday's shooting.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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