Why was Michael Brown shot?
On August 9, 2014, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.
The details of the shooting are in dispute: eyewitnesses say Brown was killed while trying to surrender, but police say Brown assaulted Wilson prior to the shooting. Police also saidBrown was a suspect in a robbery earlier that day, but they later clarified that Wilson initially stopped Brown for jaywalking, not the alleged robbery.
What’s confirmed so far
1) Wilson shot and killed Brown in the early afternoon of Saturday, August 9, outside of an apartment complex.
2) Brown was unarmed. The shell casings found on scene were from Wilson’s gun.
3) Wilson fired at least one round from his squad car. Brown died about 35 feet from the car.
4) Wilson has been on the police force for six years, and he’s never faced disciplinary action. He has been put on paid administrative leaveafter the shooting.
What’s disputed about the shooting
The accounts of eyewitnesses and police differ. Here is what the people at the scene of the shooting say happened.
Dorian Johnson’s account
This is what Johnson, a friend of Brown’s who was with him when he died, said happened: He and Brown were walking in the middle of the street when Wilson intercepted them and told them to get on the sidewalk. When Wilson tried to get out of his car, the door hit the men and ricocheted into Wilson — upsetting the officer. Wilson grabbed Brown by the neck, and Brown tried to get away. Wilson pulled out his gun and shot Brown. At that point, Brown and Johnson began to run away and the officer fired again. When Brown realized he was hit, he turned around and raised his hands in the air. Wilson approached Brown and fired several more shots.
Piaget Crenshaw’s account
This is what Crenshaw, who saw the shooting while she was waiting for a ride to work, said happened: She saw Wilson try to place Brown into the squad car. When Brown ran away with his hands in the air, Wilson fired several shots. Crenshaw took photos of the exchange, which she turned over to police.
The police account
This is what St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who’s leading the investigation into Brown’s death, said happened, according to Wilson: Brown physically assaulted Wilson prior to the shooting. Wilson attempted to get out of the car, but Brown pushed him back into the vehicle. Brown then physically assaulted Wilson and attempted to grab the officer’s weapon, according to Belmar. At that point, the first shot was fired from the police car and eventually another shot hit and killed Brown 35 feet from the car. Wilson was reportedly injured during the encounter, and one side of his face was left swollen.
Police say Brown was a robbery suspect
Ferguson Police claim Brown and Johnson robbed a convenience store prior to the shooting. Police clarified, however, that Wilson wasn’t aware of the robbery allegations at the time of the initial stop and was instead stopping Brown for jaywalking. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Wilson realized Brown could be the suspect of the robbery when he spotted the potentially stolen cigars in Brown’s hand in the middle of the stop.
How many shots were fired?
There are varying accounts of how many times Wilson shot Brown. Belmar said “more than just a couple [times], but I don’t think it was many more than that.” Eyewitnesses indicate four shots were fired, and Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said she was told police shot Brown eight times. The police announced they will not release the results of the autopsy on Brown’s, which will make it more difficult for the public to know how many shots were fired. But law enforcement did release the body to Brown’s family, and the family plans to allow another investigation of the body. http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details#E5758346