As details grow in Michael Browns death, questions linger

Published: Aug 12, 2014 23:10pm EDT
By Rick Rinker, Political Editor for Konsume Politics

Please Note: This article was updated Aug 13, 2014 @ 11:34am EDT


18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead on a residential street near his home in Ferguson, just outside of St. Louis, on Saturday afternoon. According to many locals there has been a long history of violence on the part of the police department, and mistrust by its residents over the years.

There is an investigation underway by both County Police as well as the FBI, but a firsthand account has been made by the person who was with Michael Brown when he was shot.

Dorian Johnson, 22, told MSNBC that they were "walking down the street, in the middle of the street". He claims that they were not impeding traffic on the two-lane neighborhood road when an officer pulled up to the pair and told them to "get the fuck on the sidewalk."

According to Johnson, he told the officer that they were nearing their destination and would be out of the way shortly. It was then that the officer slammed his car into reverse and the pair "had to step back out of the way of the officers' vehicle".

Once the car was parallel with Brown and Johnson the, still unidentified, officer allegedly reached out of the patrol car window and grabbed Brown around the neck in an attempt to restrain him. As Brown attempted to free himself Johnson claims the officer announced that "he would shoot."

As Brown attempted to free himself a gunshot rang out, there was a moment of stillness from all parties, and Johnson claims that even the officer appeared to be stunned, as if it were an accident.

After a brief moment both Brown and Johnson began to run. It was then that Johnson claims the officer got out of the car and began walking toward Brown who was running, and fired another shot, striking him in the back.

At this point Brown stopped, put his hands in the air and attempted to tell the officer that he was unarmed. According to Johnson it was then that the officer fired several more shots, killing Brown. Dorian Johnson then fled on foot.

There is no way to corroborate the timeline given by Dorian Johnson as the Ferguson Police Department does not have dashcam recorders in the police vehicles.

Police claim that Brown was attempting to grab the officer's weapon during the struggle, but that too cannot be corroborated as there is a lack of video footage, or even the credibility of the officer cannot be ascertained since the identity of the officer has not been released.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that body-worn cameras were recently purchased for the department, but that they have not yet been deployed for use yet. While police have released the names of those arrested in the protests/riots from the weekend, they are not releasing the name of the officer involved in the shooting as scores of angry residents are demanding answers and accountability.

There was looting and violence in the streets of Ferguson on Sunday, while several police agencies responded with SWAT teams, tear gas and rubber bullets. The family of Michael Brown has called for an end to the violence.

Perhaps the real question that should be asked in this situation is why, in 2014, after more than a decade of police departments around the nation purchasing military surplus equipment, are there not cameras in every patrol car and on every officer?


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Rick Rinker
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