The Ferguson Police Department has released the name of the officer that fatally shot Michael Brown on Saturday, and says that Brown was a suspect in a robbery at a convenience store shortly before the shooting.
Ferguson Police identify officer Darren Wilson as the officer that shot Brown multiple times. The Department says Wilson has been an officer for six years and has had no disciplinary action taken against him in the past.
Wilson is reported to be on paid administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation.
At the same time that the officer’s name was released, police released documents detailing the report of a strong-arm robbery in which a box of cigars were stolen, shortly before the shooting and security camera footage (scroll down) from that robbery. Brown is identified as a suspect in that robbery.
Reaction among protesters to the release has been largely negative, saying that police are trying to attack the character of the victim of the fatal police shooting.
An Attorney for Brown’s family, Anthony Gray, tells CNN he thinks the release of the robbery report is an attempt to assassinate Brown’s character, and says it is irrelevant to the shooting incident that occurred some ten minutes later.
“What we understand Michael Brown, Junior to be doing at the time that he received fatal shots to his body was displaying a universal sign of surrender,” says Gray, referring to witness reports that Brown had his hands up when he was shot. “If this part is true, from what witnesses are telling us, we don’t care what happened before that point … taking this as true, and (Officer Wilson) delivered bullets to this boy’s body at this time, he’s guilty of offense that we’re going to try to prosecute.”
The Highway Patrol Captain placed in charge of security at Ferguson, Ronald Johnson, says he did not know the information was going to be released.
“Today I will meet with the chief of Ferguson (police), and talk about how that was released,” says Johnson, “try to get a copy or be able to analyze the packet that they have, and this afternoon I will be walking back down to the Quik Trip and I will talk to the people there and explain what I see in the packet.”
Johnson refers to the Quik Trip convenience store near where Brown was shot, that has been where many protests have taken place and that was looted and burned during one protest that turned violent.
Johnson would not say whether his tactics for keeping Ferguson secure tonight would change, in light of potentially heightened tension after the release of the new information.
“I can tell you that our task here is to ensure the safety of the citizens of Ferguson, the health of the businesses in Ferguson, but also to ensure that the people of Ferguson have their voice, their right to speech, their right to gather is maintained, and that is what we’ll continue to do.”
Johnson says he is not aware whether any security measures have been taken by Ferguson police to protect Wilson now that his name has been released.