By Missourinet contributor Jill Enders
A documentary on the Michael Brown case in Ferguson is generating controversy and more civil unrest.
At issue is the footage shown in the documentary “Stranger Fruit,” which was released over the weekend at a film festival in Texas. The surveillance video from Ferguson Market shows Brown inside of the store around 1 a.m. on August 9, 2014. The film’s creator and narrator Jason Pollock claims the footage shows Brown trading a bag of marijuana for Cigarellos with store employees. Pollock further claims he left the Cigarellos with the store employees to pick up later.
Later that same day, around 11:30 a.m. Brown returned to pick up those Cigarellos and not to rob the store, according to Pollock. That return visit shows Brown hitting the owner.
However, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch and Jay Kanzler, attorney for Ferguson Market, dispute Pollock’s claims, saying the footage in the documentary was edited.
“This is a clear attempt to distort this and turn it into something it isn’t. There was no transaction, but there certainly was an attempt to barter for these goods, but the store employees had no involvement in that, and when he left, they put everything where it belonged.” McCulloch said during a press conference he called on Monday afternoon at the St. Louis County Justice Center.
McCulloch also referred to the documentary as “pathetic.” “To suggest he’s coming back to get what he bartered for is just stupid.” added McCulloch.
McCulloch said this footage wasn’t released to the St. Louis County Grand jury because it wasn’t relevant to what happened in the store prior to the police confrontation on Canfield Drive. However, he said a police report regarding this footage was presented to the Grand Jury.
McCulloch also released an unedited version of the footage in question, which appears to support his claims of what happened that morning. The video is available here.
The documentary sparked protests in Ferguson on Sunday night. About 100 people gathered outside of Ferguson Market. Gunshots rang out during the protests. No one was hit in the gunfire.
One of the protesters, a woman, allegedly punched a police officer in the face and broke his nose. Her name is being withheld pending charges.
In another incident, 45 year-old Henry Stokes of Bellefontaine Neighbors allegedly tried to set a police car on fire by stuffing a napkin in the gas tank and attempting to light it with a cigarette lighter. Stokes has been charged with attempting to cause a catastrophe and resisting arrest.