Ferguson Protests Erupt Following Release of New Video
New protests were reported overnight in Ferguson, Missouri. A group of people assembled outside of the Ferguson Market in response to new video of Michael Brown in the store hours before the alleged robbery took place. He was then approached, shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a St. Louis police officer. The new video, shown over the weekend at the South by Southwest music festival, casts some doubt on the allegations that he had robbed the convenience store.
On August 9, 2014, Wilson was in the area working on a case that had nothing to do with the Ferguson Market. He later said he stopped Brown and his friend because they were walking down the middle of the street and blocking traffic. Word had gone out on the police dispatch radio with a description of two African American men who had stolen some cigarillos from the store and then assaulted the clerk before leaving. Wilson says he recognized the pair from the description he was given.
An altercation ensued between Brown and Wilson. Wilson’s service weapon was discharged twice. After Brown fled, he was chased by Wilson who ended up shooting the unarmed teenager six times. After he died, Brown’s body was left laying in the street for hours as police did their investigations. It was recorded as getting to the morgue at 4:37 that afternoon when the shooting took place around noon.
The incident sparks protests in Ferguson and around the nation.
Tensions had been running high in many communities around the country. The shooting of Brown came a few years after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida. Zimmerman had shot Trayvon Martin after following the teen through his neighborhood. There were also a number of other high profile shootings of unarmed African Americans by the police. As a consequence, the country was ripe for unrest after Brown was killed.
Filmmaker Jason Pollack released a new documentary, “Stranger Fruit,” about the incident. It includes new surveillance video from the Ferguson Market that shows Brown handing the clerks a baggie of something, which looks like pot. The clerks hand Brown a package of cigarillos, which he gives them back. Pollack and others say he gave the package back to the clerks to keep it behind the counter for “safe keeping.” They say that Brown was back in the store later in the day to get that package. The owners of the store dispute that account.
Overnight, the store was once again the site of a protest. It is unclear how many people were involved or how many arrests were made.