A suburban St. Louis police has identified the officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager ignited weeks of heated protests.
CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports from Ferguson.
During a news conference, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released several reports and documents alleging 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson after a robbery in which Brown was suspected of stealing a box of cigars. Wilson has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting. At a later press conference Friday, Jackson said the initial incident between Brown and Wilson was not related to the robbery, and that Brown was stopped because he was walking in the middle of the street, blocking traffic.
“My heart goes out to the family,” Jackson said. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
The move to identify the officer comes after the American Civil Liberties Union sued St. Louis County and the county police Thursday, seeking copies of initial police reports of the shooting.
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Civil rights leaders from around the country, community activists and protesters have called for the officer yo be identified and held accountable for the killing.
Brown’s death has sparked several days of clashes with furious protesters in the city. The mood was quelled on Thursday, after the governor turned oversight of the protests to the state Highway Patrol. State troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protesters replaced the county police in riot gear and armored tanks of previous nights.
The protests cast a spotlight on racial tensions in greater St. Louis, where civil rights groups have complained in the past of racial profiling by police, arresting a disproportionate number of blacks, and discriminatory police hiring practices.
Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning, according to police reports. Jackson said Wilson went to the area after a call to police reporting a “strong-arm” robbery just before noon. He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Wilson, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate.
At a press conference Friday, Jackson said after reviewing the tapes Johnson was not suspected of committing a crime.
Below are images from security cameras. Police say the footage shows a confrontation between Brown and an employee at the store.
Report compiled with information from Reuters and The Associated Press