Ferguson Police Use Press Conference To Criminalize Michael Brown

Officer Darren Wilson was responding to a robbery when he shot Brown, but that doesn't explain why he killed the teen.

The man who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday is police officer Darren Wilson, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said at a press conference Friday morning. Officer Wilson, who has been with the force for six years, was responding to an armed robbery at a convenience store before his encounter with Brown, Chief Jackson said. Wilson is on paid administrative leave. The FBI and the Justice Department have begun independent investigations into Brown's shooting.

Brown was reportedly walking home when he was shot last weekend. Refusal to release the officer's name earlier sparked frustration in the St. Louis suburb, leading to protests and destruction of property.

Law enforcement's reaction to the unrest reflected a military response similar to that of a war zone. Police used armored vehicles and officers with crowd control dogs confronted the peaceful protesters, until Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri Highway Patrol to take over security. Almost immediatedly, the situation became calmer, the New York Times reports.

Police took the opportunity of the press conference to try to to "criminalize" Brown. According to a police reporttweeted by Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly, Brown allegedly stole a pack of Swisher Sweet cigars at a store. Dorian Johnson, Brown's friend and witness to his fatal shooting, is also suspected of helping in the robbery. Police also released photos of a large man at the store where a robbery took place. It is not confirmed yet whether the man was Brown.

Johnson has claimed that neither he nor Brown committed any crime.According to several journalists reporting from Ferguson, no information in the report deals with the shooting or Wilson's interaction with Brown.

Cops are supposed to use deadly force only when lives are in danger. No one should lose their life for being a robbery suspect. The only thing that is suspect so far is the withholding of information being released about Wilson's final interaction with Brown before the shooting. Instead of releasing a photo of Wilson, police released photos of a large black man allegedly assaulting someone at a store. A Google search of "Darren Wilson" shows the photos of the man who supposedly committed a robbery.

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior editor at AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @Russian_Starr.

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