The police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9 was Darren Wilson, Police Chief Thomas Jackson revealed at a press conference at 9:45 a.m. on Aug. 15. Wilson has no record of disciplinary action in his six years with the Ferguson, Missouri police department, Jackson said, adding that he was treated for injuries on the day of the incident. Jackson offered no other details and refused to answer any other questions.
After Jackson promised yesterday evening to release the shooting officer’s name, the violence and looting that disrupted Ferguson over the last few days came to a stop. Demonstrations continued, and under watchful eye of Missouri State Highway Patrol instead of city police, but were peaceful, CNN reports.
Jackson’s decision to release the information may have been induced by incorrect identification of another officer by Anonymous, an authority-watch group. On Thursday morning through its @TheAnonMessage Twitter account, Anonymous had identified Officer Bryan P. Willman as the shooter. Photos of Willman were included in the messages. Later that day, Twitter deactivated the @TheAnonMessage account.
Jackson had previously declined to identify the officer, and despite multiple requests from media and the public, stating the risk of retaliation as basis.
On Aug. 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown and friend Dorian Johnson, 22 – both unarmed – were walking on a Ferguson street when a local police car stopped in front of them. “We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer,” Johnson said.
A verbal altercation quickly followed, and current reports say that one shot was fired inside the patrol car. According to Johnson and other witnesses, Brown was struck from the back by gunshot while trying to leave the area. Brown turned with both hands raised, telling the officer he was unarmed, but the policeman continued firing, Johnson says, taking Brown’s life in the process.
Local demonstrations over the incident quickly began, and escalated to store lootings. Many in the community, as well as media covering the public outrage, were arrested. Ferguson’s police department later surrendered jurisdiction of the St. Louis suburb to state police.