Ferguson police have named the officer who killed Michael Brown. Missouri Police Chief Tom Jackson has just named the shooter of 18-year-old Michael Brown. His killer is Darren Wilson, a 6-year veteran officer. Jackson made his announcement earlier today in front of a convenience mart that was burned down by protestors. Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting, has no history of disciplinary action on his record.
Jackson, who struggled at times to keep his composure, did not name Wilson’s race, despite shouts for more information.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed last Saturday after a scuffle involving Brown and another man, 22-year-old Dorian Johnson, occurred inside of a Ferguson patrol car. Brown, who was reportedly unarmed, was shot after the confrontation continued outside of the police car. The shooting — and the decision by police to withhold the officer's name — has sparked week long protests and violent riots and looting.
The USA Today on Aug. 12 reported that a witness said Brown’s killer was white:
Phillip Walker [a witness to the incident] said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot and saw a white officer with Brown on the street,
Ferguson's police force has 53 officers; three are black.
“We need to get justice in this case,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said before police released the name. “It’s good news that after a great deal of prodding they’re going to release the name of this officer.”
Nixon stepped in to oversee the state of affairs in Ferguson after uprisings, which started last Sunday night, led to several evenings of protestors clashing with police. By Thursday, a relative calm was restored to the streets of Ferguson, a community of 21,000 with a 70 percent black population.
“We saw an acceleration in the tone and the armor and knew it was time to make a change,” Nixon said. “Folks felt like they were under siege. When police forces work best, they’re part of the community, not a separate force to control that community.”
Writes the NY Times today:
Chief Jackson said Mr. Wilson had been alerted to a robbery at a convenience store shortly before the encounter with the teenager, Michael Brown, 18, who was walking home from a store on Saturday when he was shot.
It’s unclear if Brown had anything to do with the robbery, or if police had stopped him because he matched a description of the potential suspect.
The hacker group Anonymous saw their Twitter account suspended this week after the international network of hacktivists, known for their publicity stunts and cyber attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites, implicated the wrong cop in the St. Louis shooting of Michael Brown.
The group has since claimed that their action to release the incorrect name was what prompted St. Louis police to finally reveal the shooter's identify today.
The shooting touched off a week of violent protests and riots.
Multiple YouTube videos captured mostly black males, many of whom had handkerchiefs or other articles of clothing covering their faces, smashing and grabbing items from destroyed storefronts. Police were forced to use tear gas rounds in order to quell the crowd.
Groups of individuals in the largely black St. Louis suburb have been causing nightly mayhem. Over 50 individuals were arrested this week. President Barack Obama issued a call for reflection, not violence.
“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but … I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” Obama said in a statement earlier in the week.
Flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Brown’s father Michael Brown Sr. even called for peace Tuesday night at a church vigil.
“I need all of us to come together and do this right, the right way,” said Brown Sr. “No violence.”
More information on Wilson will be revealed as details become available.