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Journalist files lawsuit for Michael Brown's alleged juvenile criminal record

Protester holds sign calling for arrest of Police Officer Darren Wilson
Protester holds sign calling for arrest of Police Officer Darren Wilson
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Investigative journalist Charles C. Johnson has filed a lawsuit for the release of Michael Brown's juvenile criminal record, should one exist, as reported at GotNews on Friday.

Michael Brown was killed during a confrontation with Police Officer Darren Wilson, prompting riots and widespread looting in Ferguson, Missouri over the past two weeks. The reaction to the shooting by politicians, as well as media coverage of the event, has been called into question as being biased against the police officer before an investigation surrounding the circumstances of the altercation can be properly conducted.

For example, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for a "vigorous prosecution" of Officer Wilson, who was taken to the hospital after his confrontation with Michael Brown.

It was heavily and somewhat disingenuously reported that Michael Brown did not have a criminal history. Indeed, it was a headline in many cases, such as in USA Today. If Michael Brown turns out to have a juvenile criminal record, would that revelation also be worthy of headlines? Conversely, if Officer Wilson had a history of violence or discrimination, for example, it is quite likely that the mainstream media would find that information to be relevant.

Charles C. Johnson told the Brenner Brief that he became an investigative journalist because he was "sick of complaining about the narrative being pushed by the mainstream media," and so "he decided to take matters into his own hands."

The lawsuit comes after the St. Louis County Circuit clerk denied a Freedom of Information Act request by Johnson this week, claiming in part that if records exist, they are "clearly judicial records which are by statute to be held confidential and are not public records."

Despite the lack of a completed investigation, the rallying cry for supporters of Mike Brown is “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” based on the premise that Mike Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was gunned down in cold blood by a white police officer while Brown’s hands were raised in submission. But without an investigation, this scenario is far from certain.

Adding to the chaos in Ferguson is the influx of outside activists and groups into the area, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Amnesty International, Sojourners, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the New Black Panther Party, the Organization for Black Struggle, the Moorish Science Temple, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, the Nation of Islam, and the Universal African Peoples Organization among others.