Police identify officer who killed unarmed teen, allege young man robbed convenience store
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Police on Friday identified the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager and released documents alleging the young man had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store in a “strong-arm” robbery shortly before he was killed.
Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer did not know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting and stopped Michael Brown and a companion “because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.”
Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white officer, has patrolled suburban St. Louis for six years and had no complaints filed against him, Jackson said.
Brown’s relatives said no robbery would justify shooting the teen after he put his hands up. Family attorneys said Brown’s parents were blindsided by the allegations and the release of a surveillance video from the convenience store.
“It appears to be him,” attorney Daryl Parks said, referring to the footage, which he said was released without any advance notice from police.
Critics say Ferguson protest response shows giving US military gear to police has gone too far
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Missouri police department at the center of an uproar over the shooting death of an unarmed black teen-ager acquired two armored Humvees and other military gear for free through a Pentagon program that critics blame for “militarizing America’s Main Streets” and aggravating clashes between police and protesters.
The Ferguson Police Department received the two Humvees as well as a generator and a flatbed trailer under the surplus equipment program run by the Defense Logistics Agency, which is in charge of getting supplies of all types for the military.
News footage and photos of police outfitted in paramilitary gear clashing with protesters in Ferguson - a largely black suburb of St. Louis with a mostly white police force - have provided new impetus to efforts to rein in the Pentagon program. It provides assault weapons and other surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department surplus is being used as intended.
The program began in 1990 as a way to help states and local agencies fight drug-related crime. It was expanded in the mid-1990s.
Timeline of fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri