Shocking Twist in Ferguson Police Shooting
Cops revealed that the unarmed teen killed in Ferguson, Missouri, had earlier been caught on surveillance footage allegedly stealing cigars and strong-arming a store clerk. They also stated that the police officer who shot the teen did not know he was
It was the shocking, just-released surveillance video that sparked a national debate.
The video showed 18-year-old Michael Brown just a few minutes before he was shot dead by a police officer. He was inside a convenience store.
A Fox News reporter argued, "If they knew that Michael Brown was ostensibly involved in some sort of a robbery, why would they wait six days to release that information?"
Police said he had six cigars in his hand and argued with a clerk behind the counter. When Brown started to leave the store, the clerk ran after him. The 6'4" teen, who weighed over 290 pounds, pushed away the much smaller clerk, who then ran away.
The just-released police report said the clerk "was trying to lock the door until Brown returned the merchandise to him. That is when Brown grabbed (him) by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back into a display rack."
About 10 minutes later, the unarmed teenager was shot dead by a police officer not far from the store.
Cops in Ferguson, Missouri released the surveillance video and photos and said Brown was a suspect in the strong-armed robbery.
Now, the question: Will the new evidence change public perception of the incident that had inflamed the nation?
INSIDE EDITION's April Woodard spoke to TV personality and college professor Marc Lamont Hill.
"Do you think that this is character assassination?" asked Woodard.
He replied, "Whenever black people get killed, especially by law enforcement, we end up committing the dangerous act of criminalizing the victim. They try to convince us that because this person may have done something bad, that somehow they are worthy of the fate that they ultimately got."
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik criticized cops in Ferguson for taking so long to release the new information about the alleged robbery.
Kerik told INSIDE EDITION, "It may have created a completely different environment if the general public knew that Michael Brown was not targeted because of the color of his skin, but he was stopped because he was the suspect in a robbery."
Watch More of Kerik's Interview
The name of the cop who shot the teenager has also finally been released by Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson.
"The officer that was involved in the shooting of Michael Brown was Darren Wilson," said Jackson. "He has been a police officer for six years, has had no disciplinary action taken against him. He was treated for injuries which occurred on Saturday."
The dramatic developments came after the nation breathed a sigh of relief as the fifth night of demonstrations in Ferguson proceeded peacefully.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent was there during protesting.
He said, "We are just seeing here a little bit of citizen policing. Folks are out here trying to get people to stay off of the street. They're trying to get these cars moving, doing everything they can not to give the police an excuse to crack down. Check out this guy right here. He's telling people to stay off the street."
Much of the credit for keeping the peace was given to Missouri's Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who was placed in command of police by Missouri's governor. Johnson replaced local cops who were criticized for being too aggressive.
Trent asked, "What is the strategy of the state police tonight?"
Johnson replied, "This is our strategy. You're seeing it right here, out here talking, communicating, trying to find out what we can do to make a difference."
A photo of a demonstrator taking a selfie with a police officer last night showed how polar opposite the shocking battlefield scenes had been from Wednesday night, when police armed with military-style weaponry confronted demonstrators.
In response to Michael Brown's death, demonstrators across the country took to the streets in a show of solidarity with those in Ferguson.
In New York City, protestors raised their hands and chanted what had become the rallying cry over the controversial shooting.
As news helicopters circled overhead, demonstrators by the thousands marched into Times Square, but they were ground to a halt as hordes of police stood by.
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