The public outcry over the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin murder case was nothing compared to the outrage and riots that have occurred after a police officer shot a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of the case are still unfolding.
“Brown and Dorian Johnson, 22, were walking in the middle of the street, en route to either Brown’s grandmother’s house (according to Brown’s mother and grandmother) or to Johnson’s house (according to Johnson), when a Ferguson police officer confronted them. The officer told the young men either ‘Get the f*** on the sidewalk’ or ‘Get the f*** out of the street,’ according to Johnson’s accounts to CNN and other news outlets. Police have not commented on what preceded the shooting. The young men replied that they were ‘not but a minute away from our destination, and we would shortly be out of the street,’ Johnson told CNN. The officer drove away but stopped and backed up, almost hitting the pair, Johnson said. He said he wasn’t sure what prompted the officer to return. Johnson told MSNBC the officer said something to the effect of ‘What’d you say?’ ‘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.”
The St. Louis County Police also went on record to explain some of the details of the incident:
“The preliminary investigation showed that the officer tried to exit his vehicle, but Brown pushed him back into the car, ‘where he physically assaulted the police officer’ and struggled over the officer’s weapon, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. A shot was fired inside the police car, Belmar said. After the incident, the officer was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for a ‘swollen face,’ according to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.”
The identity of the police officer that killed Brown was later released as Officer Darren Wilson. More details about the case were also released by Fox News:
“The unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb, fit the description of a suspect in a strong-arm robbery that happened minutes earlier, a suburban St. Louis police chief said at a Friday press conference at which the officer was publicly identified for the first time. Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that the robbery took place just before noon on Saturday at a nearby convenience store roughly 10 minutes before a police officer identified as Darren Wilson fired the bullet that killed Michael Brown. Police say that the shot was fired after a struggled touched off by Wilson’s confronting Brown.”
There are a few things that all the witnesses can agree with. There was a struggle between Wilson and Brown. According to the police department, Brown attack Wilson in an attempt to take his gun. CNN reported:
“Johnson claims the officer grabbed Brown by his neck, and Brown tried to pull away, but the officer kept pulling Brown toward him, he said. The officer drew his weapon, and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot’ and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown, Johnson said. Witness Tiffany Mitchell was picking up Piaget Crenshaw for work when she saw Brown and the officer ‘tussling through the window.’ Mitchell and Crenshaw concurred with Johnson, saying Brown appeared to be trying to pry himself from the officer’s grasp. Brown had his hand on the police cruiser, trying to push himself away, Mitchell said.”
There is also no dispute that Brown was unarmed:
“Every casing found at the scene came from the officer’s gun, Belmar said, and witnesses say that after the officer shot Brown, the two young men took off running. ‘I saw the officer proceeding after my friend, Big Mike, with his gun drawn, and he fired a second shot, and that struck my friend, Big Mike,’ Johnson said. ‘And at that time, he turned around with his hands up, beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. But at that time, the officer was firing several more shots into my friend, and he hit the ground and died.’ This matches Crenshaw’s and Mitchell’s story. Crenshaw told CNN that Brown got about 20 feet away from the police cruiser before the officer shot him again. ‘The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting,’ Mitchell said. ‘(Brown’s) body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around, and he put his hands up. … The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground, and his face just smacked the concrete.’”
One of the details that I am interested in is the amount of shots that were fired and the location where the shots were fired. It is one thing to shoot your gun to protect yourself. It is another to fire multiple rounds at different times. It is also another to shoot an unarmed person as he or she is fleeing.