Police name officer who shot US teenager

Officer in state of Missouri says Darren Wilson encountered 18-year-old Michael Brown after robbery reports circulated.

Last updated: 15 Aug 2014 17:39
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Authorities in the US state of Missouri have identied the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, sparking violent protests and accusations of racism. 

Thomas Jackson, the top police officer for the city of Ferguson in Missouri, said police officer Darren Wilson encountered 18-year-old Michael Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, after reports of a robbery circulated on police radio.

Ferguson police had earlier withheld the name of the officer involved, citing security concerns. The move triggered rioting in the midwestern state.

Jackson said Brown was suspected of stealing cigars and pushing a clerk at a nearby convenience store earlier that day.

Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference, and said the police officer involved had been placed on administrative leave since the shooting on August 9.

According to the police reports, Brown and his friend Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning.

Jackson said the police officer behind the shooting, along with other officers, was called to the area after a police call reporting a "strong-arm'' robbery just before noon. 

Description of suspect 

He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Wilson, the shooter, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate.

Wilson, who has served in the police department for six years, encountered Brown just after 12:01pm, with a second officer arriving three minutes later, Jackson said.

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They said one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon.

At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

Al Jazeera's Diane Eastabrook, reporting from Ferguson, said that the latest press conference only answered some of the questions people in the city are asking.

Our correspondent also said that residents of Ferguson are asking why the information about the allegedly robbery was kept for several days.

Brown's friend Johnson has told the media a different story. He has said he and Brown were walking in the street when an officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Tensions boiled over after a candlelight vigil on Sunday night, as looters smashed and burned businesses in the neighbourhood, where police have repeatedly fired tear gas and smoke bombs.

But on Thursday, county police in riot gear and armoured tanks gave way to state troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protesters.


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