A new Michael Brown video, which was featured in the documentary Stranger Fruit, appears to provide additional details about the events leading up to the controversial Ferguson shooting. Although the video did not capture the teen’s death at the hands of former Officer Darren Wilson, filmmaker Jason Pollock said it proves Brown did not commit a robbery prior to his encounter with authorities.
According to a United States Department of Justice memorandum, Michael Brown “stole several packages of cigarillos” from the Ferguson Market and Liquor convenience store at approximately 11:53 a.m. on August 9, 2014. After struggling with a store clerk, the 18-year-old exited the store with the stolen goods.
As stated in the memorandum, the theft was confirmed by authorities, who viewed the convenience store’s surveillance footage.
Amid the alleged robbery, a witness contacted authorities to report a “stealing in progress.” The description of the robbery and the suspects was subsequently broadcast to the Ferguson Police Department, including former Officer Darren Wilson — who was patrolling the neighborhood.
According to reports, Wilson spotted Michael Brown and a friend walking down the street near the convenience store. In addition to the physical description provided by dispatch, the former officer believed Brown was the robbery suspect because he was carrying a bag of cigarillos.
After calling for backup, Darren Wilson reportedly parked his cruiser in front of Brown and his friend in an attempt to obstruct their path. Although he then attempted to exit the vehicle, “the door came into contact with Brown’s body and either rebounded closed or Brown pushed it closed.”
What happened next remains a point of heated controversy and debate.
According to Wilson, Michael Brown reached into the cruiser through the driver side window and physically assaulted the officer. However, several witnesses “stated that Wilson reached out of the SUV and grabbed Brown by the neck.”
Former Officer Wilson said Brown reached into the cruiser in an attempt to take his gun. Amid the struggle, the gun fired twice and the teen was subsequently shot in the hand.
The Department of Justice concluded, “Although no eyewitnesses directly corroborate Wilson’s account of Brown’s attempt to gain control of the gun, there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s account of what occurred inside the SUV.”
After being shot, Michael Brown attempted to flee the scene on foot. In response, Darren Wilson exited his vehicle and began chasing the teen.
According to reports, Brown eventually stopped and turned toward the former officer with his hands in the air. However, “Brown continued to move toward Wilson,” which the officer perceived as a threat. In response, Darren Wilson fired 10 shots at the teen until he fell to the ground dead.
— MoorInfo (@MoorInformation) March 12, 2017
The Ferguson shooting remains a point of heated controversy because the unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a white police officer. Although Brown did not have a weapon, and his hands were clearly in the air, Wilson argued that his refusal to stop amounted to a physical threat.
In the weeks following the Ferguson shooting, authorities released a surveillance video — which appeared to prove Michael Brown robbed the Ferguson Market and Liquor convenience store prior to his shooting death. However, a newly released video may prove otherwise.
The nature of the transaction in the new video will likely remain a point of debate. However, it does prove Michael Brown visited the Ferguson Market and Liquor convenience store twice in the hours before he was shot and killed.
In the first video, which was released by the Ferguson Police Department in August 2014, Brown appeared to rob the Ferguson Market and Liquor convenience store and physically struggle with a clerk. However, new footage suggests the teen may have been retrieving items he left at the store earlier that same day.
According to the new video, Michael Brown first visited the convenience store in the early morning hours of August 9, 2014. As reported by New York Times, the teen walked up to the counter and handed the clerk “a small bag.” In exchange, the clerk appeared to give Brown “a shopping sack filled with cigarillos.”
Although he had the bag of cigarillos in his hand, he gave them back to the clerk before exiting the store. According to Jason Pollock, Brown returned to the convenience store at around noon to retrieve the cigarillos.
Pollock said the new Michael Brown video clearly shows the teen “giving a small bag of marijuana to store employees and receiving cigarillos in return as part of a negotiated deal.” Therefore, they were never stolen.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 12, 2017
Attorney Jay Kanzler, who represents the Ferguson Market and Liquor convenience store, also viewed the new Michael Brown video. However, he said Pollock misinterpreted what happened in the video. In his opinion, “there was no transaction… There was no understanding. No agreement… The reason he gave it back is he was walking out the door with unpaid merchandise and they wanted it back.”
Although the new Michael Brown video raises questions about the events leading up to the Ferguson shooting, it is not expected to change the Department of Justice’s determination in the case.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]