FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF Thomas Jackson identified the officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last Saturday as Darren Wilson.
In making the announcement, Jackson reversed course on his previous decision not to release the officer’s name due to concerns for the officer’s safety in the wake of death threats.
Even as Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson did everything he could to protect the officer’s reputation, he seemed to damage the reputation of the one man who couldn’t speak for himself–Michael Brown.
In naming the officer, Jackson was careful to state that Wilson–a six year veteran of the force–had no prior disciplinary incidents on his record. He also said Wilson was treated for injuries he sustained during what police allege was a scuffle with Brown.
But even as Jackson did everything he could to protect the officer’s reputation, he seemed to damage the reputation of the one man who couldn’t speak for himself–Michael Brown.
Was Michael Brown a robbery suspect?
In an odd juxtaposition of facts that implied Brown was somehow involved in a crime on the day he died, Jackson mentioned a robbery that took place shortly before the altercation between Brown and Officer Wilson.
Jackson did not say there was a direct correlation between the robbery report and Brown’s death, but he said a description of the robbery suspect being aired just 10 minutes before Brown’s death.
Jackson said the call about a robbery came at 11:51 a.m., a radio description went out at 11:52, and at 12:01, Officer Wilson saw Michael Brown on Canfield Drive, the Ferguson, MO street where Brown died.
Questions in Michael Brown shooting
So was Brown–a young man set to go to college in two days–involved in the robbery? If so, why would he be walking in the middle of the street with his friend? It makes no sense, which makes me question why the police chief would raise the issue in the first place.
And if two additional officers and an ambulance responded to the scene after Brown was shot, as Jackson said in today’s news conference, why was Brown’s uncovered body allowed to remain in the street for hours?
But there’s an even bigger question–one that has plagued all of us since the day we learned that Brown was shot to death by a police officer: Why would a police officer shoot an unarmed young man who witnesses say had his hands raised in surrender when the fatal shot was fired? And why, when Michael Brown is dead and gone, would the police chief intimate that the college bound young man was somehow a criminal?
It sounds to me as if the Ferguson police have decided to blame the victim. But with the eyes of the nation on Ferguson, the truth, whatever it is, will surely be revealed, and then Michael Brown can finally rest in peace.
Click here for “Save Our Boys,” Solomon Jones’s video commentary on Michael Brown.
Click here for Denise Clay’s commentary, “Don’t tell us how to grieve Michael Brown.”
Photo Credit: Justice for Michael Brown National Moment of Silence Anti-Police Brutality Rally at Meridian Hill Park, NW, Washington DC on Thursday evening, 14 August 2014 by Elvert Barnes Protest Photography
Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com. Click here to learn more about Solomon