Six days after Michael Brown‘s death, Officer Darren Wilson was revealed today as the police man who shot the 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri resident.
In a press conference, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson was visibly shaken by a reporter’s question that asked if Darren Wilson was officer responsible for shooting Brown. Jackson’s response to the question is seen in this video (at the 9:58 mark). The Police Chief’s reaction has left some wondering if the police department release the name because it was the right thing to do, or because they knew the name was out there already so they just wanted to get ahead of it?
During the press conference, reporters also asked Jackson why this information has not been released before. Visibly flustered, he replied, “The threats of death against the officer who was wrongly identified as the shooter, and by the office policy to not release the name until they are formally charged…we’re having some conversations about that. We’re taking this day by day.”
NewsOne is reporting that an Internet hacking group, Anonymous, previously released an incorrect name. After Ferguson police said they would not release the officer’s name due to threats, the group took responsibility for waging cyber-attacks on the city police’s website. Jackson confirmed that someone hacked into the website and shut it down for much of Monday, two days after Brown was killed.
The Police Chief told ABC News that at the time of the shooting on Saturday, Brown’s shooter, Officer Darren Wilson, was on a routine patrol when he encountered Brown and the teen’s friend walking in the street. Authorities have said that a scuffle ensued after the officer asked the teens to move to the side. The details of what transpired after are unclear, but witnesses allege that Brown’s hands were raised when he was eventually shot multiple times, and killed. “We’re learning and we’re moving forward,” Jackson said at the press conference. “This all starts now to heal, to just make things better.”
Missouri governor, Jay Nixon told ABC News that releasing the name of Officer Wilson is helping Ferguson’s healing process. “I was pleased to hear the chief indicate this would be a day in which, finally, that initial name would come out, and we’ll work to make sure that his family [is safe] and there’s security around that,” Nixon told ABC News. “I think those kinds of concrete steps of transparency leading to justice are vitally important now to heal the old wounds that have been made a fresh by this difficult and horrific situation.”
Officials have moved the six-year police veteran and his family from the town as a safety precaution. As we enter the sixth day since Brown’s death, there’s been a noticeable shift in violent reactions to his death. Nixon has chosen to swap out riot gear wearing local and county officers who point rifles at demonstrators with state highway patrol officers who surprisingly have been walking side-by-side with protestors.
This small shift is a major change in tensions that have flared between heavily armed police and Brown supporters. While justice is still necessary here, the outcries of people across the nation has helped change authorities’ reactions. The unarmed teen’s death has sparked social media outrage and community activism–and for many onlookers, it’s been a beautiful thing to watch a generation fight for justice.
Check Out This Gallery Of Supporters Of Mike Brown For Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: