Shortly after the untimely shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown, slanderous reports started to gather in the media, painting the deceased teen in an unsavory light. And when a video was released by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson of a man who was alleged to be Brown pushing the clerk in a convenience store after an alleged “robbery,” many who suspected Brown was aggressor in the confrontation with a police officer who ultimately ended his life, were ready to label him a violent criminal.
After it turned out that Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, had no knowledge of any robbery in a convenient store before he killed the teen, many cried foul that the video was released at all as it had nothing to do with Brown’s death. Police Chief Jackson claimed during a press conference that he “had” to release the video. “All I did — what I did was — was release the videotape to you, because I had to,” Jackson told reporters on Aug. 15 when asked why he released the footage. “I’d been sitting on it, but I — too many people put in a [Freedom of Information Act] request for that thing, and I had to release that tape to you.” Turns out even that may not have been true.
Matthew Keys from The Blot is reporting, “A review of open records requests sent to the Ferguson Police Department found that no news organization, reporter or individual specifically sought the release of the surveillance tape before police distributed it on Aug. 15.” As it turns out, Jackson had no obligation nor overwhelming requests to release the tape that seemingly had nothing to do with Brown’s death. In fact, he even said out of his own mouth that the tape was unrelated to the shooting!
Keys requested a copy of all open records requests (specifically the release of the convenience store surveillance video) made by members of the public, including journalists and news organizations. Those logs show only one journalist, Joel Currier with the St. Louis Dispatch, who requested multimedia evidence “leading up to” Brown’s death.
These logs contradict Jackson’s claims that “a lot” of reporters were requesting the robbery tape. This entire ordeal actually drums up questions about the video even being considered in this case in the first place because Jackson admitted that Brown’s death was not directly related to the incident from the store. The Department of Justice asked the Ferguson police not to distribute the video, according to NBC News, but Jackson made the executive decision to release it. But why? One could only guess that all authorities worked together to ensure that their fellow officer (and killer) was victimized and Brown was demonized.
Brown’s family immediately released a statement urging the public to see beyond the media and the police department’s attempt to slander the slain teen:
The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.
It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.
The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.
The Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump told The Blot, “It follows a disturbing pattern of behavior by the Ferguson Police Department since this tragedy occurred. This simply serves as another example of why many in the Ferguson community lack trust in all of the local law enforcement officials and the grand jury process, in general and Chief Jackson, in particular.”
Well, well, well. What a tangled web the Ferguson police department has weaved. Thedepartment is currently under investigation, specifically about their conduct following Brown’s death. And by the looks of Jackson’s big lie, the investigation has a lot more to uncover.
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