Michael Brown was 18 and bound for his freshman year of college when
he was fatally shot on August 9, 2014, by a police officer in Ferguson,
Missouri, a St. Louis suburb. Without video evidence the circumstances
depend on testimony from a friend who was with him and from Darren
Wilson, the 28-year-old White policeman. Wilson stopped him on the street, reportedly for jaywalking. Accounts about the sequence differ from here. Johnson says the policeman initiated a conflict, police say Brown tried to grab Wilson’s gun. Both say Brown started to run, but police say Brown turned and charged Wilson, while Johnson says Brown turned around with
his hands raised. “I don’t have a gun! STOP!” he reportedly shouted, giving rise to protesters’ chant of “Hands up, don’t shoot!” Autopsy reports
showed six of Wilson’s bullets struck Brown, killing him on the spot.
Brown’s body was left on the pavement for four hours as reports circulated
and community rage mounted, culminating in protests, riots and looting that
received national coverage. A grand jury later declined to indict Wilson and
the US Justice Department concluded that Wilson was justified in killing
Brown in self-defense. But the DOJ also noted that the Ferguson Police
Department had a record of violating the rights of the majority-Black
Richard Knox is a journalist and NHMC Baritone who lives in Sandwich, NH.
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