Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
It's been three days now since Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black teenager, was shot multiple times by a police officer, and Ferguson Missouri officials have yet to name the officer in question. They cite fear for the officer's safety. This is rather ironic, as the officer certainly had no regard for the safety of this young man whose only crime was "walking while black." Further, police officials don't seem interested in interviewing eyewitness Dorian Johnson, the friend that victim Michael Brown was walking with that evening.
The unnamed officer's account of the events that night point to a struggle over the officer's weapon, which lead to the unarmed victim being shot at least three times, and once at close range. The New York Times details the officer's version of events, as explained by Jon Belmar, Ferguson Chief of Police:
"Just after noon on Saturday, the police said, an officer in a patrol car approached Mr. Brown and another man. As the officer began to leave his vehicle, one of the men pushed the officer back into the car and 'physically assaulted' him, according to the police department's account.- Advertisement -
"A struggle occurred 'over the officer's weapon,' and at least one shot was fired inside the car, Chief Belmar said. The two left the car, and the officer shot Mr. Brown about 35 feet away from the vehicle, the police reported. Several shots were fired from the officer's weapon."
Eyewitness accounts of the shooting differ wildly from the officer's version of events. This is from ABC News:
"A black teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer had his hands raised when the officer approached with his weapon drawn and fired repeatedly, according to two men who said they witnessed the shooting that sparked a night of unrest in suburban St. Louis. Investigators have refused to publicly disclose the race of the officer, who is now on administrative leave. But Phillip Walker said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot and saw a white officer with Brown on the street.
"Brown 'was giving up in the sense of raising his arms and being subdued,' Walker told The Associated Press on Monday. The officer 'had his gun raised and started shooting the individual in the chest multiple times.' The officer then 'stood over him and shot him' after the victim fell wounded."
And even though the investigators have thus far refused to interview the one living person who witnessed the entire tragic event, Dorian Johnson did describe what he saw that night to several different media outlets in the last few days. This is the detailed report from MSNBC, following their discussion with Johnson:
"About 20 minutes before the shooting, Johnson said he saw Brown walking down the street and decided to catch up with him. The two walked and talked. That's when Johnson says they saw the police car rolling up to them.- Advertisement -
"The officer demanded that the two 'get the f--k on the sidewalk,' Johnson says. 'His exact words were get the f--k on the sidewalk.'
"After telling the officer that they were almost at their destination, Johnson's house, the two continued walking. But as they did, Johnson says the officer slammed his brakes and threw his truck in reverse, nearly hitting them. Now, in line with the officer's driver's side door, they could see the officer's face. They heard him say something to the effect of, 'what'd you say?' At the same time, Johnson says the officer attempted to thrust his door open but the door slammed into Brown and bounced closed. Johnson says the officer, with his left hand, grabbed Brown by the neck.
"'I could see the muscles in his forearm,' Johnson said. 'Mike was trying to get away from being choked.... They're not wrestling so much as his arm went from his throat to now clenched on his shirt,' Johnson explained of the scene between Brown and the officer. 'It's like tug of war. He's trying to pull him in. He's pulling away, that's when I heard, 'I'm gonna shoot you.'
"At that moment, Johnson says he fixed his gaze on the officer to see if he was pulling a stun gun or a real gun. That's when he saw the muzzle of the officer's gun.
"'I seen the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,' he said. 'He had it pointed at him and said 'I'll shoot,' one more time.' A second later Johnson said he heard the first shot go off. 'I seen the fire come out of the barrell,' he said. 'I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close.'