Ferguson police name officer who shot Michael Brown

Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was named as the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb on Saturday.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Aug. 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM
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FERGUSON, Mo., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Police named Darren Wilson as the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown on Saturday, bowing at last to mounting pressure for transparency in the high-profile investigation.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson was a six-year veteran of the police force and had no disciplinary issues during his tenure.

Thomas also released some details about a strong arm robbery that occurred at a convenience store moments before Brown was killed. Police said they will release CCTV video of the robbery in progress, which may contain footage of a person whose description matches Brown.

Authorities initially refused to release his name, citing numerous death threats and fearing for the officer's safety. Others worried releasing his name and other details of the investigation would compromise a potential future trial.

On Thursday, hacktivist group Anonymous released the name and photo of a person they claimed to be the officer who had shot Brown. St. Louis County police later said they had named the wrong person.

Five days of growing frustration and violent clashes between law enforcement and protesters finally took a turn for the better Thursday after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon removed St. Louis County Police and installed state troopers in their place.

State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who grew up in the Ferguson area, moved among crowds gathered into Thursday evening, addressing protesters' concerns, giving hugs and generally spreading a sense that someone -- finally -- was listening to their voices.

The release of the incorrectly identified officer's name remained a main concern overnight, and demonstrators chanted "what's his name? What's his name?" Police fielded accusations of selectively releasing information after they revealed the officer had been treated at a hospital for swelling in his face, but have given no details on Brown's autopsy.

Witnesses from the scene of the shooting have said Brown, 18, and the officer struggled at the patrol car, and Brown appeared to be trying to get away. Police originally said the teen was reaching for the officer's gun, while witnesses said that did not appear to them to be the case.

Eyewitnesses said the officer chased Brown down the street, firing his weapon. Then, they said, Brown turned to face the officer with his hands over his head, and the officer fired again, and Brown fell to the ground.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit under Missouri's Sunshine Law to compel the release of the police incident report, but Friday morning, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the decision to release the officer's name was voluntary, not ordered by the court.

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