Protests after Release of New Michael Brown Surveillance Footage
New surveillance footage captured hours before Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson shows the 18-year-old exchanging marijuana for cigarillos with the clerks of a convenience store, according to Jason Pollock, whose film “Stranger Fruit” a documentary into the officer-involved shooting of Brown debuted at South by Southwest in Austin over the weekend.
Pollock says the footage shows that Brown did not rob the store, as police said he had in their report, and that surveillance footage purporting to show Brown engaged in a robbery at the Ferguson Market and Liquor stores was actually video of Brown returning to the store to retrieve the cigarillos the clerks gave him.
The surveillance video, captured 11 hours before Officer Darren Wilson fatally gunned down Brown in August of 2014, shows Brown place a small bag on the counter. Two of the clerks appear to pick it up and sniff it.
The clerks then give Brown a bag with cigarillos, which he takes, but then turns around and gives back to them before leaving. According to Pollock, it was common for residents to barter with the clerks. Pollock argues that Brown was not stealing the cigarillos, but rather, retrieving them after he’d left them in the store earlier.
Pollock told reporters on Monday that had this footage been released, it would have altered the narrative that Brown was shot after robbing the store. Police say the new footage is irrelevant to their investigation as police officer Darren Wilson initially stopped Brown for walking in the street, not because the store reported a robbery.
At attorney for the store is accusing Pollock of editing the video. Attorney Jay Kanzler, who represents the store and employees, said the version of events in the documentary are false and that it has been edited to omit a clerk throwing a bag back to Brown. According to Kanzler, the entire surveillance footage from the night in question will be released on Monday, March 13.
After the release of the new footage, about 100 protesters gathered at the store on Sunday night, forcing it to close. Gunshots were heard around midnight but no one appeared to have been injured, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police were present as protesters gathered around the store. Many protesters shouted at Kanzler, who stepped outside to make a statement to the media. Several arrests were made at the location of Ferguson Market, but St. Louis and Ferguson police have not disclosed that number.