*Gunfire rang out in Ferguson, Missouri Sunday night following the release of new surveillance footage showing Michael Brown in the store that police claimed he robbed before being fatally shot by a white officer. There were no known arrests and no one is believed to have been shot, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
When 18-year-old Brown was killed in 2014, police officers released surveillance video from Ferguson Market showing Brown with his hands around a shopkeeper’s neck as he makes off with a carton of cigarillos. Police called the incident a strong-arm robbery and argued that Brown had brought the same level of aggression to his confrontation with Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot him moments later.
But previously-unreleased surveillance video casts doubt on whether Brown actually robbed the store.
Jason Pollock, the filmmaker who discovered the video, says the new footage shows Brown exchanging drugs for a bag of cigarillos around 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014, about 11 hours before he was killed. The video doesn’t clearly show what was exchanged, but Pollock suggests it was an arranged drug transaction for the cigarillos.
The new footage is a part of Pollock’s new documentary “Stranger Fruit,” which debuted Saturday at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The documentary suggests that Brown’s argument the next morning was over the drug/cigarillo transaction the night before.
“We are doing this for Mike. We are not just doing this to uncover Ferguson. We are doing this to defend Mike’s honor, to defend his name and to defend the family’s name,” Pollock said in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Monday.
Pollock says the video is proof that Brown did not rob the store.
“They wanted us to think Michael robbed the store because they needed us to think that Michael was aggressive. Michael was handed the bag in the video, the clerk puts it in a plastic bag and hands it over the counter to Michael Brown,” Pollock said. “That’s not stealing [from] the store.”
Brown’s uncle, Bernard Brown, said the police lied about his nephew.
“The picture they painted of my nephew was not right. That video dispels one of the lies they were telling,” Bernard Brown told “Good Morning America” on Monday.
The convenience store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, strongly denies the documentary’s claims. The store’s attorney, Jay Kanzler, said Pollock’s conclusions are entirely false and that the video doesn’t change what happened. He also categorically denies there was some sort of arrangement between Brown and the employees.
“It just didn’t happen,” he said, adding that things can be made to look a lot different when you edit a video. “This wasn’t Macy’s or Walmart where you put your cigarillos on layaway for some bad pot.”
St. Louis County police spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire said the department cannot confirm the authenticity of the video at this time and that the department’s investigation is focused on the interaction between Brown and Wilson.
Watch reports of the new surveillance footage from “GMA” and CNN below:
Once the footage made its way onto TV Sunday night, protesters began to gather outside Ferguson Market.
Police were called to the scene at around 10:45 p.m. to help control the crowd, the department said.
— Search4Swag (@search4swag) March 13, 2017