Fresh protests in memory of Michael Brown broke out Sunday evening after new surveillance video featuring the slain Black teen hours before his killing was released, brought to light by a documentary called "Stranger Fruit" which debuted at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Saturday evening.
Nearly 100 people gathered outside the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store where Brown was shot dead on Aug. 9, 2014 to demand justice, angered by new revelations uncovered in the documentary, which suggested Brown had not robbed the store — a fact that had been peddled by police to justify Brown’s fatal encounter with then-Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
The previously-unreleased surveillance video shows Brown inside the store eleven hours before he was accused of robbing it. Filmmaker Jason Pollock argues that Brown was not involved in robbing the store, but instead had conducted a drug deal with store clerks.
The video shows Brown handing them a small bag. The clerks then give Brown a bag with cigarillos. He takes it, but gives it back just before leaving. The film suggests the young teen did not return later that day to rob the store, but to get the bag back.
While the St. Louis County Police Department told CNN that they "cannot confirm its authenticity at this time," Attorney Jay Kanzler, who represents the Ferguson Market and Liquor store and its employees, says the version of events in the film is incorrect.
"My clients did nothing wrong," Kanzler told CNN. "They love the people of Ferguson and truly want to get on with their lives."
He said that the full surveillance video, which has still not been released since 2014, is set to be released Monday. He claimed that it will refute the filmmaker's "edited version of events."
The video footage released by police in the days after Brown was killed showed only the part where Brown strongarms his way out of the store with the cigarillos, after grabbing and shoving a clerk. It was recorded just minutes before Brown was shot by Wilson on the street outside.
“They destroyed Michael’s character with the tape, and they didn’t show us what actually happened,” Pollock told the New York Times.
As people chanted into the night, Ferguson and St. Louis County police both arrived on the scene. Near midnight, seven or eight shots were fired at the protest site, but no one was injured.
While the surveillance video has sparked outrage over police not releasing all available information about Brown's death and painting him as an aggressive criminal, many have been quick to point out that the new footage has no impact on the crux of what happened — that Wilson fatally shot Brown in cold blood and was not indicted.
- Published in World