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Guide to developments in Missouri police shooting

Friday, August 15, 2014 | 6:26 p.m. CDT; updated 2:53 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 16, 2014

FERGUSON — After an unarmed black teenager was shot by a Ferguson police officer, the city north of downtown St. Louis erupted into violent protests. Here's a look at the key elements of the shooting and the unrest that followed:

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Below is a timeline of the shooting of Michael Brown on Saturday, Aug. 9, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The times are taken from documents provided by the Ferguson Police Department, including dispatch logs and an incident report on a robbery at a convenience store.

11:48 a.m. — Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson arrives at a residence in response to an unrelated call about a 2-month-old child having difficulty breathing when she coughs.

11:51 a.m. — Ferguson police receive a call of a robbery in progress at the Ferguson Market convenience store.

11:54 a.m. — A different, unidentified officer arrives at the Ferguson Market and gets a physical description from an employee and customer of a suspect who took some cigars.

11:57 a.m. — A police dispatcher broadcasts a detailed description of the robbery suspect, saying that he was wearing a red St. Louis Cardinals ball cap and yellow socks and was walking with another man toward another convenience store called QuikTrip.

12:00 p.m. — Officer Wilson leaves the scene of the call about a sick child.

12:01 p.m. — Officer Wilson encounters Michael Brown walking on a street and the shooting follows. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said Friday that Wilson did not know about the robbery at the convenience store when he encountered Brown.

12:04 p.m. — Another officer arrives on the scene after the shooting, and an ambulance is contacted to treat Brown's wounds.



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THE LATEST

The Ferguson police chief on Friday named the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown and released documents alleging the teen was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store.

The officer was identified as Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white officer who has patrolled suburban St. Louis for six years and has no previous complaints filed against him.

Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson did not know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting and stopped Michael Brown and a companion "because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

THE SHOOTING

Police have said that one of the teens pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.

Johnson, who says he was with Brown when the shooting happened, has described a different story. He has told reporters that the officer ordered them out of the street, then tried to open his door so close to the men that it "ricocheted" back, apparently upsetting the officer. Johnson says the officer grabbed his friend's neck, then tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times. Johnson and another witness both say Brown had his hands raised when the officer fired at him repeatedly.

THE UNREST

Since the shooting, crowds have gathered nightly to protest Brown's death. For four nights, the protests threatened to tear the city apart, with people looting stores, damaging buildings and vandalizing property. Officers from multiple departments in riot gear and military equipment clashed with protesters, who chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot." Police used tear gas and smoke bombs, and some protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state would take over supervising security, with Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson — a Ferguson native who is black — leading the effort.

Only hours after the Missouri Highway Patrol took control in Ferguson, the protests changed dramatically, taking on a much lighter, even festive atmosphere. Johnson marched with protesters and several people stopped to shake his hand or hug him and other officers.

THE POLICE TACTICS

The police response drew heavy criticism from around the nation. Critics say it's part of a law-enforcement trend toward more aggressive weapons and tactics.

The American Civil Liberties Union in June released a report stating that police were overwhelmingly relying on SWAT raids — involving the use of assault rifles, battering rams and flash-bang grenades — for routine work such as searching for small amounts of drugs and serving warrants.

THE INVESTIGATION

At the request of Ferguson police, Brown's death is being investigated by St. Louis County police. The FBI has also opened an investigation into possible civil rights violations.

 


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