New footage casts doubt on Ferguson police narrative about Michael Brown

The video suggests that Brown may not have committed strong-armed robbery prior to his death

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 13, 2017 5:24PM (EDT)

FILE- This undated file photo provided by the Brown family shows Michael Brown. After Brown's Aug. 9 shooting death at the hands of a white police officer his legacy continues to evolve. ()   (AP Photo/Brown Family, File)
FILE- This undated file photo provided by the Brown family shows Michael Brown. After Brown's Aug. 9 shooting death at the hands of a white police officer his legacy continues to evolve. () (AP Photo/Brown Family, File)

New context has been provided to a video released in 2014 that seemed to show Michael Brown — the unarmed African-American teenager who was gunned down by Darren Wilson, formerly a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer  — committing strong-armed robbery at noon on the day he was shot.

That video, which was released shortly before Ferguson police revealed Wilson to have been the shooter, had been used to present the narrative that Brown was "no angel" (which wouldn't have been relevant anyway): Brown is shown grabbing a bag of cigars and pushing store owner Andy Patel as he leaves. A newly circulated video (taken nearly half a day prior to the old footage) shows Brown exchanging what appears to be a bag of marijuana for the cigars and afterward Brown leaves the cigars behind the counter for safekeeping.

The additional video was released by documentarian Jason Pollock in connection with his upcoming movie "Stranger Fruit." During an appearance on CNN, Pollock said, "What this video shows is that [police] lied to the world about what happened. They wanted to make Mike look bad, so they put out half a video to destroy his character in his death."

Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown, said if the police had released both videos "maybe the city of Ferguson wouldn't have gotten tore up like that. It's almost like they asked for it, if you ask me, for not keeping no truth in there."

Meanwhile Jay Kanzler, an attorney for Patel and the store's employees, told CNN that the video had been deceptively edited and "my clients did nothing wrong. They love the people of Ferguson and truly want to get on with their lives."

While Ferguson police had released the earlier video (that seemed to cast aspersions on Brown's character), Wilson did not confront Brown because of an alleged robbery but because he was allegedly blocking traffic by walking down the middle of the street.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Black Lives Matter Civil Rights Ferguson Michael Brown Police Shootings