Ferguson police chief: Encounter between officer and Michael Brown did not relate to robbery

The Ferguson police chief said Friday afternoon that the initial contact between an officer and Michael Brown, which ended with Brown shot dead, was not connected to a robbery that had occurred shortly before Brown was killed.

“The initial contact between the officer and Mr. Brown was not related to the robbery,” Thomas Jackson, the police chief, said during a news conference Friday afternoon.

Rather, it stemmed from the fact that Brown and his friend were “walking down the street blocking traffic,” Jackson said.

While this corresponds with what Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, had been telling media outlets, it does appear to contradict the conclusion that many had drawn from a news conference Jackson had held earlier in the day. Jackson had said that Brown was the suspect in a robbery that occurred not far from where he was killed, releasing a police report and video footage connected to the robbery.

On Friday morning, Jackson had said that Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, had been responding to a call when a radio dispatcher reported the robbery as well as the suspect’s description and approximate location.

Wilson then left the call he had been responding to and encountered Brown a short time later, Jackson said Friday morning.

Jackson and the Ferguson police then released the robbery report and footage, saying it was in response to requests from media outlets. However, Jackson did not specify if the robbery was the reason for the encounter, and he did not disclose any additional details regarding the confrontation and Brown’s death.

Several hours later, Jackson held another news conference. When asked if Wilson knew about the robbery call when he encountered Brown, Jackson replied: “I don’t know. I know his initial contact was not related to the robbery.”

Jackson described Wilson, the officer involved in the shooting, “a gentle, quiet man” and “a distinguished officer.”

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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