In the third press conference about Michael Brown's death in one day, police said that the officer who shot the unarmed 18-year-old had approached Brown because he was walking in the middle of the street.
The officer was identified by Ferguson police Friday morning as Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force. Officials also released police reports and surveillance-camera photos that showed Brown as the primary suspect in a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store sometime before he was shot and killed Saturday afternoon.
Ferguson Police Chief Takes Questions
But Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Friday afternoon that the robbery and Wilson's encounter with Brown on the street were separate, unrelated incidents. Thomas said that Brown and another man police believe was involved in the robbery were "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic," prompting Wilson to stop them.
Jackson said that Wilson was not aware Brown was a suspect in the robbery when the officer approached and stopped Brown.
Officers found evidence of merchandise that was reported stolen by the convenience store on Brown's body following the shooting, Jackson said. Dorian Johnson, the man police have said they believe was Brown's accomplice in the robbery, has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Jackson said.
In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Johnson described witnessing the shooting of his friend. "I saw the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend," the 22-year-old told Trymaine Lee. "Then I saw the fire come out of the barrel."
The police chief has refused to say how many times Brown was shot, citing an ongoing investigation.
Jackson said video footage from surveillance cameras at the store was released to media Friday because reporters had requested it. "I had to release it," he said of the footage.
Jackson said he has not yet met with Brown's family, who released a statement along with their lawyers earlier Friday criticizing the police department for "attempting to blame the victim."
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