A young black man is dead. The evidence is not clear to all, but there is certainly no reason for an unarmed man with his hands in the air to be fired upon by police.
Family members say he was a recent graduate of nearby Normandy High School and was going to begin classes at Vatterott College on Monday.
Brown and a friend were walking to Harris’ house, his mother and grandmother said, when a Ferguson police officer confronted them.
This is where the stories part ways.
Dorian Johnson told CNN affiliate KTVI that he and Brown were walking in the middle of the street, and the officer told them to use the sidewalk.
The two told the officer they were only a minute from their destination and that they’d soon be out of the street.
There was an exchange of words, witness Piaget Crenshaw told the station, and the officer exited his vehicle and fired a shot. Both teens ran, Crenshaw said.
Johnson told KTVI he hid behind a car, but Brown stopped after a second shot was fired. Brown held up his hands to show he wasn’t armed, Johnson and Crenshaw said, and the officer shot him twice.
“(The officer) shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air,” Johnson told KMOV. “He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
That Brown was unarmed seems undisputed — St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said every casing found at the scene was from the officer’s weapon — but he said in a Sunday news conference that Brown was not an innocent victim….
Without revealing what led to the dispute, Belmar said the preliminary investigation showed that the Ferguson officer tried to exit his vehicle, but Brown pushed him back into the car, “where he physically assaulted the police officer” and struggled over the officer’s weapon, Belmar said.
A shot was fired inside the police car, and Brown was eventually shot about 35 feet away from the vehicle, Belmar said.
He didn’t explain how Brown got so far away from the car or whether he was surrendering. He said he was declining to disclose certain details because he didn’t want to “prejudice” the case.