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On August 9th, Darren Wilson, a white police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Wilson claims he acted solely in self-defence, while some witnesses’ testimony seem to point to another conclusion. A Grand Jury cleared Officer Wilson of any possible indictment on November 24th. While the grand jury believed Wilson, many Americans don’t.

Shortly before the shooting, Brown was seen on surveillance video of Ferguson Market and Liquor stealing cigarillos and assaulting a clerk. According to testimony, Officer Wilson was not aware of the robbery when he saw Brown and his friend–Dorian Johnson–walking down the road.

Officer Wilson claims that he observed Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson walking in the middle of the road. Speaking through his patrol car window, he says that he told Brown and Johnson to get out of the road. In opposition to Wilson’s order, the pair continued walking in the middle of the road. At this point, Officer Wilson drives ahead of the two men, reverses, and positions his SUV in a slanted manner to block the road. Wilson then attempts to exit his patrol vehicle.

Dorian Johnson told CNN:

“We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer,”

Of course, Darren Wilson tells a different story. He says that the they slammed the door shut intentionally. After this, it’s alleged that Wilson opened his door again and stood up, but was rushed by Brown. This supposedly brought Wilson back into his vehicle.

During the struggle Brown is said to have assaulted Wilson and reached for his gun. At least one shot was fired inside of the vehicle. After this, Brown and his friend start to run away from Wilson.

This is where things begin to get very conflicted. Officer Wilson’s account says that Brown got about 35 feet away, turned around and began to taunt him. Then suddenly, Brown allegedly charges at Wilson which forces him to shoot him several times and kill him. Dorian Johnson claims Officer Wilson fired a second shot at Brown while they were running. After which Brown turns around and puts his hands up in surrender. This is when Wilson supposedly shot Brown several more times and killed him.

Most of the roughly two dozen witnesses say they saw a wounded Michael Brown with his hands up walking or stumbling towards Officer Wilson. Whether he was walking or stumbling, the odds of him charging an officer who had just shot him moments earlier seem extremely unlikely. So, was Michael Brown–an unarmed teen–surrendering, or charging at an armed police officer who had already shown he wasn’t afraid to fire his weapon?

 

Sources:

New York Times, Washington Post, CNN 

image credit: Joshua Sinn

Editor’s note –

This post was purposefully delayed. I wanted to wait until there was a clear picture from both sides of what happened.