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article imageCops say slain Missouri teen robbed convenience store

By Nathan Salant     Aug 16, 2014 in Crime
Ferguson - Police in Ferguson, Mo., now allege that an African American teen shot and killed by an officer on Aug. 9, sparking days of civil unrest, was involved in a robbery of a convenience store 15 minutes earlier.
Local police also revealed Friday that the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, setting off protests in Missouri that have spread across the country, is a six-year veteran who had never had any disciplinary action taken against him.
Release of the officer's name, Darren Wilson, came in response to numerous requests for more information about the shooting of Brown and about the Ferguson police's surprisingly forceful reaction to protests that began almost immediately after, according to the New York Times newspaper.
Police had refused to release Wilson's identity, citing online threats to his family.
But Ferguson police also released store security camera footage and photographs showing what they said was the robbery and the participation of Brown in it.
The new releases set off more protests, since authorities provided no additional information about the shooting, and prompted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to dispatch officers from the state's highway patrol to take over security and crowd control in the St. Louis suburb, the Times said.
Nearly 70 percent of Ferguson's population is black; Brown was African American and Wilson is white.
Only three of Ferguson's 53 police officers are black, the Times said.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson appealed to Ferguson residents for calm, the Times said.
"In our anger, we have to make sure that we don’t burn down our own house -- that does not prove a point,” Johnson said.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, called the shooting of the teen an "execution-style murder" and said he and his clients were "flabbergasted" that local police would release security camera photos showing who they identified as Brown but not any photos of Wilson.
“The police are playing games here and the parents are beyond incensed with the way that the police are handling the distribution of information,” Crump said.
“The police are not being transparent," he said.
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