A newly released video of Michael Brown on the day he was shot has called into question the facts surrounding his shooting, a revelation that sparked protests over the weekend.
Surveillance footage from Ferguson Market & Liquor, the convenience store Brown allegedly robbed, shows that Brown was there earlier on the day he died, Aug. 9, 2014, around 1 a.m. Brown appears to hand a small bag to the store clerk, who in turn hands Brown a bag of cigarillos. Brown takes the bag and walks toward the door but then turns around and hands back the bag of cigarillos before exiting the store.
The new video clip was unveiled on Saturday, along with the release of “Stranger Fruit,” a documentary about the Brown shooting, at a film festival in Austin, Texas. Filmmaker Jason Pollack shared the clip with the New York Times ahead of the documentary’s release and said that he believes the footage shows Brown giving the store clerk marijuana in exchange for the cigarillos. Brown chose to leave the cigarillos behind for safekeeping, Pollack believes, and went back later in the day to retrieve them.
“There was some type of exchange, for one thing, for another,” Lezley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, says in “Stranger Fruit.”
The St. Louis Dispatch reported that the release of the video resulted in protests outside Ferguson Market & Liquor on Sunday, drawing about 100 people. Shots were reportedly fired but no one is believed to have been hit.
Jay Kanzler, an attorney for the convenience store, rejects Pollack’s interpretation of the video and says it does not change any facts pertaining to the case.
Kanzler spoke with protesters at the store Sunday night about the new footage, a St. Louis Dispatch video shows. According to Kanzler, the full version of the new clip shows that the store clerk “threw the pot back to Michael Brown.”
“[Pollack] made it seem like they kept the bag and that there was some transaction,” Kanzler tells the crowd. “There was no transaction, and the full video that’ll be released [Monday] will show that.”
“So why y’all have not released the full video prior to now” a protester asks.
“Guys, this is the thing — that video’s been out there,” Kanzler says. “Michael Brown’s family has it, the other lawyers have it, the prosecutors have it — this isn’t new.”
“It doesn’t show anything. What it shows is Michael Brown came in and put pot down on the counter and got it back and walked out,” he adds.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and former Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson both told the Post-Dispatch that they had not seen the newest clip.
Pollack, the filmmaker, said the original video “destroyed Michael’s character” and that police “didn’t show us what actually happened.”
“So this shows their intention to make him look bad,” Pollack said. “And shows suppression of evidence.”
The previously circulated footage shows Brown at the store pushing Andy Patel, the store’s co-owner, before leaving. A robbery was reported at the store, and Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Wilson was cleared of all charges and ultimately resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.
Patel reported to the Post-Dispatch that he was not working at the time the newer video footage was shot and was not aware of an exchange that may have taken place. He reaffirmed his original statement that Brown “grabbed cigarillos and stole them.”