WASHINGTON D.C. (AA) – The police officer who shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown did not know he was a suspect in a theft at the time of the killing, the police chief for Ferguson, Missouri, has said.
On Friday morning, Police Chief Thomas Jackson released documents showing Brown had been suspected of stealing a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store at the time of his death, a suspicion that seemingly demonstrated why police had stopped the teen.
However, later in the day he revealed the officer who shot 18-year-old Brown, identified as Darren Wilson, did not know he was suspected of the theft.
Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal said the seven-day delay in identifying the officer involved had angered the community in a suburb of St Louis.
She said: “The public deserves to know. This is a process that is paid for by the constituents, the taxpayers of this community, and this state.”
She added: “We need to make sure that we get all of the facts of this case and that all of the investigations are transparent.”
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, echoed Chappelle’s demands.
She referred to the police’s use of tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors over several nights of confrontation as a “crime” and an infringement of the right to peaceful assembly and protest.
She stated that she was gassed by police on Monday and Wednesday.
Protestors had rallied for nearly a week following the death of Brown on Saturday, which ignited racial tensions in the predominantly black city.
Brown was shot by police as he walked with a friend. Details of the fatal encounter remain unclear but police claim Brown was shot in a scuffle while protesters say he was gunned down while he had his hands in the air.
Following an appeal by U.S. President Barack Obama for calm, previously violent protests gave way to a celebratory atmosphere on Thursday night as Highway Patrol officers took over from St Louis County Police.
Some protestors kicked police cars and threw bottles at officers investigating looting but the police did not react.
On Friday morning, residents left flowers at the scene of Brown’s death as they called for a full investigation.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder previously called for both the police and demonstrators to refrain from violence while voicing concern over the use of military equipment by local police.
“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message,” he said.
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