This time it was a photo not a video that began spreading like a virus on social media networks Saturday night, exposing yet another cop killing another unarmed citizen; a still shot showing a dead man bleeding in the middle of a St. Louis County street fresh after being shot ten times for possibly shoplifting.
The photo posted on Twitter shows yellow police crime tape keeping shocked citizens at bay as a Ferguson police officer stands inside the perimeter with his hand on his belt while blood runs from the uncovered body of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
By the time it started going viral Saturday night, Ferguson residents had taken to the street supposedly shouting “kill the police” in what initial media reports described as a “mob reaction” where citizens even fired shots.
But there has been no video evidence of any of that happening. Just a statement from St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman along with a television news segment showing a reporter talking about how police are keeping them safe from this alleged mob, but admitting he never actually saw anything other than a huge police presence.
In other words, it is most likely the Police PR Spin Machine trying to twist this story to make themselves the victim when the victim was a high school graduate nicknamed Mike Mike about to start college next week.
Schellman also assured the media that they would be conducting a “lengthy investigation,” which is ironic considering the knee jerk quickness it took to pull the trigger ten times on an unarmed man holding his arms in the air. But we know lengthy in this case just means dragging it out until people forget about it.
County police spokesman Brian Schellman promised a “lengthy investigation.”
“We’re still trying to piece together what happened and why,” Schellman said.
The unnamed officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.
It all started when Brown was walking towards his grandmother’s house from a store at around noon Saturday when he was confronted by police.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Piaget Crenshaw, 19, said she was waiting for a ride to work when she saw a police officer attempting to place Brown in the squad car.
She then said she saw the teen, hands in the air, attempt to flee. Several shots hit Brown as he ran, Crenshaw said. She complied with a request that she give photos of the scene to authorities.
We can imagine she was probably ordered to hand over her camera under threat of arrest rather than complying with a request.
According to Fox2:
The shooting happened at noontime Saturday. The teen and a friend, Dorin Johnson were walking in the street on Canfield Dr. in the Canfield Green Apartments when a Ferguson officer drove up and ordered them to the sidewalk. Johnson said they told him they were a minute away from their destination and then they would be out of the street.
After a verbal confrontation, witness Piaget Crenshaw said the officer got out of his car and fired a shot. Both teens ran, she said, and another shot was fired. Johnson hid behind a car, but said his friend stopped after a second shot was fired at him. Crenshaw and Johnson say the teen held up his hands to show he did not have a weapon, however the officer fired at him two more times and he collapsed and died in the street.
Angry crowds quickly gathered and several shots were fired not far from the original shooting scene. That prompted police to call for help including the tactical squads from the county and city. They closed off West Florissant at Canfield for several hours Saturday.
Fifteen agencies ended up responding in what became a tense standoff that lasted throughout the night on the streets of this mostly black municipality less than 20 miles from St. Louis.
The videos posted online by the media and by citizens show angry citizens standing on corners chanting for justice, but nothing near the violent reactions police had been describing earlier in the day.
The video below was recorded from a second-floor window as they were laying a sheet over Brown’s body, showing a growing crowd of residents but no violence.
Below is one of the first photos that began making the rounds showing Brown’s father holding up a cardboard sign stating that police just executed his unarmed son; a solemn contrast to the mob reaction the media was describing.
But it wasn’t until the following photo was posted Saturday evening that the rest of the world began seeing what the anger was all about, learning of a placed called Ferguson where police were holding back leashed dogs as residents chanted “no justice, no peace.”
As it’s done so often these days when the mainstream media relies on police statements, citizens began reporting their own news on various social media platforms under the hashtag #ferguson, ensuring Ferguson will never be forgotten, even though most of us never knew it existed.
UPDATE: St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar accused Michael Brown of physically assaulting the cop, trying to push him inside his own car before reaching for the cop’s gun, causing the gun to discharge, which is why the cop had to shoot him dead, even though witnesses say they saw Brown trying to walk away with his hands in the air.
But Belmar did not explain why police were confronting Brown in the first place during this morning’s press conference nor did he release the cop’s name, which indicates the press conference was only meant to further spin the story rather than provide new information.
The old “suspect tried to grab the cop’s gun” excuse has proven to be very reliable in the past to justify police abuse and it’s not surprising it conveniently took place inside the patrol car where witnesses could not see what was taking place. Also, not a single witness reported hearing a gunshot during the struggle.
And it doesn’t make sense why Brown would be trying to push the cop into the car when all accounts indicate he was trying to be kept from being pushed into the car.
A PINAC reader who was at the scene this morning reported the following:
A reporter and a camera man from a TV station did confirm they heard that a couple of phones were confiscated by police, with one woman saying she felt intimated to hand over her phone. They signed waivers the police provided. From what I’ve heard the incident wasn’t captured on video, but audio of the incident was captured on the phones.
No one I spoke to could confirm that the crowd was yelling “Kill the cops”.
It was reported that the guy who was shot was suspected of shoplifting from a QuikTrip. Someone I spoke with earlier told me that the manager of that store called a radio station yesterday to deny this.
Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.