Tracking the Events in the Wake of Michael Brown’s Shooting
The following piece is from The New York Times. It was compiled by New York Times Staff.
By: New York Times Staff
Michael Brown Is Shot
Michael Brown, 18, is shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. According to reports, Mr. Brown was walking down the middle of Canfield Drive with a friend, Dorian Johnson, when the officer stopped his Chevy Tahoe to order them to the sidewalk. Within seconds, the encounter turned into a physical struggle, as the officer and Mr. Brown became entangled through the open driver-side window of the police vehicle. How that encounter began is in dispute, though most accounts agree that shots were fired while the officer was in the vehicle. At some point, Mr. Brown broke away. The officer then got out of the vehicle and fired at Mr. Brown, whose actions at the point are also in dispute. Some witnesses later said that Mr. Brown appeared to be surrendering with his hands in the air as he was hit with the fatal gunshots. Others say that Mr. Brown was moving toward the officer when he was killed. What is not in dispute is that Mr. Brown was unarmed. His body would lie in the street for four hours.
Angry Residents Take to the Streets
Residents outraged by the shooting take to the streets, and a portion of West Florissant Avenue becomes a staging area for protests. “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace” become rallying cries. As early protests turn increasingly violent, the police respond with heavy-handed tactics – including military-style weapons and equipment — that seem only to ratchet up the unrest. Eventually, both sides would make efforts to reduce the tension of the protests, which continued daily.
F.B.I. Opens Civil Rights Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation opens a civil rights inquiry into the shooting of Mr. Brown.
A State Trooper Steps In
Hours after President Obama denounces the actions of both police and protesters in Ferguson, Gov. Jay Nixon orders the Missouri State Highway Patrol to take over security operations. Alarm has been rising across the country at images of a mostly white police force, in a predominantly African-American community, aiming military-style weapons at protesters and firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Appointed by Mr. Nixon, Capt. Ronald S. Johnson of the highway patrol immediately signals a change in approach. Troopers are ordered to remove tear-gas masks while armored vehicles and police cars are taken away. The tactics work for a short time before unrest returns. A curfew is later imposed. At times, Governor Nixon is jeered or shouted down as he tries to reassure residents and urge an end to the violence.
Officer Involved in Shooting Is Identified
Almost a week after the shooting of Mr. Brown, the officer who shot him is identified as Darren Wilson, who has five years of police experience. The release of the name is followed by series of incomplete accounts by Thomas Jackson, the Ferguson police chief. These accounts sowed confusion about whether Officer Wilson knew that the teenager was a suspect in a robbery at a local convenience store that took place moments before the shooting.
Brown’s Family Releases Autopsy Details
A preliminary private autopsyshows that Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Dr. Michael M. Baden, a former chief New York City medical examiner who conducted the autopsy for the family, says one bullet entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting that his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury. Dr. Baden says Mr. Brown was also shot four times in the right arm, and that all the bullets were fired into his front. This is the first time that some of the critical information resulting in Mr. Brown’s death has been made public, but the release of the preliminary autopsy results does little to explain the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
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