Michael Brown's cousin and attorneys for the slain teenager's family accused Ferguson, Missouri, police Friday of "character assassination" in releasing video purporting to show Brown robbing a convenience store shortly before he was shot. They pleaded for calm and said if any new violence broke out in Ferguson, it would be the fault of the police.
Daryl Parks, an attorney for the family, acknowledged at a news conference at Ferguson police headquarters that "it appears to be him" after Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the security video showing a young man they claimed to be Brown grabbing a clerk in the convenience store. He said the family believed that release of the video was a "strategic" move "aimed at denigrating their son."
"That was character assassination," he said.
Anthony Gray, another attorney for the family, pleaded for residents to remain calm Friday night but said that if there was any new violence, it would be the fault of the police chief. "He's now inciting the community again. Don't take that bait and begin to riot," Gray said. But he added that If there is new unrest, "it won't be on anybody on this side."
Eric Davis, Brown's cousin, reiterated that Jackson had said the shooting was unrelated to the alleged robbery and called the video "smoke and mirrors to divert the attention away from what really occurred."
The officer who shot Brown was identified Friday as Darren Wilson, 28. His identity was released at the same time that a police report was made public revealing that Brown was suspected of having stolen a box of cigars from the convenience store and assaulting a clerk before Wilson shot him.
First published August 15 2014, 1:58 PM
M. Alex Johnson
M. Alex Johnson is a senior writer for NBC News covering general news, with an emphasis on explanatory journalism and data analysis. Johnson joined NBCNews.com in January 2000 from The Washington Post, where he was news editor of washingtonpost.com and night city editor of the print edition. He has also worked at the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, Congressional Quarterly and The Charlotte Observer, where he was part of a team that won the 1987 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service. He is a member of the National Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Online News Association.
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