The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager whose death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer touched off weeks of protests and international outcry, is criticizing the police department after a newspaper published video showing Officer Darren Wilson hours after he shot the 18-year-old.
"From the very beginning, the Ferguson Police Dept. has followed what is now seemingly standard operating procedure for police departments around the country: to vilify the victim and put the shooter on a pedestal," Brown’s family said Saturday in a statement released by their attorneys.
The statement referred to information leaked from law enforcement sources in the shooting’s aftermath that claimed Wilson was beaten and suffered injuries to his face. "From the video released today it would appear the initial descriptions of his injuries were exaggerated," the statement read.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday published video that shows Wilson leaving the police station for the hospital about two hours after he fatally shot Brown Aug. 9. The newspaper also published police radio transmissions in which Wilson is heard saying “put me on Canfield with two” before Brown was killed. Canfield is the street where Brown was killed. The audio does not capture the shooting. The newspaper said it obtained the video and audio through the state’s Sunshine Law.
A grand jury is weighing whether Wilson should be charged. Police have said Brown struggled for Wilson’s weapon before he was killed. Some witnesses say Brown was shot while he had his hands up.
In radio dispatch audio obtained by the newspaper, Wilson asks officers at noon that day if they need help looking for a suspect in a white T-shirt and red Cardinals hat alleged to have stolen a box of cigars from Ferguson Market at 11:53 a.m. At 12:02 Wilson radios “put me on Canfield” and asks for another car. At 12:07 an officer calls for more units as someone sobbed in the background. "Get us several more units over here. There’s gonna be a problem."
Ferguson Police did not follow-up on NBC News’ request in August for audio recordings regarding the shooting, citing the compromising of their computer systems, safety retrieving the records, and demand on city resources.
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