New Video Footage Raises Questions About Michael Brown’s Death

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Photo of Michael Brown courtesy of Twitter.

Two-and-a-half years in the time that Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., a lot of black-and-brown men, women and children have fallen victim to problematic violence by officers of the law. To make matters worst, a second, previous unreported video from the convenience store where Mike Brown had supposedly pushed a worker and took cigarillos is raising new questions about what happened in the moments before the shooting on Aug. 9, 2014.

The video footage, which you can see below, finds a black man entering the store, “Ferguson Market and Liquor,” after 1 a.m. on the day of the shooting. After approaching the counter, the person on the screen hands over a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. The footage then shows the man walking toward the door, turning around and hands the bag of cigarillos back across the counter before exiting.

The filmmaker behind the documentary that acquired the new tape is Jason Pollock, and he says that the footage challenges the police narrative that Mike Brown committed “strong-armed robbery” when he returned to the store around noon that day. Mr. Pollock instead says that the new video shows a negotiated deal going down between store employees.

“There was some type of exchange, for one thing, for another,” Lesley McSpadden, Mike Brown’s mother says in Jason Pollock’s documentary titled Stranger Fruit. Jay Kanzler, a lawyer for the convenience store and its employees, disputes that version, saying the footage is unrelated to Mike Brown’s later visit to the store. “There was no transaction,” Mr. Kanzler said. “There was no understanding. No agreement. Those folks didn’t sell him cigarillos for pot. The reason he gave it back is he was walking out the door with unpaid merchandise and they wanted it back.”

Watch the footage, ask yourself what happened and share your thoughts in the comments below. Stranger Fruit made its premiere at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, and examines the shooting from the family’s perspective.

H/T: NYT