Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson says the officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last Saturday is Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force who has no disciplinary actions on his record with the department.
The release of Wilson’s name comes after Jackson said he wouldn’t identify the man out of concerns for his safety, citing death threats made to Ferguson police and on social media. Jackson said that Wilson was treated for injuries he sustained Saturday.
Before he released the name, Jackson also discussed a robbery that had occurred shortly before Brown’s death on Aug. 9. He said that police would release footage and dispatch records related to that robbery, in a response to “sunshine” requests for public information.
Jackson released Wilson’s name during a news conference outside the QuikTrip convenience store that was set on fire Sunday, the first night of violent protests in Ferguson. In the background over his shoulder, “Mike Mike” — Brown’s nickname — had been written on a gas pump.
The death of Brown, 18, remains under investigation, and the details are in dispute. Police say he was killed after a struggle over the officer’s gun. Witnesses say Brown died after running away from the officer and raising his hands.
As we reported earlier this week, a witness who says he was walking with Brown just before the altercation began says the officer had told them to get out of the street and onto a sidewalk. The situation quickly escalated, he said, and Brown was shot several times.
Soon after the shooting, Jackson asked the St. Louis County police to handle the inquiry. The FBI and the Justice Department are also investigating.
As we reported earlier today, the atmosphere in Ferguson changed considerably Thursday, as protesters welcomed a new police approach of toning down the military-style response that had ratcheted up tensions in the town.