Following nearly a week of protests and growing demands for the name of the police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, the Ferguson, Mo., police department identified Darren Wilson as Brown’s shooter at a press conference on Friday.
Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force, fatally shot Brown following an altercation last Saturday.
Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson told reporters that shortly before Wilson encountered Brown, he had received a call from dispatchers saying that a strong-armed robbery had occurred at a store in the area.
Jackson released an information packet to reporters which provided video of the strong-armed robbery. A video still shared on Twitter by a reporter who received the packet shows a person who resembles Brown towering over a store clerk. The assailant allegedly punched the clerk.
Stills from camera pic.twitter.com/FEcmKc3oGr
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 15, 2014
According to the information packet provided to reporters, cigars were stolen in the robbery.
The officer has no history of disciplinary action and hails from the St. Louis area, Jackson said at the press conference, which was held in front of a QuikTrip convenience store that was looted and destroyed Sunday following a vigil held for Brown.
Jackson initially planned to name Wilson on Tuesday, but decided against it, citing the officers’ safety.
No other details were provided of the shooting.
Besides the officers’ name, many have expressed frustration that authorities have not provided crucial details which could shed light on whether Brown’s shooting was justified.
Jackson has said that the shooting occurred after Brown assaulted Wilson and that the teen was trying to grab the officer’s weapon. Witnesses to the shooting say that Brown was surrendering when he was shot. Some have also claimed that he was shot in the back.
While the shooting itself has generated its share of outrage throughout the country, local law enforcement agencies’ response to protests has been widely criticized as well.
Demonstrations began on the night of Brown’s shooting. Sunday’s vigil was following up by a rioting, widespread looting, gun shots and 32 arrests.
With help from St. Louis County police and other local law enforcement agencies, Ferguson police came out in full force to protests held over the next few days. Police officers and SWAT troopers wore military-like gear, fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and monitored the protests from vehicles designed for a war zone.
Tension in the St. Louis suburb, which has a population of around 20,000 and is predominantly black, reached a climax on Wednesday after police began forcing people off of the streets shortly after dark. Two reporters were also arrested at a McDonald’s for refusing to heed officers’ orders.
President Obama addressed the shooting in comments early in the week and held a press conference Thursday, saying that he had instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a thorough investigation of the shooting, while also saying that there was “no excuse” for violence against police.
Gov. Jay Nixon took control of the Ferguson demonstrations away from St. Louis County police and replaced it with Missouri State Highway Patrol. Relations between law enforcement and demonstrators improved Thursday night as highway patrol officers interacted with the crowd and with media.
The FBI is also investigating possible civil rights violations.