UPDATE: Ferguson Police release name of officer who shot Michael Brown

FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — Ferguson remained at peace after nightfall Thursday for the first time since Michael Brown was killed.  Protesters also had their demand met, learning the name of the officer who shot him.

At a news conference Friday morning, police identified the officer as Darren Wilson.  He has been an officer for six years and has no disciplinary action on his record.  Wilson was treated for injuries he received on Saturday, the spokesperson said.  Police said Wilson responded to a strong armed robbery at a convenience store that Brown had been involved in.

Police did not issue any other information verbally, but handed out packets to news agencies who had filed Sunshine Law requests for surveillance footage.  Police said they would take questions later in the day.

Brown, an African-American teen, was shot to death Saturday. Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer’s gun. Witnesses have said Brown’s arms were raised when he was shot.

After days of sometimes violent protests, the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over security for the protests.

Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights. So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators.

The crowds swelled and became more diverse on Thursday; their chants for justice accompanied a concert of honking car horns, and though their cause was somber, their mood was buoyant.

Despite the celebrated change in tone after his department stepped back, Jackson said Friday he is not going to resign, as some critics have suggested he do.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay and see this through,” he said.

Smile tactics

Highway patrol Capt. Ron Johnson is now in charge, at the request of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

“We have different approach that we’re using this evening,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. Smiling instead of scowling is key. “I’ve smiled more today than I have in the past few days.”

Maj. Ronnie Robinson from the St. Louis City Police is working with Johnson. He underlined the importance of dialog with residents. “We feel the pain in the community,” he said. They can protest 24 hours, if they want to.

He also insisted there will be law and order. No looting, no vandalizing. State troopers will protect small businesses, he said. And protesters may not block the streets.

Despite the new tone by authorities, some protesters said they were prepared for police aggression.

“Gas me, shoot me, I will stand my ground,” one sign read.

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who was arrested at a demonstration in Ferguson on Wednesday, said he’s noticed the new tone.

“Really, it has been the police presence, the heavy-handed presence, which has escalated the situation, and I think led to the violence each night. And so it’s good to see this new approach,” he said.

The officer’s name

Jackson said a crucial bit of information will emerge Friday morning — the name of the officer.

Protesters have demanded to find out who he is since the shooting.

Earlier, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar was less definite about when the name would be released, although he said it’s up to Ferguson police.

“It’s being discussed at the very highest levels,” Belmar said. “We’re probably going to learn something in the next day or two.”

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a lawsuit seeking the release of the officer’s name under the state’s open records law.

Missouri law provides a specific exemption barring the release of records that authorities conclude are “likely to pose a clear and present danger” to victims, witnesses or others.

Officials say police officers, and others in the administration and police force, have received death threats.

Diversity

Ferguson’s police department has been criticized for a lack of ethnic diversity. The St. Louis suburb’s population is two thirds African-American. Of the police force’s 53 officers, only six are African-American.

An eyewitness has said that the officer who shot Brown was Caucasian.

Both Johnson and Robinson are African-American. Though he believes in ethnic diversity and would like to see more in Ferguson’s police force, Robinson did not peg it to skin color but to a person’s ability to understand people’s culture and communicate with them.

“You’ve got to give respect to get respect,” he said.

Authorities have said that the change of appearance of the police force was intentional.

As Robinson spoke, a group of young Caucasian men behind him held up a sign calling for justice for Brown.

‘Powder keg’

The city was a “powder keg,” Jackson said earlier Thursday, before the change of guard in security arrangements, which the U.S. Justice Department had influenced. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that local authorities had accepted the department’s help.

Upset residents gathered to protest Browns killing as soon as his body lay in the street on Saturday.

No one has disputed that Brown was unarmed. But police say he tried to grab the officer’s gun, something two witnesses dispute. They say that the officer fired on the 18-year-old as he tried to distance himself and raised his hands into the air.

Demonstrations have continued since, turning into a ruckus after nightfall, and violence has broken out. Police have detained dozens, including two journalists.

President Barack Obama on Thursday called for peace from all sides.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,” he said. “There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Brown’s killing has gained attention around the world and moved people to protest in other U.S. cities on Thursday. In Los Angeles and in New York, hundreds gathered to demand justice for Brown.

The Los Angeles protests included commemoration for Ezell Ford, an African-American youth recently killed there. In New York, police formed a line to halt the march, CNN affiliate WABC reported.

They told the crowd to disperse and arrested a few people.

Have you documented the protests in Ferguson? Share your photos, videos and opinions with CNN iReport.

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41 comments

  • What you say

    “Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights. So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators.”

    You’re only kidding yourself if you believe that the Troopers does not have, or will deploy, the same equipment, if molotov cocktails and gunfire started heading their way.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Even our half-blood prince of a president carefully choose his words about this Ferguson event…knowing that his HomeLand Police Force is of his & AG-Holder’s own liking with their continued funding & arming of our local police as though they were the military.

  • Skillpot

    There is to much overuse of the term “teenager” in the case of Michael Brown, that keeps fueling the fire! Have you looked a the photo of the ‘dude?’

    Michael Brown was not an “Africian-American,” but, he was an American! Now, the turn of the tables is a good example of how a black can be used to restore calm. Goes to prove that the teaching of the parents, and those standing in the Pulpit saying the right things, when the kids are growing up will bring positive results! Now, on-the-other-hand we see the Legacy of LBJ being brought to fruition, which was put in place in 1965!

    • Skillpot

      “Brown, an African-American teen.” Another misuse of the terms “teen, and “African-American.” Yes, Brown was an 18-year male, 6’4″, 290 lb, and not a “gentle giant,” but he was an American, just like me, even though I am out of the white race of England!

    • LAC

      Yeah thats it. These was no violence before any of that stuff showed up. Just nice law abiding citizens exercising their right to protest. You have it all figured out.Thanks for the thoughtful insight.

    • Skillpot

      Wake up Alabamians, and America, there is something funny going on with this arming cites across the county with military hardware!

  • Nuclear Mike

    According to President Obama/AG-Holder’s Department of Justice’s Annual Uniform Crime Reports:
    “Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder”
    “Blacks are three times more likely to use a hand gun”
    “Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic.
    When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.”

    • Michael

      To be fair, there is very little difference in the rate of drug usage among different races. Despite that, blacks are arrested for illegal drugs at 3.73 times the rate of whites.

    • B

      Yep turns out the 18 year old who was “just minding his own business” had just robbed a local gas station. Though he didn’t deserve to be killed over an un-armed robbery, he’s not this innocent kid he is being portrayed as.

      • B

        At least now we know why the officer tried to stop him now, and why he supposedly got physical with the officer. Also sounds like his friend, the witness, may also be a suspect in the robbery.

    • B

      Actually we don’t know exactly why yet, he was stopped by an officer for stealing and getting physical with the clerk. He was shot and killed after an apparently assaulting the officer. Its very senseless indeed though. I like to think he could have been arrested without being shot, I have wondered why he wasn’t tazed since I first heard the story, but we weren’t there so we do not know why he was killed, only why he was stopped before being killed.

    • KatyLogic

      Seriously? He was a suspect in a robbery- He was not exactly innocent. Some humans are so disappointing. Quite lacking logic. How quickly they are to draw subjective one-sided conclusions and jump on the band wagon with everyone else. This young man is believed to have done someone thing wrong. I do not believe that the officer would have shot him without reason! I am not African American, however i am ‘black’.

      • LAC

        KATYLOGIC, You WILL stop using your brain and logic this very instance. You will not reserve judgment untl the facts are known. You will not seek the truth or justice, if deserved. You will follow the other mindless drones, and break things until you get your way. Use of logic and reason is unacceptable in these Unites States.

    • LAC

      Youre wrong. This man was killed due to his actions after he stole a pack of cigarettes. Lets not get the two confused. A person is killefd over something when someone walks up to them, kills them and takes what they want. However it appears in this case that the man robbed someone, an officer was called to the scene of a robbery found the offender and after a struggle the offender was killed. Whether or not the officer was justified is still unknown, but I, unlike the thugs there looking for an excuse for continued violence, am willing to wait and see if the investigation reveals that the officer was justified or not.

  • v

    Also this kid didn’t have a criminal history so he is not a Thug as he has been labeled. Well hell all blacks are thugs right? No one deserves to be shot over a pack of cigerettes. This doesn’t make this any better this is wrong on so many levels.

  • v

    Lets hear it he deserved to die he robbed someone blah blah blah. I say no he didn’t. He deserved for the Officer to keep a level head and not shoot him. He deserved to goto court pay a fine or since it was his first offense possibly get the charges dropped and serve community service. Instead he is six feet deep like so many minorities in this nation. I am amazed people are not outraged at this.

    • B

      I have yet to hear anyone say he deserved to die, and I guess you don’t get out much but people are beyond outraged. They are rioting, looting, burning stuff, etc. I don’t care what color he was, he acted like a punk thug when he robbed the store. Him being called a thug over those actions have noting to do with race, nor does it mean he deserved to die. There are THUGS of every color, you sound like Eric Holder playing the race card.

  • v

    Oh and someone is on here saying blacks commit more violent crimes than whites. I totally disagree with that statement. There are ample stats to support blacks commit crimes against property, petty theft etc. Whites commit violent crimes rape, murders etc. However, blacks are more frequently convicted of said crimes thus there is a bias in the judicial system.What if Whites were convicted at the same rates as Blacks oh man. But nothing is ever said about that.

  • JustTired

    V – you make it sound like the cop saw him steal a pack of smokes and shot him for it??? I dont know what happend, but apprently there was a point when someone pushed the officer into his patrol car and assaulted him while attemptinig to gain access to his service pistol. At THAT point the game changes from detaining a suspect for questioning…to a life threatening situation. (for BOTH parties) – Again i do not know why or at what point he was shot, but I do not beleive he was just shot because he stole a pack of smokes. I am sure there was much panic and fear on both sides when two people are wrestling over a loaded firearm in a moment of agression.

  • Wes

    Bottom line, the man would still be alive if #1) he didn’t steal a box of cigars (commonly used to make weed cigars AKA “Blunts”. #2) If he would have not resisted arrest (assuming he did since there was a struggle) he would be very much alive. I have numerous black friends that have had encounters with the police. Every one of them tell me they were treated with respect because they gave the officer respect. Had this kid been white, we would not see it on national news, however I bet the results would be the same! One dead su

  • LAC

    SO, when police show a heavy presence it leads to looting and vadelism? Surely its not the other way around. The is no way the was looting before there was a police presence. So message to police officer’s – if you respond to massive amounts of violence with a smile and no force then there will be no looting or violence because everyone will behave. Why cant law enforcement just be nicer then voilent criminals would be nicer and the world would be a nicer place?
    The problem in this country is that we cant honestly identify the true problems, therefore we will never reach a solution. 99% of the people up there looting care nothing about the young man or ever hearing the actual truth, they are simply looking for an excuse to break and steal someone else’s property (the the massive street mob all over the u s on the internet). And now our society is so blind and stupid to that fact that we actually provide them an excuse….and then blame it on the police.

    • Michael

      You’re missing the point. Escalated, militarized violence doesn’t stop the violence that’s already there. Other than that one night, the protests have been largely peaceful. It’s the police that fire the first shots against both citizens and news reporters after illegally ordering everyone to shut their cameras off (gee, I wonder why), as has been seen on numerous released videos. If you treat them like animals, they may just act like animals.

      • Tim

        Michael , the thug probably thought the officer was confronting him about the robbery and assault he just committed and that’s why he attacked the officer and tried to take his gun. His violent nature got him killed.

  • Michael

    ***UPDATE***
    The AP is now reporting that the officer did NOT know Brown was a robbery suspect.
    “Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer did not know the teen was a robbery suspect at the time of the shooting and stopped Michael Brown and a companion ‘because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.'”

  • Tim

    Even though the 290 lb thug was ” unarmed” He was capable of taking the officers weapon or killing him with his bare hands. The so called witness was part of the robbery ( not a reliable witness). Listen you hear that ? That’s the sound of thousands of “race cards” sliding back into the race baiters pockets… The people in Ferguson have acted like animals looting, stealing and burning buildings. Sharpton needs to shut up and go home this so called kid acted like a thug, robbed like a thug and died like a thug……

    • Michael

      Keep trying to smear Johnson as a thug. As of this post, the police have already determined he will face no charges in connection with the robbery. If you want to discredit Johnson because he was Brown’s friend then what about Tiffany Mitchell who was driving down the road and saw what happened?

      The scuffle is almost irrelevant at this point. Brown allegedly distanced himself afterwards by about 20 feet and was surrendering, meaning the cop was no longer in life threatening danger. If true, he needs to be charged. I don’t give a rat’s posterior what the Ferguson PD or St. Louis County Sheriff’s office say at this point. If you don’t think police will lie or spin the facts to cover their own then you really don’t know how the police work. We need an outside investigation by someone like the FBI or DoJ before I ever say the officer was justified.

  • Allen Eugene Booth

    He may not need it, but Gov. Nixon should place the Mo. National Guard on alert in case he needs to declare martial law in Ferguson.

  • KB

    It really is sad the situation turned out as it did. I wish the rioting would stop. Its stupid, proves nothing and will not bring the boy back.

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