As Fox News reports, one self-purported eye witness to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, seems to claim that Brown charged a police officer immediately before that officer shot him. The unnamed person in question can be heard in the background of a graphic video captured of Brown laying in the street soon after he was shot. The person holding the camera claims that the police chased after Brown and shot him again as he lay on the ground; however, the person holding the camera also explicitly says he was not an eye witness to the shooting, and that he’s repeating what he had heard others say. However, another person, who can be heard in the background, claims that he was an eye witness to the shooting, and that person claims that Brown and the officer were “over the truck,” “then he [Brown] ran, police got out and ran after him.” Then, “The next thing I know, he comes back towards them. The police had his guns drawn.” The relevant portion of the video can be seen starting at around the 6:30 minute mark (warning: graphic content). Of course, this is still not a confirmed account; there are many potential reasons why this interpretation of events may not be accurate or complete. However, to my mind this audio provides a good reason to think that Brown may well have charged police—in which case the police shooting of him, which took place soon after a local robbery in which Brown may have participated, may have been justified. (Obviously his death is tragic regardless of the details.)
As I’ve noted before, if the officer in question had been wearing a camera, we would now know definitively what happened that day. I believe that every federal, state, and local law enforcement officer should, while on duty in a public setting, wear and use an active video camera.
In related news, “Missouri governor orders National Guard to Ferguson after latest night of clashes,” Fox reports. Even if the shooting of Brown was not justified, that would hardly justify rioters smashing and looting stores and attempting to injure police, as some of have done.
Finally, Johnathan Gentry, a minister local to Ferguson, shared a YouTube video in which he condemns those perpetrating violence. Fox shows part of the video (with which I do not entirely agree) and interviews Gentry.
10:59 pm Update: See my updates elsewhere regarding claims that Brown was surrendering, not acting aggressively toward the police.