DOJ Warned Ferguson Police Against Releasing Robbery Video

The Justice Department advised Ferguson Police that releasing the video of Brown allegedly stealing cigars could ignite tensions. They were right.

DOJ Warned Ferguson Police Against Releasing Robbery Video
Getty Images

The Department of Justice reportedly asked Ferguson police not to release a video that appears to show Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, citing concerns that the release would reignite tensions in the community, and well...

"A tense stand-off overnight in Ferguson, Mo. as police in riot gear confront looters. What started out as a night of peaceful demonstrations escalated into violence."

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the video just after announcing that it was six-year police veteran Darren Wilson who shot Brown. 

Jackson said he released the video due to a large amount of open records requests from the media and that he would have had to release it eventually anyway.

Attorneys for Brown's parents have their own ideas as to why it was released.

"We believe that he strategically did that to assassinate the character of Michael Brown."

In a separate press conference later that day, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpt. Ron Johnson, who is now in charge of security in Ferguson, told reporters he was not informed the video was being released and that he didn't even see it until it was on the news.

Jackson said he simply forgot to tell Highway Patrol that he planned to release the video.

The community did not respond well to the latest development in the Brown story.

"The reaction to what I heard this morning: It's a bunch of bull crap. That's what it is."

Adding to that frustration was confusion over whether police stopping Brown had anything to do with the robbery. Police later said the officer did not think Brown was a suspect at the time of the shooting.

And the fragile peace established in Ferguson was shattered again Friday night. Many protested peacefully but others looted at least two stores. One of which being the liquor store seen in the video that police say shows Brown stealing cigars.

Saturday, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and implemented a curfew starting at midnight and ending at 5 a.m.

This video contains images from Getty Images.