According to police radio calls that were gotten by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting that happened in Ferguson took place in less than 90 seconds. The newspaper has stated that the recordings of the call show that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot unarmed, black teen Michael Brown, came into contact with him at 12:02 p.m. when Brown and his friend were walking down the street.
Wilson, who had previously put in a call to the dispatcher regarding a “stealing in progress,” requested backup immediately after seeing Brown walking in the street with his friend, Dorian Johnson. According to the officer, he told them two to stop walking in the middle of the street and they ignored him. That was when he realized that Brown matched the description of a possible suspect in the theft. At this point, Wilson pulled over and he and Brown struggled for the gun. Wilson shot Brown who then ran away from him. Wilson then called for additional backup and continued to pursue Brown on foot before the other officers arrived.
The shooting in Ferguson happened in less than 90 seconds, however here is a lot of confusion about what those 90 seconds entailed. According to some witnesses, after Brown was shot the first time he surrendered, put his hands in the air and asked Wilson not to shoot. Brown’s friend, Johnson, said that the officer attempted to drag Brown into the squad car. According to Wilson, Brown turned and tried to lunge for his gun, at which point he shot him multiple times. Wilson called for an ambulance to transport Brown to a hospital in Ferguson and the report shows that a different officer arrived on the scene roughly one minute after Brown was fatally shot. The report places the time of his death in Ferguson at around 61 seconds after the dispatchers first acknowledged the call stating that Wilson had stopped the two young men. There is another call that was placed at 12:07 by a different officer requesting for additional units to be sent to the area. In the background of the call, a woman can be heard screaming.
The lawyers of the Brown family have stated that the response to the shooting by police was to be expected. They said that the audio clearly shows that the initial interaction between Wilson and Brown had nothing to do with the Ferguson convenience store robbery and that they will wait for the decision of the Grand Jury while continuing to try to change a system that is based on preferential treatment of law enforcement agents over citizens.
The Ferguson shooting may have happened is less than 90 seconds, but the repercussions have lasted months. Brown’s death has been the catalyst for both nonviolent and, in some cases, violent protests around the country. The shooting drew attention to the racial tensions that were already present in the small town and has drawn the issue of race relations into the public eye across the country. Brown’s shooting is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and will determine whether or not civil rights laws were abused in the incident. The indictment of officer Wilson is being handled by a grand jury that is expected to reach a decision by the end of November. According to the St. Louis County Chief of Police, if the jury decides not to indict Wilson, he will be returned to active duty on the force.
By Clara Goode
Photo Credit: peoplesworld – Flickr License