Just minutes before he was shot and killed by a police officer, sparking days of looting and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, 18-year-old Michael Brown was allegedly robbing a convenience store for cigars, which, a WND investigation reveals, may have been meant for marijuana use.
Security video from the Ferguson Market and Liquor on Aug. 9 reveals a suspect who appears to be Brown stealing Swisher Sweets cigars. Dorian Johnson, the friend of Brown who claims he witnessed the police shooting, also told authorities Brown committed the robbery.
Swisher Sweets, one of America’s most popular and least expensive major cigar brands, however, are not just popular with teenagers, but also widely known to be used by marijuana smokers, who roll their own blunts by replacing the cigarillos’ tobacco with pot.
Brown’s own words, recorded under his rap pseudonym “Big’mike,” provide the first clues that may be exactly why Brown was after the Swisher Sweets.
“Smokin’ on the dope, ’til I choke,” raps Brown in a song titled “Forgiveness Big’mike.”
Later in the lyrics, many of which are obscene and mumbled, making them hard to discern, Brown also raps, “Do you smoke weed? Keep doin’ what you do best.”
Listen to “Forgiveness Big’mike” — Warning: Obscene lyrics.
Brown's SoundCloud page of original compositions also includes several collaborative efforts with a rapper named "Luh Vee," including the tune "Smokin' Dope," with lyrics that repeatedly boast of marijuana use.
Luh Vee's Facebook page shows several photos of the aspiring rapper smoking cigarillos with a clearly "buzzed" look on his face. One of the photos even accompanies his song, "Danny Glover Freestyle," uploaded to Brown's music page, which also includes lyrics about "smoking dope."
As WND reported, Johnson's attorney, former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr., said he and Johnson met with the Department of Justice, the county prosecutor and others, "and we told them everything" about the Aug. 9 events, including the robbery at the convenience store.
"They knew three days ago about Big Mike and my client and the cigarillos," Bosley told WND.
According to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, at 11:51 a.m. on Aug. 9, a 911 caller reported a strong-arm robbery at the convenience store. Exactly 10 minutes later, at 12:01 p.m., Officer Darren Wilson encountered Brown and Johnson walking in the street. Sometime between then and 12:04 p.m., when a second officer arrived at the scene, Brown was fatally shot.
Regarding the convenience store robbery, Bosley told WND his client explained he and Brown were in the store, and Brown handed him a box, but Johnson refused to take part in the theft.
"Dorian told Big Mike, 'I don't steal,' and he put it back on the counter," Bosley said.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer from Florida who is representing Brown's family and also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, called release of the video an attempt at "character assassination."
Anthony Gray, a local attorney for the family, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the family never called Brown "a perfect kid." He warned protesters that, in viewing the video, "you may see images or depictions that don't paint him in the most complimentary light."
But he said the family was pleading for people not to engage in violence.
"Don't take the bait from anybody who is trying to character-assassinate Mike," he said. "Don't take that and begin to riot, don't take that and begin to loot. The family has made this clear."