Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, who experienced their first night without significant rioting since last weekend, revealed the black teen who was killed by a police officer was a suspect in a convenience store robbery shortly before the fatal confrontation.
The name of the officer who fired the shots also was revealed.
KMOX-TV in St. Louis reported Ferguson police said Friday it was Officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who apparently was unarmed.
In a news conference, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson is on administrative leave, in compliance with department policy. He has been with the department for six years and has had no previous disciplinary action taken against him.
Wilson was treated for facial injuries after the shooting last weekend, police said.
Jackson said Brown was a suspect in the alleged theft of cigars from a convenience store.
When the robbery was reported, a description of the suspect was dispatched and Wilson was sent to investigate.
Apparently, Wilson encountered Brown only minutes later.
According to the police report, one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, assaulted him and struggled to get the officer’s weapon. A shot was fired in the car before the struggle moved to the street, where the officer shot Brown multiple times.
A man who was with Brown, Dorian Johnson, claims the officer grabbed Brown’s neck and pulled him to the car as he brandished a weapon and fired.
The news conference came less than a day after authorities decided to change their strategy to deal with the nightly riots.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said the State Highway Patrol will be in charge, instead of the local St. Louis County police.
The first nights were filled with looting and burning, with exchanges of tear gas and Molotov cocktails. Last night, in contrast, a patrol commander marched with protesters in the St. Louis suburb of about 21,000.
ABC reported the official police report on the robbery at the convenience store identified Brown as the “primary suspect.”
As the violence subsided Thursday, attention turned to the militarization of police.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wrote in a commentary in Time: “The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.”
“How did this happen?” Paul asked. “Most police officers are good cops and good people. It is an unquestionably difficult job, especially in the current circumstances.”
He said the problem is with “big government,” because Washington has “incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies β where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.”
David Mastio and Kelsey Rupp wrote in a USA Today commentary that the Pentagon “might not have boots on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police on Saturday, but it does have wheels on the street.”
“Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, confirms the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the United States. The materials range from small items, such as pistols and automatic rifles, to heavy armored vehicles such as the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Mastio and Rupp reported.