Evidence presented in the investigations of the shooting death of Michael Brown by white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in 2014 shows the 18-year-old black teen robbed a convenience store shortly before his fateful encounter with Wilson.
Now a filmmaker is claiming a surveillance video featured in a new documentary shows Brown didn’t commit a strong-armed robbery.
Jason Pollock, in his new documentary “Stranger Fruit,” included a previously unreleased video that shows Brown visiting Ferguson Market & Liquor at around 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014, about 11 hours before he returned to the store and committed what is believed to be a strong-armed robbery.
The new video, according to Pollock, shows Brown trading a bag of marijuana for two boxes of cigarillos from the store clerks. The filmmaker claims Brown left the cigarillos at the store to be picked up at a later time, meaning Brown’s second, more publicized visit to the store was not a robbery but merely Brown retrieving his merchandise.
Pollock intended the purported revelation, that Brown apparently was dealing drugs instead of robbing, to be a point in Brown’s favor. During media rounds Sunday and Monday, the filmmaker said investigators “wanted to make Mike look bad, so they put out half a video to destroy his character in his death.”
Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the nonprofit organization BOND, which tries to help troubled black men turn their lives around, wonders why Brown’s alleged drug dealing would make anyone think better of him.
“We saw him attack the owner of the store, so whether he was selling drugs or stealing, what’s the difference?” Peterson asked. “They both were wrong. They both were bad. One is not better than the other; they both were wrong, so it doesn’t change anything at all. It just shows that he was a thuggish drug dealer. I don’t know why they say that’s a good thing. The guy was still a thug.”
Jeff Roorda, a retired St. Louis-area police officer and current business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, told WND there is nothing to the new claim, partly because there was never any effort to hide the video.
Brown’s 1 a.m. visit to the store and the corresponding video are mentioned in parts of the St. Louis County police report released by Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch after the grand jury’s November 2014 decision in the trial of Wilson.
Furthermore, Jay Kanzler, the attorney for the convenience store, said he long ago received the video from the store and gave a copy to Brown’s family, which had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson.
“Nobody had any intent to hide it because there’s nothing to it; it doesn’t absolve Michael Brown of any guilt,” said Roorda, author of “The War on Police: How the Ferguson Effect is Making America Unsafe.” “What matters is what Darren Wilson knew, not what Michael Brown did. Wilson stops [Brown and Dorian Johnson] because they’re walking down the middle of the street, blocking traffic, doesn’t realize that Brown’s involved in the robbery until he sees something on Dorian Johnson and the cigarillos.
“It wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t done the robbery at all. What mattered is the assault that he perpetrated on Wilson and the fact that he tried to strip him of his gun and left Wilson with no other choice.”
McCulloch confirmed Roorda’s analysis, telling CNN he and his team of investigators viewed the video less than a week after Brown was killed. However, they decided not to present it to a grand jury because it was “not relevant or material” to Brown’s death.
What’s more, McCulloch accused Pollock of editing out part of the video. Pollock’s clip shows Brown entering the store, picking out drinks from a cooler and asking for cigarillos. The clerks then bag the merchandise, and Brown puts a bag of something, possibly marijuana, on the counter, which the clerks examine.
What was edited out of Pollock’s video, according to McCulloch, is a clerk talking to Brown and Brown putting the bag of groceries back on the counter, removing something else from the counter and exiting the store. The clerks then put the cigarillos back on the rack and the drinks back in the cooler.
So if Brown was offering a drug deal, the store employees did not agree to it, according to the prosecutor.
“There was certainly an attempt to barter for these goods, but the store employees had no involvement at all in that,” McCulloch said, according to CNN. “When he left, they put everything back on the counters where they belonged and went about their business.”
Roorda thinks Pollock, who previously worked for documentarian Michael Moore, is continuing the leftist tradition of deliberately confusing the Ferguson story to distract from Brown’s assault on Wilson.
“From the beginning of this thing there’s been this effort to rewrite history, and a few of us have successfully beat back on that; and there’s just this constant effort to sort of manipulate the narrative to the point where people aren’t really sure what happened, and that aids that far left, alt-left narrative,” Roorda said.
Peterson, for his part, views the controversy over the new video as part of the ongoing attempt to keep the idea of pervasive police racism alive.
“It’s just another point to continue to promote this idea that white cops are racist toward black Americans, and even after a court and the Justice Department found nothing to indicate the Michael Brown case was about race at all, they still want to promote that idea,” Peterson told WND.
News of the newly released video led to protests Sunday night outside Ferguson Market & Liquor. Seven or eight shots were heard from an area across the street from the market, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. One Ferguson police officer suffered a broken nose when a woman punched him in the face while he tried to make an arrest. One man was arrested for stuffing a napkin into the gas tank of a police car and trying to ignite it with a cigarette lighter.
Eventually the market closed, and police cleared the parking lot.
“It was on a smaller scale, but very reminiscent of what we saw here immediately after Michael Brown’s shooting and then again after the grand jury verdict,” Roorda said.
Peterson, author of “The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame, and Victimhood,” believes riots and protests such as these will not stop anytime soon, because it’s in the interest of the “race hustlers” to stir up black grievances against white people.
“These things are not going to stop because the race hustlers are not going to stop, because if the people ever wake up, these folks are going out of business because they have nothing else to hold onto,” Peterson declared. “They have done nothing to enhance the lives of black Americans or anyone else. It’s about politics and power; that’s it.”
Roorda surmises Wilson, wherever he is, must be experiencing a bit of déjà vu watching the media once again try to cast Brown as a victim.
“Here he is trying to finally move on with his life and thinking this is behind him and still having the wrongful death suit looming over his head, and now this non-evidence, all the ballyhoo about something that is just a complete zero.
“And even if you buy Pollock’s argument, all it proves is that Michael Brown was an even worse person,” Roorda reasoned. “He was a drug dealer on top of everything else he did.”