Police officer Wilson didn’t know Michael Brown was connected to robbery, Ferguson police chief says

BY newsdesk  August 15, 2014 at 9:04 AM EDT

UPDATED at 3:30 p.m. EDT: In a press conference Friday afternoon, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Darren Wilson — the officer being investigated in the shooting of Michael Brown — did not know Brown was a robbery suspect. Surveillance footage of that robbery was released Friday morning.

When asked why that video was made public, Jackson said, “because you asked for it.”

In a halting and sometimes disorganized statement, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced Friday morning that his department was releasing details of a strong-arm robbery that had occurred in the area prior to the shooting of Mr. Brown. Police were responding to a 911 call about the robbery when they encountered Mr. Brown. No details about the officer’s or Mr. Brown’s actions were released during the press conference. Packets containing some information requested by the press through FOIA were distributed at the statement.

Wilson has served on the Ferguson police force for 6 years, the New York Times reports. Wilson is now on paid administrative leave.

At the press conference, police released details of their report on the robbery allegedly committed by Brown and another man. The report describes Mr. Brown assaulting a convenience store clerk who attemtped to stop him from stealing cigars. Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly has posted pages of the report online via his Twitter account.

The full police report can be viewed online.

The press conference follows a night of reduced tensions between protesters and police officers, that many attributed to a handover of security leadership over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Led by Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, the team of officers engaged directly with protesters on Thursday night, marching with them through the streets of Ferguson, and listening to what they had to say.

Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to take control of security operations in the city of Ferguson, walks among demonstrators gathered along West Florissant Avenue on August 14, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to take control of security operations in the city of Ferguson, walks among demonstrators gathered along West Florissant Avenue on August 14, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The force also chose to avoid wearing gas masks, SWAT gear, or any other military-type equipment in an effort to de-escalate tensions. Reports from protesters and journalists seem to confirm that the change in tactics had a positive effect on the gatherings.