What We Learned, and What We Didn't Learn, From Today's Disclosures in Ferguson (Updated)
Ferguson police released half of the story of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday.
Police released this photo set of a man who appears to be Brown engaging in a strong-arm robbery of less than $50 worth of cheap cigars.
Later, police released the full robbery video.
At the time that this robbery occurred, according to police, Officer Darren Wilson was on a routine "sick call" trailing an ambulance. Wilson received a call about the robbery, and went to investigate.
That was at 12:01 PM. Three minutes later, Wilson confronted Brown, and shot and killed him.
The disclosure that Brown was a suspect in a violent robbery goes directly to his and Officer Wilson's state of mind in the fatal moment.
Up to today, the narrative has been that Brown was minding his own business when a police officer confronted him, a scuffle ensued, and the officer killed Brown. That narrative may no longer be operative.
Brown had graduated high school and was days away from going to college.
But, if that is him in the stills of the robbery, then college was not the only thing on his mind.
If -- I stress if -- that is Brown in the robbery, then he had a violent side we have not heard about yet. If that is Michael Brown, the 6'4", 292-pound man had just jeopardized his entire future for some cheap cigars. He was not minding his own business at all.
When Officer Wilson confronted Brown, then, the officer had reason to expect violence. The suspect had just engaged in a violent robbery. The officer did not truly know whether the suspect was armed or not, but the officer could see that Brown was very large and could pose a physical threat.