Today, Ferguson police released surveillance video that apparently shows 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. stealing about $43 worth of Swisher Sweets cigars from a local convenience store. During the robbery, Brown (or someone who looks like him) is seen roughing up the owner, in what police are calling a strong-armed robbery.
Brown’s family are calling the release a “character assassination,” but their attorney confirmed in a press conference this afternoon that the man in the video does appear to be Michael Brown Jr. That is also confirmation that Brown violently robbed the store, shortly before his confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson. That can tell us quite a bit about Brown’s state of mind at the time of the fatal confrontation.
Brown was an aspiring rapper, and has a page of his raps on SoundCloud. He rapped as Big’mike. The URL of his rap page is https://soundcloud.com/bigmike-jr-brown. The page is adorned with this photo, which is known to be of the Michael Brown Jr. who was killed last Saturday.
His SoundCloud page includes raps by him, and by an associate, Luh Vee.
The raps include some references to gangs in the tags.
This rap, by Luh Vee, on Brown’s page, has the tag #rolling60s. That’s a reference to the Crips street gang.
Another rap on the page has the tag #ablocc. Blocc is another reference to the Crips.
But Brown probably wasn’t an actual gang member. Gateway Pundit has posted images of him flashing Bloods gang signs. The Bloods and the Crips are enemies.
Brown’s rap associate, Luh Vee, is on Facebook and posted this photo about 20 weeks ago.
What do we learn from that photo?
An associate of Michael Brown, his rap ally, was in favor of hollowing out Swisher Sweets cigarillos, and stuffing them with pot to smoke or possibly to sell.
This is a thing.
Swisher Sweets are among the cheapest cigars available. The amount Brown is alleged to have stolen, about $43, is enough for between 80 and 100 of the cigars. Why steal them in bulk?
While you think about that, look at this. Brown has a 21-year-old cousin named Anthony Livingston. He is mentioned here.
Livingston also posts on Facebook. Here’s his cover photo.
None of this says that Brown’s killing by Officer Wilson was justified. We still don’t know exactly what happened that day. But the narrative of the gentle giant heading to college that has dominated the past week may be far from complete, and his actions prior to the confrontation may be extremely relevant.
Update: Dorian Johnson’s attorney has confirmed that he and Brown robbed the store.