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Michael Brown, 18, was left lying in street for 4 hours after being shot to death by Ferguson Police.
FERGUSON, MO — A teen’s death has sparked national outrage, after a dispute over jaywalking resulted in a fatal police shooting. According to witnesses, the target had his hands in the air when he was shot multiple times.
At around 2:15 p.m. on August 9th, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown and 22-year-old Dorian Johnson were walking down the center of Canfield Drive in a residential neighborhood close to one of their homes.
Some key parts of the story are in dispute, but everyone agrees on the following: (1) the two men were walking in the street; (2) a Ferguson Police Officer told the men to get on the sidewalk; (3) there was a brief verbal exchange; (4) the unidentified officer fatally shot Michael Brown multiple times; (5) Brown was unarmed.
Darian Johnson’s Witness Account
Dorian Johnson was Mr. Brown’s companion that afternoon and says he witnessed the confrontation and the shooting. In an interview with MSNBC, Mr. Johnson said that he and Mr. Brown had been walking in the street when an officer drove up and told them to “Get the f— onto the sidewalk.” Those were the words Mr. Johnson recalled being yelled at him and his friend.
According to the account, the pair were nearly to Mr. Johnson’s house and did not immediately exit the street as directed. “It was not but a minute to our destination and we would be off the street,” he said in an interview.
The officer, who had already passed them, put his car in reverse and almost hit them. The male cop then opened his door, hitting Mr. Brown. When the door bounced shut, the officer grew “upset” and reached out of his window and allegedly grabbed Mr. Brown by the neck, yanking him into the window.
“Mike was trying to get away from being choked,” Mr. Johnson told MSNBC. At that point, he said, the officer pulled a gun and fired, striking Mr. Brown.
“I saw the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,” said Mr. Johnson. “Then I saw the fire come out of the barrel.”
Mr. Johnson says he was only an arm’s length away from the initial shot. “I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close,” he said.
Both men started running, his account stated, but Mr. Johnson ducked behind a car while Mr. Brown kept running. The officer had exited his vehicle with his gun drawn.
That’s when Mr. Brown was shot a second time, Mr. Johnson said, and he turned with his hands in the air, only to be shot several more times. After witnessing Mr. Brown collapse and stop moving following multiple gunshot wounds, Mr. Johnson said that he feared for his life and took off running.
Mr. Johnson stated that Brown did not assault the police officer and that, contrary to police reports, “[Brown] did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all.”
Describing the scene, Mr. Johnson revealed the placement of the police car and Brown at the time of the shooting: “His death came behind the police car, but the initial shot, we were on the side, at the driver’s door of the police car.”
When interviewed by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Mr. Johnson said that it was was “sixty seconds or less” from the moment of first contact until the shooting. “It sped up so quickly, it got out of hand. It wasn’t even a minute.”
As a key witness, Mr. Johnson’s testimony has been ignored thus far by the police and has only discussed with media sources.
“What is interesting about this is that we have not [been contacted by investigators],” said attorney Freeman Bosley, Jr., who represents Mr. Johnson. He said that he and his client contacted the department to make themselves available for an interview but, as of this writing, were turned down.
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