‘I just saw someone die’: Rapper live-tweets Michael Brown shooting and shares graphic photo of teen’s body in the street as victim’s family accuse Ferguson police of character assassination
- Singer Thee Pharoah, 27, witnessed Michael Brown being shot by Officer Darren Wilson outside his Ferguson, Missouri, apartment Saturday
- The rapper shared two photos from the crime scene, one of them showing Brown’s corpse in the street
- Thee Pharoah wrote that Brown was running when he was shot twice in the back and five more times as a ‘barrage’ after he turned around
- Police chief said today Officer Wilson did not know Brown was a robbery suspect when he stopped him last Saturday
- Wilson stopped Brown and friend Dorian Johnson because they were ‘walking in the road and blocking traffic’
- Brown’s family said today the tape was a ‘strategic side show aimed at ‘denigrating their son’
- Police released CCTV stills of a robbery minutes before the shooting showing a suspect whose clothing and stature matched Michael Brown
- Police report released on Friday names Brown as ‘the primary suspect’
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A hip hop artist from Ferguson, Missouri, was home at noon last Saturday when he looked out the window and saw a police officer shoot a young man to death.
The rapper who goes by the stage name Thee Pharoah took to social media and proceeded to live-tweet the shooting of 19-year-old Michael Brown and its tragic aftermath.
Brown was unarmed when he was shot eight times in the middle of a street in Ferguson at the hands of officer Darren Wilson.
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Warning: Graphic Content: Missouri rapper Thee Pharoah shared this disturbing image of Michale Brown lying dead in the middle of the street in Ferguson last Saturday after being shot by a police officer
Social media: The 27-year-old singer-songwriter took to Twitter after witnessing the Brown shooting outside his apartment
Gruesome detail: Thee Pharoah described a harrowing scene outside his window, with the victim’s blood staining the road
According to a timeline of the shooting, the first bullets struck the 18-year-old just after 12pm Saturday.
About an hour later, rapper Thee Pharoah sent out his first tweet about the tragedy playing out outside his window: ‘I JUST SAW SOMEONE DIE OMFG,’ he wrote in all caps.
In response to a question about the incident posed to him by a friend, Pharoah clarified that ‘the police just shot someone dead’ in front of his home.
The 27-year-old singer-songwriter then shared a disturbing photo taken from his backyard showing Brown’s body lying in the middle of the street with a uniformed police officer standing over him.
There is no indication that the officer seen in the frame was the shooter.
The rapper confided in his followers that he was very upset by what happened, describing a harrowing scene with ‘blood all over the street’ and crime scene tape surrounding his apartment building.
Assigning blame: The singer identified the shooter as a police officer
Eyewitness account: In response to a follower’s question, Thee Pharoah said that Michael Brown was shot for ‘no reason’ as he was running down the street
Hail of bullets: The witness tweeted that he heard seven shots, two of them fired at Brown’s back and the other five as a ‘barrage’ after the teen turned around
When asked by a user why the officer shot the man, later identified as Michael Brown, Thee Pharoah replied that there was ‘no reason,’ and that the youth described by him as an 18- or 19-year-old was just ‘running.’
‘Dude was running and the cops just shot.him. i saw him die,’ the singer wrote.
During a press conference Friday, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that Officer Wilson stopped Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson at 12.01pm because they were walking down the middle of the road and blocking traffic.
About two hours after the deadly confrontation, Thee Pharoah tweeted in response to a query from a follower that he heard seven shots and saw Brown getting hit by two of the rounds from behind.
He added that the remaining five bullets came as a ‘barrage’ after Michael Brown turned around to face the officer.
Thee Pharoah then uploaded another picture of the crime scene, now with a red screen concealing Brown’s body from view, and an officer walking with a rifle in his hand. It is believed that the pictured Ferguson cop was not involved in the incident.
At around 3.30pm, some three hours after the shooting, Pharoah tweeted that Brown was still lying dead on the ground.
Pharoah shared a picture of a police officer, believed to be unrelated to the shooting, walking with a rifle in his hand near the victim’s body hidden from view by a screen
Left for dead: Hours after the shooting, Thee Pharoah tweeted that Michael Brown’s body was still lying in the street
On Sunday, Thee Pharoah declared that he will no longer be tweeting about the shooting. Since then, his friends have advised him to hire a lawyer and ‘lay low.’
Over the past week, Thee Pharoah has been regularly writing about protests raging in Ferguson and around the country, and re-tweeting news items about the case.
On Thursday, he appealed on Twitter to reporters to stop asking him questions about what he witnessed.
‘I will tell you I know nothing,’ he concluded.
Thee Pharoah’s posts about Brown’s killing were first discovered by reporter Tim Dickinson and later picked up by the site Mashable.
As night descended on Ferguson Friday, hundreds of people came up to take part in a march led by Rev Jesse Jackson to the site of Brown’s killing.
Jackson bent over in front of a memorial cross and candle and sighed deeply. He urged people to ‘turn pain into power’ and to ‘fight back, but not self-destruct’ through violence.’
Chaos: Smoke from a tire burnout rises over protestors on West Florissant Avenue during a tense demonstration
March for peace: Rev. Jessie Jackson walks with protesters down the street Friday where Michael Brown was killed by police nearly a week ago in Ferguson, Missouri
Hands up: People marched in the streets with their hands raised – a gesture that has become a symbol of the Brown protests
Rage: Protesters chase away a police vehicle as the demonstration is beginning to take a violent turn
Many of the participants came out carrying signs and bullhorns to demand justice. Young men and women posed with their hands in the air, holding posters that read: ‘Don’t shoot.’
However, as night fell on the city the clashes grew more ominous. Several reports cited tear gas and smoke bombs being fired by officers as groups of youths refused to clear the streets.
Some reports were also made of looters raiding local shops around 3am ET.
Meanwhile, the Brown family spoke out today accusing police of ‘inciting violence all over again’ by releasing images of a convenience store robbery which they acknowledged ‘appeared to be’ Michael Brown.
After releasing the tape on Friday, police admitted that Officer Darren Wilson didn’t know Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery when he stopped the teen and subsequently shot him dead in Ferguson last Saturday.
But speaking to CNN and NBC later in the day Friday, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson offered a different version of events, saying that officer Darren Wilson became suspicious of Brown after spotting a box of cigars in his hands that had been reported stolen.
Ferguson’s top cop explained that initially Wilson stopped Brown for walking in the middle of the street, but as he drove away, the officer ‘made the connection’ between the teen and the grocery store robbery, reported USA Today.
Attorney Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the family, said that the release of the CCTV tape was a ‘strategic side show’ aimed at ‘denigrating their son’.
Attorneys for the Brown family Anthony Gray (speaking) and Daryl Parks (left) were accompanied by Michael’s cousin Eric (second right) as they said the video of a store robbery, which appeared to be Michael, was a ‘side show’ to the real issue of the unarmed teen’s shooting by police Officer Darren Wilson
Police chief Thomas Jackson held a second press conference on Friday and admitted that the officer who shot Michael Brown did not know he was the suspect in a robbery
Mr Gray said that the teenager’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr, ‘never described him as the perfect kid’ and fully admitted that they had done their best to keep Michael on the right path for his future.
The lawyer added: ‘No one out there is proud of everything they have done when they were a teenager.’
Daryl Parks, another attorney for the Brown family, also told gathered media that it ‘appears to be Michael’ in the store CCTV.
Mr Gray described the release of the video – which the police chief said at a follow-up news conference on Friday was simply done because of ‘media requests’ – was a great distraction from the main issue.
‘That Michael had bullets pumped into his body while his hands were in the air,’ he added.
Michael Brown, who was unarmed, was shot up to eight times in the middle of the street in Ferguson, a St Louis suburb, around midday on Saturday.
POLICE OFFICER WHO SHOT MICHAEL BROWN WON DEPARTMENT AWARD
The officer who shot Michael Brown won a commendation for ‘extraordinary effort in the line of duty’ in February, it was revealed today.
Darren Wilson, 28, was nowhere to be seen at his white middle class home in the suburb of Crestwood where he moved just a year ago. It was claimed he’d left the single-story brick home ‘days ago’. No one answered the door when MailOnline knocked on the door and there were two or three police cars parked outside.
Neighbors told USA Today that he was ‘tall and slim’ and was often seen walking his dog.
Another neighbor, Ron Gorski, told USA Today: ‘He’s a young guy,’ Gorski said of Wilson. ‘Things happen and it’s a complicated situation. I feel for the family and the entire country.’
Wilson, who is on paid administrative leave, won a commendation for ‘extraordinary effort in the line of duty’ in February, according to NBC‘s Tom Winter.
He has spent four years in Ferguson and two previous years in the Jennings district, said Winter.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson said the shooting had been ‘devastating, absolutely devastating’ to Wilson, adding: ‘We had no complaints about the officer. He was a gentleman. A quiet officer. He has been an effective officer.’
According to public records, his mother died in 2002. Wilson has a sister and a half-brother.
Mr Gray added: ‘The family feels at this time where there is calm is in the community, he [Jackson] is inciting the community all over again.
‘We were finally getting to a point where we were galvanizing questions and now we are focusing on the sideshow. Do not take the bait.’
On Friday morning, police had revealed the name of the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson.
Simultaneously, they handed out video stills and a police report referring to a ‘strong-armed’ robbery at a convenience store close to the shooting where Brown was the ‘primary suspect’.
At a secondary police conference on Friday, Chief Jackson said Officer Wilson was only in the area when the robbery took place because he was responding to a separate 911 call.
Wilson only stopped Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson on Saturday around noon because they were walking down the middle of the road and blocking traffic, the chief said.
Police released CCTV images today of a ‘strong-armed’ robbery taking place at a store in Ferguson minutes before teen Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson. Police named Brown as the primary suspect in the robbery – but later admitted Officer Wilson had no idea he was a suspect when he stopped him
The lifeless body of Michael Brown lies in the Ferguson street on Saturday. The clothing appears to match that of a suspect in a convenience store robbery that happened minutes before. Police later revealed that the officer who shot Brown was unaware that a robbery had taken place
When asked about the police’s timing of releasing the robbery video along with the name of Officer Wilson today, the police chief said he did so because ‘you asked for it’ – referring to Freedom of Information requests from the media regarding the shooting. He added that he had ‘sat on the video for as long as he could’.
Eric Davis spoke to the media, on behalf of his cousin, Michael’s mother, Lesley McSpadden. Mr Davis said the release of the store robbery video tape was ‘smoke and mirrors’.
He added: ‘Whatever took place in the grocery store does not reflect what happened on Canfield [the street where Brown was shot dead].’
He asked for support from the community but once again reiterated the family’s wish that there be no violence.
Brown’s grieving family reacted with fury after police announced the dead teen was the ‘primary suspect’ in a convenience store robbery.
Brown, 18, was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson on Saturday. It emerged today he was the primary suspect in a store robbery on the same day
Along with naming Officer Wilson, which came after mounting public pressure to identify the shooter, the Ferguson police chief took the opportunity to disperse video stills and an incident report from a ‘strong-armed’ robbery that took place moments before the shooting on Saturday.
The teenager’s family expressed their outrage at the police’s decision to ‘assassinate’ their son’s character and divert attention from the cop killing.
The statement read: ‘Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piecemeal information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.
‘There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.
‘The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.
‘It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.
Michael Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden. The family released a statement today saying ‘devious’ police had ‘assassinated their son’s character’
‘The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.’
Michael’s aunt Sheryl Davis told MailOnline: ‘It’s appalling. I think that the police will try anything to smear Michael.
‘Nothing surprises me with the way that this police force have treated this whole thing.’
She added that the family would be asking for the full surveillance footage to see if it was indeed the teenager in the clip.
The family had described their son, who had no prior criminal record, as a ‘gentle giant’ who was looking forward to starting college this week before his death.
Police also used today’s news conference to name Darren Wilson as the white police officer who fatally shot Brown.
In a shocking twist to the killing which sparked riots in St Louis, Missouri over the last few days, the officer investigating the convenience store robbery also attended the scene of the shooting and said the suspect and Brown were the same person.
According to the police report, video shows Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson having an altercation with store staff and allegedly stealing a box of Swisher Sweets cigars on Saturday, shortly before midday.
In the grainy images, a large black man wearing a light-colored shirt, distinctive shoes, a red baseball hat and khaki shorts is seen stealing cigars the cigars and then assaulting a clerk who intervenes.
A photograph of Michael Brown’s lifeless body, taken minutes later in the street, shows that he was wearing a light grey shirt, the same shoes and khaki cargo shorts. There was also a red baseball cap by the body.
Ferguson police on Friday released these surveillance images which showed two men stealing a $50 box of cigars from a convenience store shortly before midday last Saturday
Crime scene photo following the Michael Brown shooting shows a red baseball cap which matches that in the CCTV images from the convenience store, minutes earlier on Saturday
The report, released by police on Friday, said the victim ‘had just come out of the restroom when Brown said he wanted several boxes of cigars.
As the attendant was ‘placing the boxes on the counter, Brown grabbed a box of Swisher Sweet cigars and handed them to Johnson who was standing behind Brown’.
Brown was told by the unidentified person that he had to pay for cigars, which cost $48.99.
The report then reads: ‘That is when Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets and turned to leave the store.’
The attendant then called 911 as someone else came out from ‘behind the counter and attempts to stop Brown from leaving’.
A MATTER OF MINUTES: TIMELINE OF THE MICHAEL BROWN SHOOTING
11.48am – Officer Darren Wilson and an ambulance crew were at an unrelated call about a sick person
11.51am – A 911 call comes in about a ‘strong- armed’ robbery at a nearby convenience store
11.52am – Police radio dispatch gives a description of two robbery suspects who assaulted a clerk and stole Swisher Sweet cigars. The clerk says the suspects were walking toward the QuickTrip gas station
12.01pm – Officer Wilson encounters Michael Brown walking in the middle of the street in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive. The officer shoots Brown dead following an altercation
12.04pm – A second officer arrives on scene and the ambulance from the sick call arrives to give Brown medical attention. He is declared dead at the scene
12.05pm – A supervisor arrives at the scene of the shooting
Someone tried to stop Brown from leaving and locked the door until ‘Brown returned the merchandise to him’.
‘That is when Brown grabbed X by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back into the display rack.
‘X backed away and Brown and Johnson exited the store with the cigars’, said the report.
The robbery report described Brown as 6ft 4inches and weighing 292lbs.
The police report also gave a detailed description of the suspect’s clothing. It said the store robbery suspect was wearing tan khaki long shorts, a white T-shirt, yellow socks and flip-flop style shoes.
The officer writing the robbery report said he attended the scene of Brown’s shooting and that after reviewing the surveillance footage: ‘I was able to confirm that Brown is the primary suspect in this incident.
‘A second person, also at that scene, identified himself as being with Brown. That person was later identified as Dorian Johnson.
‘After observing Johnson and reviewing the video, I confirmed he is the second suspect in this incident.’
Dorian Johnson’s account of the shooting will now come under intense scrutiny with the revelation that he was identified as a robbery suspect too.
The 22-year-old, who was with Michael when he was shot dead, has said in numerous interviews that the incident began when the officer drove past and told them to ‘get the f*** on the sidewalk’ as they were on the road.
He mentioned nothing about the alleged convenience store robbery.
The information that was handed out by Ferguson police on Friday only held details about the alleged robbery and included no report from Officer Wilson about the shooting.
Despite the link to the robbery, there will still be an investigation into whether unnecessary force was used by Wilson in the killing of the 18-year-old, who was unarmed.
Officer Darren Wilson is a six-year veteran of the Ferguson Police Department and has no history of disciplinary action.
The cop, from the St Louis area, was treated for injuries after the shooting, according to police.
Police released video footage of a ‘strong-armed robbery’ which took place at a Ferguson store. In this still, the suspect, who police named as Brown, is at the counter
The suspect is seen passing back an item, believed to be a $50-box of cigars, to another suspect, believed to be Dorian Johnson
Ferguson police today released a timeline of events which took place in the lead up to the Michael Brown shooting on Saturday. Officer Darren Wilson was at an unrelated call before hearing a 911 dispatch about a store robbery at a separate location. On his way, he encounter Michael Brown and friend Dorian Johnson
‘CHARACTER ASSASSINATION’: MICHAEL BROWN’S FAMILY AND PROTESTERS REACT
Reaction to Ferguson police’s announcement today that Michael Brown was primary suspect in a store robbery, has drawn outrage from his grieving family.
Brown’s family slammed the devious police for ‘assassinating Michael’s character’.
They told AP that the police were playing ‘the old game of smoke and mirrors’.
His aunt Sheryl Davis told MailOnline: ‘It’s appalling. I think that the police will try anything to smear Michael.’
Social media reacted to the information with a mixed response.
The Reverend Al Sharpton tweeted on Friday: ‘@smokey: “You can’t jump over a murder & talk to me about some cigars…” @thereval @newsone #Ferguson”’
The feelings of many were summed up by one user Jay @_TribeCalledJ, who tweeted:’Mike Brown being a robbery suspect doesn’t justify the 7 or 8 shots that were fired into his body.
Lisa Bloom, an NBC legal analyst and practising attorney, tweeted: ‘How today’s robbery report changes the #Ferguson cop’s defense: watch for him to argue he had right to shoot #MikeBrown as “fleeing felon.
Journalist Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Alleged theft of cigars is not a reason to shoot dead an unarmed teenager. #MichaelBrown #Ferguson’
Chief Jackson said that the officer is ‘torn up’ over the shooting of Michael Brown.
Today, staff at the convenience store which Brown allegedly robbed have boarded it up because they fear rioters will kill them.
Two police cars were parked outside on Friday to watch the property, which is a short distance away from where Michael was shot dead.
Employees at the store appeared nervous and tense as they were asked about the incident. One staff member, a man in his 40s, told MailOnline: ‘He didn’t deserve to die. I feel bad about what happened.’
Another man in his 30s said: ‘People are going to come and kill us. We are worried. Are you going to protect us?’
The men also revealed that the clerk who was working that day is doing okay but scared as well.
In a brief press conference shortly before 9am (CT) on Friday, Chief Jackson gave a timeline of the minutes leading up to Officer Wilson’s shooting of Brown on August 9.
At 11.48am, Officer Wilson was attending an unrelated ‘sick call’ with an ambulance present.
At 11.51am, a 911 call came in reporting a ‘strong-armed’ robbery at a convenience store, which included a description of two suspects.
At 11.52am, dispatch gave a description of a robbery suspect over the radio.
A further description, with more details, was given over the radio and stated the suspect was walking towards another convenience store, QuickTrip.
At 12.01pm, Officer Wilson made contact with Michael Brown who was walking with a friend on Canfield Drive.
A second officer arrived on scene immediately after the shooting.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson stands amid a sea of reports on Friday as he released the name of Officer Darren Wilson as the cop who shot Michael Brow
At 12.05pm, a supervisor dispatched to the scene and was joined by other officers.
Chief Jackson said the ambulance that had been on the sick call responded to the shooting and provided medical assistance to Mr Brown – who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dorian Johnson gave an eye-witness account of Michael Brown’s shooting. His account could be called into question after it was revealed he is a robbery suspect
Police have said 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead after Officer Wilson encountered him and another man on the street.
Police claim one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon.
At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.
Witnesses have said the officer fired on Brown as he tried to run away.
Ferguson police were heckled on Thursday night while patrolling an angry crowd protesting the death of black teenager Michael Brown.
Demonstrators had chanted: ‘What’s his name? What’s his name?’ at Officer Jon Belmar.
Ferguson police had refused to name the officer who shot dead the teenage student, citing death threats against officers on social media.
There had been growing anger in the Ferguson community as to why the officer’s name has not been released, almost a week after the fatal shooting.
Hacktivist collective Anonymous had released the alleged name of the officer – but authorities said that the person named was actually a dispatcher and was not involved in the Ferguson shooting or any other.
Ferguson, Missouri erupted into violent protests over five nights following the police shooting of Michael Brown with tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets being fired at protesters by police
The robbery suspect, who was described in the police report as 6’4′ and 292lbs, appears to grab a store clerk by the throat
He then leans over the man during the ‘strong-armed’ robbery on Saturday shortly before midday
The suspect then makes for the door after pushing the employee away. A police report today named Michael Brown as the primary suspect in this robbery