Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson finally released the name of Michael Brown’s shooter this morning: Darren Wilson. But in doing so, he took the opportunity to distribute still images and video from a robbery that he says occurred Saturday morning before Brown was shot and killed. Ferguson has already failed on multiple levels since Brown’s shooting. Today’s development just adds to that list.
In the images and video released to the media this morning, someone who is purported to be Brown is seen pushing another person assumed to be a store clerk. We’re told that the person identified as Brown stole a box of little cigars.
The problem here is that the supposed images of Brown, along with the unverified allegation that he carried out a “strong-arm robbery,” primes the media—and its readers—to focus on the wrong suspect.
Rather than releasing images of Darren Wilson—who’s suspected of something far more serious than theft— this emphasis places blame on the victim. Even if it’s confirmed that Brown took a box of cigars and pushed a store clerk in one place, he was killed in another—and witnesses claim the 18-year-old was essentially executed in cold blood.
Aside from not having images of Wilson, we don’t even know how many shots he fired. We lack basic facts about the investigation into Wilson, assuming one is truly under way.