Ferguson Police Won’t Release Name of Officer that Killed Michael Brown

By Aura Bogado Aug 12, 2014

Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, denouncing Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer have made requests. A group known as The Ad Hoc Committee for Justice on Behalf of Michael Brown has handed out flyers with four demands:

  1. The officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown be IMMEDIATELY identified.
  2. The same officer should be immediately fired and charged with murder.
  3. The Ferguson Police Department "Protocol Handbook" be distributed throughout the Ferguson community.
  4. The racial composition of the Ferguson Police Department should reflect the racial demographics of the community.

It’s unclear if the officer involved in the shooting will be terminated or charged, if the department’s handbook will be made available to the public, or if police department employees will engage in any meaningful discussions about race. But the first demand, to know the name of the officer who killed Brown, seems doable.

Ferguson’s police chief, Thomas Jackson, promised reporters that his office would release the name of the officer that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown by noon local time on Tuesday. Apparently he’s changed his mind. Time reports that, citing safety concerns, officer Timothy Zoll says the department is declining to make the officer’s name public:

"A lot of threats against the officer were made on Twitter, Facebook, all social media," Zoll said. "We are protecting the officer’s safety by not releasing the name."

Time adds that St. Louis police says they "will not ever release the name of the police officer," because doing so is at Ferguson’s discretion. 

Police, often roaming in tanks and armored trucks with various weapons, have made dozens of arrests in Ferguson since Saturday, the day Michael Brown was killed. News of the police department’s refusal to release the officer’s name to the public could lead to more unrest.