A police chief has identified the officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager ignited days of heated protests in a suburb of St Louis.
He also released documents alleging the teen was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a $48.99 (£29) box of cigars.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference where he also identified the officer involved as Darren Wilson, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.
According to the police reports, Mr Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning. Mr Jackson said Mr Wilson, along with other officers, was called to the area after a police call reporting a “strong-arm” robbery just before noon. He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Mr Wilson, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate.
Mr Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police department, encountered Mr Brown just after 12.01pm, with a second officer arriving three minutes later, Mr Jackson said.
Mr Brown’s death has sparked several days of clashes with furious protestors in the city. The mood was quelled on Thursday, after the governor turned oversight of the protests to the state Highway Patrol.
State troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protestors replaced the county police in riot gear and armored tanks of previous nights.
But the police chief’s announcement yesterday was met with immediate disbelief and anger by several dozen community members who also attended the news conference, which was hastily held at a petrol station burned during a night of looting earlier in the week.
Police have said Mr Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say 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 before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Mr Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.