Michael Brown shooting: What happened in Ferguson?

Michael Brown's death sparked nationwide protests

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 11 August 2015 16:18 BST
A makeshift memorial on the street in Ferguson where Michael Brown died
A makeshift memorial on the street in Ferguson where Michael Brown died (Getty)

A year ago, Ferguson, Missouri, was a relatively quiet working-class suburban city of St Louis. But that quickly changed when a white officer killed an unarmed black teenager - casting the relationship between the town's African American population and its majority white police under a harsh international spotlight.

After Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on 9 August 2014, speculation over the details followed as distrust between citizens and city authorities reached new heights.

Considering the evidence, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in November 2014 - sparking further unrest.

Months later in March of this year, two thorough US Department of Justice reports on the shooting filled in the blanks and exposed institutionalised racism and hardship in Ferguson Police Department.

So, what happened in Ferguson on 9 August?

A demonstrator holds a sign reading "Dont Shoot" with images of Michael Brown on 17 August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Image: Getty) (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Brown and his friend visit local shops

Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson left a convenience store. CCTV footage was later released by police showing Brown stealing cigarillos.

Wilson, who was in his police vehicle, ordered the pair to move onto the sidewalk and noticed Brown fitted the description of a suspect in a convenience store theft. After calling colleagues, Wilson moved his car to block the pair in the road.

Scuffle at the police car

While Wilson was seated in his car, he and Brown engaged in a scuffle and the teenager attempted to grab his gun. Wilson then fired two shots from inside the vehicle - one of which hit Brown's hand.

Brown is killed

As the teenager ran from the scene, Wilson left his car and chased him.

However, Brown’s next movements were hotly contested. In a grand jury testimony, Wilson defended shooting the teeanger by saying that he had charged towards him through gunfire “like I wasn’t even there”.

Some witnesses initially said that Brown put his hands up in a sign of surrender before Wilson shot him.

However, the facts became muddied and the same witnesses said that Brown held his hands up before moving towards the officer, according to a Justice Department report published earlier this year.

Brown died at the scene, where his body was lay for four and a half hours.

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