FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Surveillance video showing Michael Brown in a Ferguson, Missouri, convenience store in the early hours of the day he was fatally shot by a police officer was heavily edited by a documentary film crew, a prosecutor said Monday.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch dismissed the footage from the documentary “Stranger Fruit” during a news conference. The filmmakers and others say the video suggests Brown, a black 18-year-old, didn’t rob Ferguson Market & Liquor before white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson shot him on a neighborhood street in August 2014.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Ferguson Market & Liquor, says he will release an unedited version of the video showing Brown in the store. Attorney Jay Kanzler said he planned to do so Monday after saying on Sunday he wants to disprove the claims that Brown didn’t rob the store on Aug. 9, 2014, just minutes before his death.
The documentary premiered Saturday at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Kanzler also says the video used in the documentary was edited.
About 100 protesters gathered outside the store Sunday night in response to the documentary. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that seven or eight shots were heard, but no injuries reported. Police arrested some protesters and cleared the scene when the market closed.
Prosecutors on Monday charged a St. Louis man with trying to set a Ferguson police car on fire during the protests. Police say Henry Stokes, 44, put a napkin in the gas tank opening of the police car and tried to use a lighter to set it aflame, but fled when police saw him.
One of the filmmakers, Jason Pollock, told The New York Times he believes the footage shows Brown trading a small amount of marijuana for a bag of cigarillos around 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014. The video doesn’t clearly show what was exchanged, but shows Brown leaving behind the cigarillos.
Pollock reasons Brown intended to come back later for the bag of cigarillos. But a lawyer for the store and its employees said no such transaction took place, and that Brown stole the cigarillos when he returned to the store about 10 hours later.
“There was no understanding. No agreement. Those folks didn’t sell him cigarillos for pot. The reason he gave it back is he was walking out the door with unpaid merchandise and they wanted it back,” Kanzler told the New York newspaper.