As Ferguson prepares for the grand jury decision on whether Darren Wilson will face criminal charges for fatally shooting Michael Brown, over the weekend videos emerged that show the officer on the day of the shooting for the first time. On Friday the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published two surveillance videos of Wilson at the Ferguson police department along with recordings of police radio traffic obtained through a Sunshine Law request. According to the paper’s chronology, the entire encounter between Wilson and Brown lasted less than 90 seconds.
While the audio recordings add more detail to the timeline of what happened on August 9, major questions remain unanswered. Wilson’s interactions with the dispatcher reveal that he was aware of the robbery at a nearby convenience store and heard a description of the suspect. The officer has reportedly said that he told Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the street, then realized that Brown fit the description. In the recording Wilson calls for backup, but it’s unclear why he made the request or at what point the call occurred during his interaction with Brown. The victim’s family said in a statement, “the audio clearly demonstrates that the initial interaction with the officer and Brown had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store.”
Wilson claimed that he called “shots fired, send all cars” over the radio, but the channel had been changed in his struggle with Brown. The Post-Dispatch reported that it could not find that call on any publicly archived channel, though it’s possible the radio had been switched to “receive-only” and the message was never broadcast.
The two surveillance videos show Wilson leaving the Ferguson police station and heading for the hospital about two hours after the shooting. He’s accompanied by other officers and his union lawyer.
They return about two and a half hours later.
The video is not very detailed, but Brown’s family said it disproves early claims about Wilson’s injuries. “Information was leaked from within the police department that Wilson was severely beaten and suffered an orbital eye socket ‘blowout,’ indicating that Michael Brown somehow deserved to die. From the video released today it would appear the initial descriptions of his injuries were exaggerated,” said the family’s attorneys.