Michael Brown Shooting Took Less Than 2 Minutes From Start to Finish
The fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson—a shooting that has prompted uprisings in Ferguson, Mo., and been a lightening rod across the nation about the overreaction by law enforcement to Black young men—lasted about the time it takes to lace up a pair of shoes.
It took less than two minutes for Wilson to fire on and kill the unarmed Black teenager, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported. The shooting resulted in months of protests, mostly peaceful, and has gained national and international attention. The community waits anxiously for a grand jury report on whether Wilson will be charged with a crime in the polarizing case.
The Post-Dispatch’s report comes from information gained through Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The report gathered information from interviews, analysis of police, EMS records, police station surveillance video that showed Wilson after the killing and dispatcher audio from before and after the shooting.
According to the Post-Dispatch, at 11:53 a.m., a dispatcher reported a “stealing in progress” at the Ferguson Market. The dispatcher then described the suspect as a Black male with a white T-shirt running toward QuikTrip with a stolen box of Swisher cigars.
Four minutes later, the broadcast says the suspect was wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks and khaki shorts, and was with another man.
Wilson asks the officers looking for the suspects, units 25 and 22, if they needed his help. Within seconds, one of the officers broadcasts that the suspects had disappeared.
At 12:02 p.m., Wilson says, “21. Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car.” At least two officers began to head toward Wilson.
Sources for the Post-Dispatch said that Wilson told the authorities that he told Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, to stop walking in the middle of the street before he made the radio call. Wilson then noticed Brown matched the description of the stealing suspect, according to reports (although the Ferguson Police chief had said Wilson did not identify Brown as the young man in convenience store encounter).
Wilson then called for backup and backed his SUV next to Brown and Johnson. Wilson’s account of the story claims that Brown attacked him and that there was a struggle for the officer’s gun before he was able to fire his weapon twice. He hit Brown once and Brown began to run away.
Wilson told authorities he called, “shots fired, send all cars,” over the radio, but the struggle jarred the radio and changed the channel.
The Post-Dispatch’s review of radio calls made during that time couldn’t find Wilson’s radio call.
After the call, Wilson continued to pursue Brown on foot. Sources told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson said Brown turned and charged at him, which has been disputed by multiple eyewitnesses. Wilson fired once then paused before shooting several more times. He said he then called for an ambulance.
Witnesses have given varied accounts of what happened. While some say Brown was staggering towards Wilson when he was shot, others claim that he had his hands up in surrender. At the start of the encounter, Johnson said that Wilson grabbed Brown by the throat and tried to pull him into the car.
Johnson also said Brown was going to the ground with his hands up when the fatal shot hit Brown.
Another officer, Unit 25, was arriving at Wilson’s location 41 seconds after Wilson’s call.
According to the report, a tweet from a witness sent at 12:03 p.m. said that they just saw someone die.
The Post-Dispatch determined from the dispatch records that Brown was killed less than 61 seconds after Wilson told the dispatcher he stopped two men. A minute and 13 seconds after Wilson’s call, another officer had arrived and asked, “Where’s the other one?” in reference to Johnson.
At 12:05 p.m., a dispatcher called for an ambulance saying someone had been hit by a taser.
At 12:07 p.m., a woman is heard crying in the background over an officer’s radio call. “Get us several more units over here. There’s gonna be a problem,” the officer said.
Two hours after the shooting, police video surveillance shows Wilson being escorted from the police station to the hospital by other officers and his union lawyer.
Lawyer’s for the Brown family said in a statement that the Ferguson Police Department has “sought to vilify the victim and put the shooter on a pedestal” from the beginning. The statement also says, “the audio clearly demonstrates that the initial interaction with the officer and Brown had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store.
They also told CNN, “We will wait for the Grand Jury’s decision and continue to develop a plan to change the system that now works entirely in favor of law enforcement and against citizens.”
The grand jury is expected to make a decision on whether to indict Wilson or not at some point this month. The jury has seen an autopsy report from the medical examiner and a second opinion from Dr. Michael Baden, a pathologist hired by Brown’s family.