A documentary that showed previously unseen footage of Michael Brown inside the convenience store he allegedly robbed before his death in 2014 ended up causing an outbreak of new protests in Ferguson, Missouri, hours after it premiered at the South By Southwest film festival in Texas over the weekend.
According to CNN, the documentary,”Strange Fruit,” shows footage of Brown entering the store 11 hours before he allegedly robbed it. It shows him throwing a bag of something — possibly marijuana — on the counter for the clerk.
The clerk then hands Brown a package of cigarillos which he at first takes, but later gives back.
For the filmmakers, the video raised the possibility that Brown was not robbing the convenience store in a video taken from much later — and just before Brown’s fatal encounter with Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson — and instead presented a narrative of a drug deal possibly gone bad. The film suggested that the 18-year-old Brown had returned to the store to retrieve his bag of marijuana.
St. Louis County Police told CNN that they “cannot confirm [the new video’s] authenticity at this time,” although the U.K. Daily Mail reported that investigators knew of the video but considered it “irrelevant.”
“If it did occur, the incident is still irrelevant to our investigation because our department investigated the encounter between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson,” police told CNN.
According to the New York Daily News, protests outside of Ferguson Market & Liquor on Sunday night erupted in gunfire, leaving the store’s attorney barricaded inside.
“Attorney Jay Kanzler said he was meeting with his clients inside the store when he heard the gunfire. He stayed inside for several hours out of precaution,” the Daily News reported.
“Moments before, and flanked by police officers, he faced off with irate protesters hurling profanities outside the West Florissant store. Some demanded to know why the video was never disclosed by authorities during the initial investigation. Kanzler said the surveillance footage did not ‘show anything’ newsworthy and that the documentary film ‘Stranger Fruit’ was edited and taken out of context by filmmaker Jason Pollock.”
If the protests were to spread into riots, it would mark the third major outbreak in the Missouri city. The first series of riots happened after Brown’s shooting and the second after the announcement that Wilson would not be charged.
Regardless of whether the video is accurate, the St. Louis County Police are right — it is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the confrontation between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. The forensics are in, and we know that “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a complete lie.
No matter how many “protests” occur (and it’s rather difficult to call anything involving gunfire a “protest,” after all), it still won’t change that salient fact. It’s time to move on.
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