Police in the US have been criticised for releasing CCTV video of a man they shot dead allegedly stealing cigars from a store.
Michael Brown was shot several times last Saturday while walking down the middle of a street in a St Louis suburb after a struggle with police.
Officials are now being accused of attempting to tarnish the 18-year-old’s reputation by showing the video shortly after identifying officer who shot the Brown.
Thomas Jackson, Police Chief of Ferguson, Missouri said:“There’s a question about the timing of the release of the tape. So we’ve had this tape for a while, and you know, we had
to diligently review the information that was in the tape, determine if there was any other reason to keep it — anybody else would be charged in a crime — and we had determined that that was not going to be the case.”
Accusing police of character assassination, Brown’s cousin Eric Davis accepted that he was no angel but denied that he attacked an officer and tried to grab his gun.
“Earlier, the chief did release a video that was basically what we think was basically smoking mirrors to try and divert the attention away from what really occurred. The events that took place on Canfield had nothing to do with whichever grocery store Michael may have been in, or the person who is on the video was in, because we don’t know if that was Michael for sure.”
Several days of violence and protests in St Louis following Brown’s shooting spread to other US cities including New York and Los Angeles.
Brown’s family have appealed for calm.