Ferguson Police say Brown robbed a convenience store prior to the shooting. But Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson also clarified that Wilson, who shot and killed Brown, was unaware of the robbery allegations during “the initial contact with Brown.” Wilson, instead, initially stopped Brown for jaywalking. (Jackson later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, after the initial stop, Wilson realized Brown could be the suspect of the robbery when he spotted the potentially stolen cigars in Brown’s hand.)
BROWN’S DEATH WAS SEEN AS SOMETHING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY OR THEIR OWN SONS
The shooting of Brown, like so many similar incidents between police and unarmed black men, renewed conversations about racism in the American justice system and, more specifically to Ferguson, deep-rooted racial disparities in local government and law enforcement.
To the majority-black community in Ferguson, Brown’s death was seen as something that could happen to them or their own sons. Darnell Hunt, an expert on race relations and civil unrest, compared the situation to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012: “Not only was this something that affected people in country, but other people realized that the fate of Trayvon was possibly the fate of their own sons.”
Brown’s death, in other words, brought the long-simmering racial tensions in the community of Ferguson to a boil. And the subsequent clashes between police and residents captivated the nation for several tense days.