In a press conference Friday afternoon, representatives from Michael Brown's family asked the public to focus on the the killing of their unarmed son and not the recent surveillance footage released of Brown that they say is a pointed "character assassination."
Earlier Friday, the Ferguson police department released footage of a man who appears to be Brown in a confrontation with a store clerk, adding to the allegations that the 18-year-old had stolen a box of cigars before he was shot by officer Darren Wilson. Attorney Darryl Parks, also speaking at the conference, did admit that the man "did appear" to look like Brown, but would not confirm or deny allegations of the crime.
Brown's cousin Eric Davis, speaking on behalf of the family, was flanked by the attorneys Parks and Anthony Gray. He pleaded with the public to focus on the shooting rather than convenience store footage, saying it was "basically smoke and mirrors to divert the attention away from what really occurred."
At one point while speaking, Davis got on his knees and put his hands into the air demonstrating what he said — later echoed by the family's lawyers — is the universal sign for surrender Brown had done just before he was shot. He asked the public for respect for the family, and encouraged them to continue with peaceful protesting.
Parks and Gray also contended that the footage was being used as a tactical diversion by the police, and reminded the public that the alleged crime was not the main issue. "Whatever happened in that store had nothing to do with it in terms of the officer's mindset," Parks said.
At the press conference Friday morning, Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that the footage and other documents were released at the request of the media. When this was pointed out by a reporter, Parks could all but scoff at the chief's reasoning. "Common sense would tell you it was strategic," he said.
Gray said that the incident extended beyond race or region, and that the slaying of an unarmed teenager showing signs of surrender should be a concern of the public, not a specific community. "That's not a St. Louis thing. That's a nationwide problem and interest," Gray said.
Both the attorneys and Davis reiterated that the family did not encourage looting, and hoped that Ferguson's streets would remain calm. Thursday night was the first entirely peaceful protest since demonstrations began. No demonstrator arrests were made. Image: Screenshot/KCTV5