When 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, police officers shared a video showing Brown with his hands around a shopkeeper’s neck as he makes off with a carton of cigarillos.
Police said Brown robbed the store, but previously unreleased surveillance video casts doubt on whether Brown robbed the store shortly before he was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Jason Pollock, the filmmaker who discovered the video, says the footage shows Brown exchanging drugs for a bag of cigarillos around 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014, about 11 hours before he was killed.
The new footage is a part of Pollock’s new documentary “Strange Fruit,” which debuted Saturday at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The documentary suggests that Brown’s argument the next morning was over getting his things back.
“We are doing this for Mike. We are not just doing this to uncover Ferguson. We are doing this to defend Mike’s honor, to defend his name and to defend the family’s name,” Pollock said in an interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Monday.
Pollock says the video is proof that Brown did not rob the store.
“They wanted us to think Michael robbed the store because they needed us to think that Michael was aggressive. Michael was handed the bag in the video, the clerk puts it in a plastic bag and hands it over the counter to Michael Brown,” Pollock said. “That’s not stealing [from] the store.”
About 100 protesters gathered at the store Sunday night, forcing it to close, and gunshots were heard before midnight, but no one appeared to be injured, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
An attorney for the store and its employees is accusing Pollock of editing the video.
Attorney Jay Kanzler, who represents the store and employees, told CNN that the version of events in the documentary is false and that it has been edited to omit a clerk throwing a bag back to Brown.
“My clients did nothing wrong,” Kanzler said. “They love the people of Ferguson and truly want to get on with their lives.”