Another witness has come forward and is disputing the notion that Michael Brown charged at Darren Wilson before he was shot and killed last month in Ferguson, Missouri. In an interview with the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, the anonymous witness says he was working in a building near the shooting. He also said that he could not tell if there had been a struggle between Wilson and Brown, but that he saw Wilson chasing Brown and shooting him while Brown had his hands up.
Unlike the other witnesses in the case, this new one was not from Ferguson and did not know Brown.
The worker, who has not previously spoken with reporters, said he did not see what happened at the officer’s car — where Wilson and Brown engaged in an initial struggle and a shot was fired from Wilson’s gun.
His account largely matches those who reported that Wilson chased Brown on foot away from the car after the initial gunshot and fired at least one more shot in the direction of Brown as he was fleeing; that Brown stopped, turned around and put his hands up; and that the officer killed Brown in a barrage of gunfire.
But his account does little to clarify perhaps the most critical moment of the confrontation, on which members of the grand jury in St. Louis County may focus to determine whether the officer was justified in using lethal force: whether Brown moved toward Wilson just before the fatal shots, and if he did, how aggressively.At least one witness has said Brown was not moving. Others didn’t mention him moving, while still others have said he was heading toward Wilson.
There is no way to determine how many witnesses have spoken to law enforcement without making public statements. The worker acknowledged that his account could be valuable to the case because he did not know either Brown or Wilson and had no ties to Ferguson.
The worker recounted a conversation his coworker had with Brown a few moments before the shooting and said Brown seemed to be in good spirits.
He said Brown struck up a rambling, half-hour conversation with his co-worker.
The co-worker could not be reached for comment through his employer. He previously told KTVI (Channel 2) that he had uttered a profanity in frustration after hitting a tree root while digging. Brown heard him and stopped to talk.
Brown “told me he was feeling some bad vibes,” the co-worker told KTVI in a video that aired Aug. 12. “That the Lord Jesus Christ would help me through that as long as I didn’t get all angry at what I was doing.”
The worker interviewed by the Post-Dispatch said he paid attention to little of the conversation. He said he heard Brown tell his co-worker that he had a picture of Jesus on his wall; and the co-worker joked that the devil had a picture of him on the wall.
The co-worker told KTVI that Brown promised to come back and resume their conversation; Brown walked away, and the workers returned to their job.
About a half-hour later, the worker heard a gunshot. Then he saw Brown running away from a police car. Wilson trailed about 10 to 15 feet behind, gun in hand. About 90 feet away from the car, the worker said, Wilson fired another shot at Brown, whose back was turned.
The worker said Brown stumbled and then stopped, put his hands up, turned around and said, “OK, OK, OK, OK, OK.” He said he told investigators from the St. Louis County police and the FBI that because of the stumble, it seemed to him that Brown had been wounded.
The worker interviewed by the Post-Dispatch disputed claims by Wilson’s defenders that Brown was running full speed at the officer.
“I don’t know if he was going after him or if he was falling down to die,” he said. “It wasn’t a bull rush.”