“He never wanted any of this to happen:” Ferguson police name officer in Michael Brown shooting

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FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — Now we have a name.

Darren Wilson is the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters Friday.

He is a 6-year veteran with no disciplinary issues, Jackson said, declining to answer any questions about the officer.

However, before naming him, Jackson spoke to CNN’s Don Lemon and said the officer was “devastated” by what had happened.

“This is his community,” Jackson said. “He never wanted any of this to happen.”

The release of Wilson’s name satisfies a key demand of protesters and critics of the handling of the case by the suburban St. Louis police department and St. Louis County investigators handling the probe.

Brown, an African-American teen, was shot to death Saturday. Police have said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the officer’s gun. Witnesses have said Brown’s arms were raised when he was shot.

After days of sometimes violent protests, the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over security for the protests.

Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights. So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators.

The crowds swelled and became more diverse Thursday; their chants for justice accompanied a concert of honking car horns, and though their cause was somber, their mood was buoyant.

Despite the celebrated change in tone after his department stepped back, Jackson said Friday he is not going to resign, as some critics have suggested he do.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay and see this through,” he said.

Smile tactics

Highway patrol Capt. Ron Johnson is now in charge, at the request of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

“We have a different approach that we’re using this evening,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. Smiling instead of scowling is key. “I’ve smiled more today than I have in the past few days.”

Maj. Ronnie Robinson from the St. Louis City Police is working with Johnson. He underlined the importance of dialogue with residents. “We feel the pain in the community,” he said. They can protest 24 hours, if they want to.

He also insisted there will be law and order. No looting, no vandalizing. State troopers will protect small businesses, he said. And protesters may not block the streets.

Despite the new tone by authorities, some protesters said they were prepared for police aggression.

“Gas me, shoot me, I will stand my ground,” one sign read.

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who was arrested at a demonstration in Ferguson on Wednesday, said he’s noticed the new tone.

“Really, it has been the police presence, the heavy-handed presence, which has escalated the situation, and I think led to the violence each night. And so it’s good to see this new approach,” he said.

Diversity

Ferguson’s police department has been criticized for a lack of ethnic diversity. The St. Louis suburb’s population is two-thirds African-American. Of the police force’s 53 officers, only six are African-American.

An eyewitness has said that the officer who shot Brown was Caucasian.

Johnson and Robinson are African-American. Though he believes in ethnic diversity and would like to see more in Ferguson’s police force, Robinson did not peg it to skin color but to a person’s ability to understand people’s culture and communicate with them.

“You’ve got to give respect to get respect,” he said.

Authorities have said that the change of appearance of the police force was intentional.

As Robinson spoke, a group of young Caucasian men behind him held up a sign calling for justice for Brown.

‘Powder keg’

The city was a “powder keg,” Jackson said earlier Thursday, before the change of guard in security arrangements, which the U.S. Justice Department had influenced. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that local authorities had accepted the department’s help.

Upset residents gathered to protest Brown’s killing as soon as his body lay in the street Saturday.

No one has disputed that Brown was unarmed. But police say he tried to grab the officer’s gun, something two witnesses dispute. They say the officer fired on the 18-year-old as he tried to distance himself and raised his hands into the air.

Demonstrations have continued since, turning into a ruckus after nightfall, and violence has broken out. Police have detained dozens, including two journalists.

President Barack Obama on Thursday called for peace from all sides.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,” he said. “There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Brown’s killing has gained attention around the world and moved people to protest in other U.S. cities Thursday. In Los Angeles and in New York, hundreds gathered to demand justice for Brown.

The Los Angeles protests included commemoration for Ezell Ford, an African-American youth recently killed there. In New York, police formed a line to halt the march, CNN affiliate WABC reported.

They told the crowd to disperse and arrested a few people.

CNN’s Ben Brumfield reported and wrote from Atlanta, and Ana Cabrera reported from Ferguson. CNN’s Michael Pearson, Don Lemon and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

13 comments

  • Hooptie Pete

    My goodness, don’t cave to the demands of thugs. It’s also coming out that the kid who was shot was robbery suspect. I also can’t believe that any officer would be shooting at people with their arms raised at 35 feet away. Funny how the media is showing nothing but OLD pictures of the suspect, same as the did with Trayvon Martin and how the Journal Sentinel air brushed out Dereck Williams gold grill…. Man I wish it was the 60’s… You want to protest that’s fine, you want to throw fire bombs and loot then you get shot

    • Paul Dean

      White People will never understand Blacks and Vice Versa. This country will be doomed because people dislike each other based on race. Every Black person isn’t a thug, and every white person isn’t a saint!

      • smith

        I grow up in milwaukee. I learned a long time when you fight with the police and If you use a weapon or go after the cops gun. You could get shot in the face…..the ghetto is the ghetto no matter what city you live in.

    • Angelo Lopez

      OKAY FOLKS

      The suspect in the robbery sites not physically match the description of the late Mr.Brown and the only reason nobody “understands” each other is because you only choose to believe so…

      We are all one human race and we need to reach out with positive energy and an open mind.

      This Earth is dying and we keep turning the other way…until very recently.

      Many are understanding that police tend to be power-hungry or show sociopathic tendencies.

      Many are understanding that lethal force should never be used unless necessary which is why tazers and pepper spray were createdin the first place.

      To my understanding, the tides of energy are changing and the admittance of the officer’s name is but a small victory.

      The sooner that we as Earthlings understand we are all one, the sooner we can save our planet and our species from extinction and nullification of existence.

      We need less funding for war.

      We need more funding for cleaning up our act.

      We need less violence.

      We need more people who are willing to help.

      Although the officer had been identified, justice is still not done.

      I stand for the Earth and the betterment of life.

      What about you?

  • Hooptie Pete

    When white people are attacked by black people for no reason other than race (state fair, flash mobs, knock out game) they don’t become violent, loot, or protest. Why is is so hard for SOME of America’s black community to conduct themselves in calm , non-violent, civil manner?

    • James Carroll

      Wow, you seem to an uniformed bigot. The boy was not a robbery suspect. The chief made clear that the murdering cop did not even know about the robbery. The young man has no record. There was no struggle for the fun as the cop lied. That has been proven by video and eye witness testimony of dour witnesses. The cop murders the young man for jaywalking. The cop was the aggressor, trying to run over the students.

  • IMO

    H.P – Because they are of tribal heritage. Violence and thuggery is how they get things done. Shame on the police force to just roll over and acquiesce. If you’re committing a crime against someone or a business and threaten life, your life is exactly what should be taken. That’s the risk you take, and the price you pay, no matter what color your skin is. I wonder if this had been a black police officer who shot the kid, would there have been the same outcome?

  • rich

    This is/was a thug from the ghetto. The black community blame the police, come on look in the mirror the ghetto is the problem. The black community want justice, well just may be justice was served to this thug who just did strong arm.

    • James Carroll

      The victim isn’t and never was a suspect in the robbery. He has no criminal record. The assailant didn’t even know there had been a robbery. We have that straight from the chief. Where so you get your misinformation? My you are a hateful bigot. The young man was an honor student who was to start college Monday. There was no struggle for a gun as the cop falsely stated. Eye witnesses and video already proved that. Hateful people like you should be lined up and destroyed. BTW – I and a white Conservative.

  • JUDY

    -Maybe, if these people had jobs to go to, they wouldn’t have all the “free” time to hang around and get into trouble…rioting, looting, etc.

  • Melissa

    70% of the population in Ferguson is black. How many of those are receiving welfare, EBT cards, food stamps, and free housing. To riot all night, they must not have jobs. What a poor excuse for a community. Pull out the TV cameras, the news coverage, and the police from Ferguson, and let them live in the mess they have made for each other. Help the store owners relocate to a safer area. America is tired of the “give me, give me” attitude of the black race.

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