Witnesses to Michael Brown’s shooting detail his last minutes

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FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — While Michael Brown appeared to tussle with an officer before he was shot dead, he didn’t enter the police cruiser as authorities claim he did, two witnesses told CNN.

The women’s accounts corroborate that of a previous witness, all three of whom said the officer fatally shot the unarmed teen.

Police have said the black 18-year-old died in a dangerous struggle after trying to grab the officer’s weapon. Not so, say the witnesses.

“It looked as if Michael was pushing off and the cop was trying to pull him in,” Tiffany Mitchell told CNN on Wednesday night.

Mitchell said she drove to Ferguson on Saturday to pick up an employee for work just in time to see Brown tussling at the window of a police vehicle.

She and the employee, Piaget Crenshaw, told CNN’s Don Lemon late Wednesday about Brown’s last moments.

Crenshaw, still in her building, watched the same events from her window. She later shot cell phone video of the aftermath, which CNN obtained from affiliate KMOV.

It looked like the two of them were arm wrestling, she said.

Neither woman, who gave their statements to St. Louis County police, say they saw Brown enter the vehicle.

Instead, a shot went off, then the teen broke free, and the officer got out of the vehicle in pursuit, the women said.

“I saw the police chase him … down the street and shoot him down,” Crenshaw said. Brown ran about 20 feet.

“Michael jerks his body, as if he’s been hit,” Mitchell said.

Then he faced the officer and put his hands in the air, but the officer kept firing, both women said. He sank to the pavement.

After that, Crenshaw hit record on her cell phone. News of the killing spread fast through the neighborhood, and Brown’s uncle walked up to the body to see if it was really his nephew, Crenshaw said.

The video shows police directing him back behind police tape.

State of unrest

Brown’s shooting death, and police alleged stonewalling of details, have lit a fire in Ferguson. Residents say the officer’s alleged actions were a brazen act of aggression, especially when Brown, who was about to start technical college, was unarmed and not threatening.

The city has seen protests every night since the Saturday shooting.

Wednesday was no different.

Police fired tear gas canisters at a crowd near a gas station that has turned into a gathering point for rowdy protests after dark.

News photographers took snaps of young men lighting Molotov cocktails. And a CNN crew found spent crowd-control stun grenades lying in the street.

A tear gas canister landed directly in front of the live television reporting position of Al Jazeera America; the crew ran, leaving its equipment behind. Then an officer later approached the camera and pointed it at the ground, CNN affiliate KSDK reported.

Police officers raised their guns at people heading for the protest, yelling for them to turn back.

As protesters scattered from the thick wafts of tear gas, officers in riot gear marched slowly in their direction to clear the area.

Detentions and arrests

After the night’s clashes, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he would cancel previous plans and visit Ferguson on Thursday for the second time since the shooting.

And police detained a St. Louis alderman, Antonio French, who has posted a continuous stream of protest video to social media.

Earlier in the day, police detained and released two journalists covering the shooting and the unrest. Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson said he did not know the detaining officers, adding: “We had a lot of different agencies out there.” He said he had spoken to both of them.

Police have asked protesters to restrict their gatherings to daylight hours, after violence has broken out repeatedly after nightfall. Protests during the day have been peaceful.

Protests on Sunday and Monday ended with clashes with police and looting.

Police have made over 65 arrests and detentions since Brown’s shooting. Including the two reporters, 18 people were taken into custody Wednesday, Jackson said.

Officer not named

On Wednesday, Jackson told CNN that the officer who shot Brown had been hit and suffered swelling on the side of his face. He was taken to a hospital and released the same day, Jackson said.

Five days have passed since Brown’s killing, and the public still does not know the name of the person who pulled the trigger.

There have been cries of a cover-up, but authorities said police have received death threats against the officer and his family. And they want to prevent further violence.

Hackers have gone after the personal information of government and police officials, authorities said.

Civil rights

Federal civil rights investigators and the FBI are carrying out their own inquiries into the controversial case. In the town of 21,000, there’s a history of distrust between the predominantly black community and the largely white police force.

“Race relations is a top priority right now and, as I said, I’m working with the Department of Justice to improve that,” Jackson told reporters Wednesday.

Only three of the city’s 53 officers are African-American, and Jackson said he is working to change that. About two-thirds of the residents of Ferguson are African-American, and most of the rest are Caucasian.

Dorian Johnson, who said he saw the shooting, told CNN on Tuesday that the officer who opened fire is white.


  • Grace

    The shooting of unarmed citizens must stop. Police officers shoot to kill as if they have a quota to fill. Stop it. Shoot to disarm. Don’t shoot to death. This must stop.

  • Brad Morton

    Murdering gestapo police officers.
    When will we wake up as a civilized nation and quit hiring sadistic racist killers as policemen?
    When will we learn that police officers do not need to be gods with brutal intimidation and power of life and death over citizens.

  • Gary Hamilton

    I know the media loves a good race story and will pick and choose facts as they wish to get headlined. Police are like everyone else their are good and bad. If the police stop you don’t be stupid and fight them, their is nothing racist about a police officer defending himself. If you are physically fighting a police officer and hey killed why were you so stupid to fight him. The man in Milwaukee who was killed by a police officer at Red Arrow Park also didn’t have a gun but was fighting with police. Are police officers now expected to get beat up and ask questions later. Let remember in the Tryon Martin situation the media put out a recording of the 911 call the only problem is the media deleted the operator asking what race the man shot was. So when Zimmerman said he was black he sounded racist. And if their are demonstrations why do the demonstrators always have to be violent and break the law.

  • opinin8d

    @Grace @Brad Morton – you’re generalistic comments show your ignorance. You act as if cops just walk up and shoot people for no good reason. Please tell me where someone was stopped or pulled over and the cop just walked up and just shot the person! It’s all about respect for the law and respect for authority. Do you have any idea the amount of people police come in contact with on a daily basis? How many get in altercations and don’t shoot? And when it happens -by fault of the victim not listening and respecting the law, people are then ‘outraged’. Get a clue!

    • Brad Morton

      @OPININ8D – You say get a clue. Let me ask you, do you have a clue? A clue about justifying shooting folks for not following instructions? Where is the law that say, “If you you don’t follow instruction you are guilty of a capital offense and subject to summary execution by the gestapo cops at their discretion”? Get a life!

      • Tiberius Kirk

        Morton, you must have too much salt in your brain. If it comes out that Brown was attacking the police officer, would you still say that he was executed? You probably would, because you’re that special kind of stupid that never takes fact over a good story. You don’t even know it (cause you’re ignorant), but you’re the racist. IF the police officer just killed Brown for no reason (which is highly doubtful), he’ll go to prison.

  • Rebbelins

    I dont believe any of the witnesses…. It all comes down to race just like in the oj trial they let him off of murder because he was black.. Jurors said even if they knew he did it the would have acquitted.

    • Brad Morton

      OJ got off scott free bcoz the racist police officer falsified evidence. The system worked, The investigator tried to scam the system and git caught. Get over it. If you can’t present an honest case you friggen lose. Very simple, dumb-axx.

    • Tiberius Kirk

      The pot is definitely black for salty Morton. But wait, Morton, you’re one of the thousands of ignorant people who screamed the system failed them on the Zimmerman/ Martin case. Make up your mind, system works or it doesn’t work, which is it? Now we smell rubber burning as Morton thinks………………………………
      Rebbelins you are exactly right.

  • 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.

  • Fo Nee

    Where is all the cell-phone video of the actual shooting? EVERYONE has a cell-phone. You mean to tell me that after the first shot was fired (in the patrol car) concerned residents didn’t take out their phones and record the incident? All we have is footage of Michael laying in the street? Is it possible that video exists, but residents are fearful of revealing it because of possible retribution from peers and neighbors?
    Just trying to ask the tough questions.

    • Tiberius Kirk

      I am trying to think of one single time that a black has come forward and told the truth which would side with a white person or the police in a major national event. I know a lot happens in this world, but I can’t think of ONE.
      No one can be so ignorant to think that some things that happen which put blacks in a bad light are true, but this racist segment of our society always stands together no matter what the truth is AND NO, THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING. THAT IS NOT UNITY. THAT is a LIE.
      And, don’t give me the: “oh lawd, I be scared of retribution and revenge”. THAT just makes you a coward.
      Ok, now all you sheeple (read: dim-witted democrats and liberals) call me a racist or whatever names you can come with when you can’t intelligently argue a point.

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