I wanted to get a feel for Michael Brown’s (“Big Mike”) character. Is he the type of young man who would act out as exemplified on the 8/9/14 video of the Ferguson Market which depicts “Big Mike” as grabbing cigarillos from the counter area without paying and then running out the door after pushing aside a clerk.? “Big Mike” is about 6′ 5″ and 289 lbs., at 18 years old. He did not have a criminal history background but a high school degree and a plan to earn his degree from a technical school with a goal of taking courses in heating and air conditioning systems and somehow to use his technical skills towards a career in the music industry. He had been hanging out with his life long friend, Brandon Lewis who already had a job at a local grocery store. Michael Brown had hopes of becoming employed at the same store while he attended school. On the morning of 8/9/14, Brandon Lewis had wanted to sleep later, and so Michael Brown quietly woke up, dressed and went outside by himself.
Before this time period, his Mom, Leslie McSpadden had moved out of the high school district that Michael Brown was attending. Consequently, he went to live with his Paternal Grandmother, so that he could finish out his schooling at the same high school.
According to a 8/24/14 NY Times article by John Eligon, Michael Brown was known to be deft with technology and his hands. Once, when his cousin’s PlayStation broke because a disc was stuck in it, Mr. Brown took it apart, fixed it and reassembled it. Mr. Eligon added the following:
“Mr. Brown, who constantly wore his Beats by Dre headphones, also was a big fan of rap music. He knew of Kendrick Lamar before he became famous. His favorite group was Migos. And within the past year, he began producing rap songs with friends.
The content varied. He collaborated on songs that included lyrics such as “My favorite part is when the bodies hit the ground.” But he also derided fathers who “don’t pay child support” and rapped glowingly about his stepmother.
He occasionally smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, according to friends. But for his music he adopted a persona to appeal to hip-hop fans, said his cousin, Bryan Douglas, a music producer who was going to help Mr. Brown pursue his music career.”
During an interview his Mom, Leslie McSpadden shared with the audience a few words that he used to whisper to her, something like, “One day, everyone will know my name.”
Dorian Johnson was with him that day, and he gave an interview on 8/31/14 to the Washington Post, which was published on August 31, 2014 by. The following is what he said: “Sometime in March, a buddy stopped by with a stranger.
“Wow,” Johnson said, “that’s a big dude.”
The dude, Michael Brown, was 6-foot-4, and he had brushed past Johnson with barely a hello as he headed to the video-game console and began to play.
“I asked, ‘Why he don’t speak?’ ” Johnson recalled.
“He don’t like to talk to people,” the buddy said.
“He’s in my house, he’s going to talk to me,” Johnson replied — then he engaged Brown. Johnson soon had the answer to his own question.
“His voice didn’t fit his body. He might as well have been my size,” said Johnson, who is a lean 5-foot-7.
“Everybody we came around felt a little intimidated by him,” he said. “When he opened up his mouth . . . you’d say, ‘Naw, this guy wouldn’t hurt anybody.’ When he talked, you heard the kid in his voice.”
Dorian Johnson told the Washington Post that their friendship was of a casual nature. Both were in a transitional phase in their lives. Dorian Johnson had a daughter to care for and Michael Brown was heading to trade school which started 8/10/14 to pursue a career in the world of music. He was known
On page 36 of the St Louis County Police Department Investigative Report, I discovered the following commentary by a detective who was canvassing the Canfield Apartment complex searching for potential witnesses. The detective took notes on a conversation with a friend of “Big Mike” which is as follows:
“On 8/9/2014, Ferguson police were canvassing the Canfield Apartment area to locate any eye witnesses. One of the apartment occupants said that she knew Michael Brown but that she was not at home at the time of the shooting. She said that she had received a call at 12:27 p.m. with information that “Big Mike” was deceased. She immediately returned to her home. She identified “Big Mike” as a God brother” and a friend of hers. She stated that she was with “Big Mike” prior to the incident, and he was going to walk to the store with a friend whom she identified as “DOB.” She described the friend as a black male with a dreadlock hair style and in his early 20’s.
She stated that Michel Brown had been stressed recently over a grandmother and an aunt being in the hospital. She further stated that he had “other stuff in his mind,” but she would not elaborate what that meant. She stated he just had to deal with typical teenage stuff. She added that she believed he was a very kind young man.”
On page 121-122, one of the two white construction workers present at the crime scene on 8/9/14, agreed to participate in an interview with a detective on 8/19/14. The following write up describes the interaction.
The detective writes, “At approx. 11:15 a.m., Detective xxxx and Special Agent arrived at xxxx(address). After arriving, investigators met with xxxx and were invited into his residence. xxxx confirmed he was in possession of a note, he wrote immediately following the incident. xxxx provided Detective xxxx with a handwritten note, which was hand written on white lined paper. The note reads as follows:”
“On Saturday, August 9 at approx. 12:15, I witnessed one White male police officer gun down and kill one black male. Initially, I heard a single shot fired and peered around the corner to see black male at which time, I heard another shot and saw the White cop behind the Black man. I was 50- 60 yards away watching the black man stumbling away from the officer and turn with hands raised, yelling OK! OK! Officer proceeded to unload clip at least 6- 7 more shots.”
“30 minutes before incident fellow co-worker spoke with the black man who spoke of Jesus and life of honest people. Mike was his name. He was wearing a cardinal’s ball cap, grey shirt and jean shorts with yellow pot leaf socks and sandals.”
“At the time of the incident, after hearing the first and second shots, I stood there like a deer in head lights, stunned to see and believe what was happening. Mike said he was going to the convenient store to get a few things and would be right back. We were working at his building and engaged in conversation. He seemed like a nice guy.”
On August 18, 2014, two detectives and a special agent met with the other white construction worker around 6:30 p.m. This is documented on page 113 of the St. Louis County Police Department Investigative Report # 14-43984). The detective does note that this witness appeared to be drunk. The witness handed the officers a photo copy of his statement and a map of the Canfield Green Apartment Complex. He advised them that he didn’t trust police enough to hand over the originals. Finally he opened his utility box and delivered the original forms of his written statement along with the map. His words are as follows:
“Witnessed cop shooting 8-9-14 12:00- Talked with victim for 25-20 minutes- About God He says the Lord Jesus Christ would help me through my problems -Then he said he was going to store & he would be back-Then I heard a pop (thought Nothing) -Then another looked over -seen Victim stumbling and running. Thought gunfire, figured he was running -from who had gun-Then he threw his hands up and yelled, ok, ok -A police officer (who said nothing) emptied his gun into the guy- I believe 7 more at close range -What happened before the first two I don’t know- but from what he said- He would be back- I would say 25-30 minutes passed before shots fired.”
I’m envisioning a young man who does not seem disposed to act as ugly as he is depicted in the video of the Ferguson Market on 8/9/14 after 11:43 a.m. I see a guy who took time to talk to a stranger about how God could help him before he walked to the store.
The detective after 11:00 pm traveled to the market and was given permission by the night manager to view the video of events for that day. There is no audio component associated with the video. The detective does note in the police report (14-43984, pg 53) that “Big Mike” and the store clerk did seem to be having words while “Big Mike” collects a box of cigarillos and then another handful. The clerk and he continue to have words, until the clerk is pushed aside when he tries to block, “Big Mike’s exit. A blogger, shannoninmiami who has read some of my blogs has been wondering if it is possible that something the clerk said could have upset “Big Mike.” I have yet to read anything describing this discussion. The total value of the confiscated cigarillos is $15.00 This is not a robbery but a shop lifting incident. If he lived another day, he should have faced the consequences; however, he did not deserve the death penalty. “Big Mike’s friend, Dorian Johnson had put back on the counter the first box that was taken and the police verified this fact.