An upcoming documentary about the events leading up to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has sparked protests and more questions.
In the forthcoming Stranger Fruit, director Jason Pollock talks about earlier footage from that August day in 2014, when Brown was said to be a suspect in a convenience store robbery and was ultimately shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. In the footage from earlier that day, Pollock says the Brown traded some weed for the cigarillos he was accused of stealing and left the cigarillos in question with the store employees for safekeeping. The film is a part of this year’s South by Southwest festival.
The store’s lawyer has refuted this theory, saying that no trade was made and that Brown was indeed a thief. The lawyer said that he would release a full, unedited video of the day’s events today. People in the community said it would not be uncommon for someone to buy weed at the store.
In light of this news and the news that officials had access to both tapes all along, but only released the tape that painted him as a thief, many people in Ferguson have responded in the form of protests.
“They destroyed Michael’s character with the tape, and they didn’t show us what actually happened,” Pollock said. “So this shows their intention to make him look bad. And shows suppression of evidence.”
Officials have responded and said that the tape that shows the earlier part of the day was never made public because it wasn’t relevant to the events that followed.
Sunday night, about 100 people gathered to protest in front of the convenience store until it was forced to close and police cleared the area. Bystanders report hearing shots fired, but no one was injured and there was minor damage to a police car.