A call for backup that a police officer claims to have made seconds before he killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, reportedly cannot be found in police recordings. The officer blames the problem on his radio.
Darren Wilson has told investigators he radioed “shots fired, send all cars” after a struggle at his SUV with Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, following the officer’s stop of Brown and a friend for jaywalking in Ferguson on 9 August, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
Yet a set of recordings released to the newspaper by police did not include the call. Wilson is reported to have stated that “during the struggle his radio had been jarred and the channel changed”, meaning it was not broadcast to his fellow officers in the St Louis suburb.
“At least one channel on the Ferguson police radio is ‘receive-only,’ meaning that the call may not have been broadcast,” the newspaper said in its report on Friday evening. Wilson shot Brown repeatedly soon after allegedly making the request for assistance.
A series of witnesses told media in the days after the shooting that Brown had surrendered to the officer after fleeing and may have had his hands up. Wilson is said to have told investigators the 18-year-old had in fact turned and charged towards him.
The killing of Brown, who was African American, by a white officer led to nights of protests. Police clashed repeatedly with demonstrators, firing teargas and rubber bullets and making dozens of arrests. Ferguson is anxiously awaiting the decision of a grand jury on whether Wilson should face criminal charges for the shooting.