Footage from the Stranger Fruits documentary challenges police narrative of the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri
Jason Pollock discovered the videos while putting together a documentary titled Stranger Fruits
Stranger Fruits had it’s debut at South by Southwest
St Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch claimed the footage is heavily edited
McCulloch has been suspected of being biased in police shootings
McCulloch’s father was a police officer and killed in the line of duty
On August 9, 2014, America was caught off guard when Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed Mike Brown after he allegedly robbed a local convenience store in the area. New footage is raising questions about the police narrative behind the shooting.
This new footage shows that on August 9, at 1:13 am, Brown entered the Ferguson Market. During his time inside the store, Brown hands the clerks what appears to be a small bag of cannabis.
The clerks pass around the bag and take turns sniffing it before placing two boxes of cigarillos into a bag and handing it to Brown. While there is no sound, the video gives the impression that a trade was established between Brown and the clerks the same day he was accused of robbing the store.
Brown takes the bag and begins walking towards the door, but stops, and appears to ask the clerks to hold on to the cigarillos for him. Instead of coming back to steal from the store, Brown may have came back to get the cigarillos he had received for the cannabis he gave to the clerks.
If this narrative is in fact what happened, that would mean Brown did not rob the store. It is not out of the question that a story was created to demonize Brown in the eyes of the public. Before the release of this footage, the only video St Louis County released appeared to show Brown stealing the cigarillos.
The new footage comes from a documentary called Stranger Fruits that played at South By Southwest. The filmmaker behind the documentary is Jason Pollock. In the video, Pollock says he stumbled upon the existence of the video while reading through case files one night.
St Louis County Attorney Bob McCulloch claims the footage to be “heavily edited,” going on to state that the documentary is a “pathetic attempt” to twist the events of that night.
McCulloch also acknowledges the existence of the footage, and claims there are other videos, and other angles as well. For whatever reason, this footage was kept from the public for almost two years. McCulloch led a lengthy Grand Jury trial that ultimately declared Wilson to be not guilty.
The Grand Jury
A Grand Jury is created to decide if there should be a trial and is usually a quick ordeal. If there are any discrepancies during a Grand Jury trial, such as clashing witness testimonies, the case goes to trial.
Despite clashing witness testimonies, McCulloch drew out the Grand Jury proceedings for months. Multiple prosecutors came forward claiming McCulloch was using a known trick in order to manipulate the Grand Jury.
For decades McCulloch has been under fire for his deep roots with the police force, but for decades county voters have kept him in office. McCulloch faced heavy scrutiny from U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, when he released the footage of the alleged robbery the same day Wilson was named as the officer responsible for the shooting. The video release was viewed as an attempt to influence a potential jury.
Who is Policing the Police in St Louis County
In 2001, drug officers from Dellwood shot and killed two men in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box located in North St Louis County. Officers claimed that the men tried to escape arrest and then drove towards the officers. Officers fired 21 shots at the two men.
A federal investigation showed the men were unarmed and their vehicle had not moved. However, the probe concluded that the officers had feared for their lives and the shooting was justified.
McCulloch decided against prosecuting the officers and went on to refer to the two men as “bums,” which drew public outrage. The two victims, Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley, had past drug and assault charges.
Officer Paul McCulloch
McCulloch’s family ties to police have raised concerns of a possible biased view towards officer involved shootings. His father, Paul McCulloch was a police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was only 12-years-old.
On July 2, 1964, Officer Paul McCulloch entered a gun battle with a kidnapper in the 2100 block of Dickson Street at the former Pruitt-Igoe public-housing complex. Witnesses said the officer had just arrived on the scene and was shot in the head by fleeing kidnapper Eddie Glenn after rounding a corner.
His father’s death was a big part of McCulloch’s original platform to get him into office, making it clear the tragedy that occurred when he was a young boy carried over to when he was a man.