FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The police chief in a St. Louis suburb where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager said he’s holding off on publicly identifying the officer because of death threats.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said he planned to release the officer’s name on Tuesday but changed course after threats were called into the police department and City Hall, and posted on social media. The officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday after fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“If we come out and say, ‘it was this officer,’ then he immediately becomes a target,” Jackson said. “We’re taking the threats seriously.”

Jackson didn’t disclose specifics of the threats, but he said the decision came after a stream of death threats against the officer and other officers.

The case has stoked racial tension, protests and looting in Ferguson, a predominantly black city with roughly 21,000 residents. Despite calls for calm from Brown’s family and civil rights leaders, crowds turned violent for two nights.

A large crowd that gathered throughout Monday at the site of a burned-out convenience store turned rowdy at nightfall, with people throwing rocks at police, Jackson said. Officers used tear gas and shot “beanbag rounds” meant to stun them.

There were at least five arrests but no reports of looting, St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said. The night before, nearly three dozen people were arrested following a candlelight vigil as crowds burned stores, vandalized vehicles, assaulted reporters and taunted officers.

“People are tired. They have reached the end of their rope,” Ruth Latchison Nichols said after a crowded town meeting Monday night hosted by the NAACP. “Enough is enough. This is a state of emergency.”

By early Tuesday, the streets were once again calm. A handful of police officers sat in patrol cars near the burned out gas station, vastly outnumbered by news crews putting together their early reports in Ferguson, which is nearly 70 percent black.

National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks implored residents to “turn your anger into action” while condemning the violent response to Brown’s death. The organization hosted a community forum Monday that drew hundreds of people.

“To sneak around under the cover of darkness, to steal, to loot, to burn down your neighborhood — this does not require courage,” he said. “Courage is when you strive for justice.”

“Martin Luther King did not live and die so that we may steal and lie in the middle of the night,” he added.

Witnesses have said that Brown had his hands raised when the unidentified officer approached with his weapon drawn and repeatedly fired.

Authorities have been vague about what led the officer to open fire, saying only that the shooting — which is being investigated by St. Louis County police — was preceded by a scuffle of some kind with a man in which the officer’s weapon discharged inside a patrol car.

Brown’s parents, who planned to drop their son off at a technical college Monday, have been among those calling for calm. His family also is asking for people to come forward with information or videos related to the shooting. Police have said there is no security or police video of the incident.

Investigators have also refused to disclose the race of the officer. But witness Phillip Walker said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot, and saw a white officer with Brown on the street.

Brown “was giving up in the sense of raising his arms and being subdued,” Walker told The Associated Press.

The officer “had his gun raised and started shooting the individual in the chest multiple times,” Walker said, adding that the officer then “stood over him and shot him” after the victim fell wounded.

Dorian Johnson offered a similar account, telling KMOV-TV that he and Brown were walking home from a convenience store when a police officer told them to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Johnson said they kept walking, which caused the officer to confront them from his car and again after getting out of the vehicle.

“We wasn’t causing harm to nobody,” Johnson said. “We had no weapons on us at all.”

Johnson said the first time the officer fired, he and Brown got scared and ran away.

“He shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air, and he started to get down. But the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots,” Johnson said.

Walker said he did not see a scuffle or the circumstances that preceded the first gunshot.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat it,” said the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump. “(Brown) was executed in broad daylight.”

Crump also represented relatives of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder charges.

(Photo: AP)

14 thoughts on “Police Cite Threats, Won’t Name Cop Who Shot Teen

  1. I’m confused. An unarmed young man was walking in the street, and because he didn’t step up onto the sidewalk when the officer told him to, and was shot down in the streets. But out of all those negroes looting and taking what didn’t belong to them, not one cop fired off a shot at them. What am missing?

  2. So many senseless murders of African Americans, what a tragedy! It’s as if White America authorities treats blacks like our lives are not valuable or that we don’t matter. Trayvon Martin (unarmed) shot by some cop wannabe who was found not guilty, Kendrick Johnson of Georgia (Jan 2013) was found dead rolled up in a wrestling mat in his high school gym and still NOBODY knows anything, Renisha McBride shot to death while asking for help, Eric Garner (unarmed) choked to death by NY police officers, John Crawford (unarmed) in Ohio was shot to death in Wal-Mart while looking at a toy rifle, and now Michael Brown (unarmed) gunned down and shot excessively by police and then LEFT in the middle of the street UNCOVERED and unattended. People don’t leave dead dogs in the street as long as Michael laid there, is his life less worthy than that of a dog? Why??? How is it that our “With Liberty and Justice For All” country continue to let these mindless assassinations happen? We really need to pray for those that are in authority in the United States, because it seems that the US is consistently going in a downward spiral.

    • Sharon,
      The problem is that those who R in Authority positions, them and their parents once wore Hoods and toed horses. Now they have traded the hoods for guns, badges and blk robes and continuing the same behavior. The Fox watching the hen house so they continue to get away with it!

    • There was a Police execution in St. Louis about 14 years ago that Sy.Louis County did. It was handled the same way and to this day the officers ID was never revealed and never charged.

  3. Johnny Jedkins on said:

    I pray that the F.B.I get to the bottom of this senseless killing. Since when it became a crime to get killed for walking because you are Black. I send my prayers to his family in this time of grief. As a Black man in this country I feel like we don’t matter. Policemen stop the killings

  4. There is a higher power that the killer cop can’t hide from know matter how much he tries to hide he will be judged by the all mighty God.

  5. F the Police–what the community needs to do is to protect the young man who witnessed this killing and knows the TRUTH!!!!—

    Cops have a habit of making witnesses DISAPPEAR!!!!!!

  6. Haven’t heard or seen anything on the news about any cops killing white folks the same way they are killing young men of color.

    There seems to be a bounty on their heads!!!!–as for the rioting-that is not necessary because we are only destroying our own neighborhoods.

    If you wish to riot and protest, go where the Mayor, Police Commissioner and Governor live and burn baby burn!!!!!

    • Candygirl81 on said:

      Lolita, What you don’t understand that the mis-treatment of black people in St. Louis is overwhelming. I know because I live here and have my whole life. I am a 33 year old balck female. If I get pulled over with a black male in my car, it is searched and so am I. My guy friend is usually put in cuffs and searched just as a precaution. This has happened to me several times since I was a teenager. There is a sub-culture of angry black adults and kids alike that are tired of the un-fair laws and practices of this city. I definitely don’t condone the violence. It is making matters worse. But I do get there anger and frustration. Brown was approached and grabbed by the officer because he smart mouthed him about not walking on the sidewalk at which point the officer grabbed him and tried to arrest him. There were several witnesses outside that saw the altercation and his MURDER, and to date, not one witness has been questioned by police, but have been interviewed by several news souces and they all have the same story. Yet none of them give the story that Ferguson/St. Louis county police are giving. If he had been white, he never even would have said anything to him. Witnesses would have been interviewed immediately. We just want the same respect and rights as everyone else. Period. Like I said, I live here.

  7. It’s okay for the coward to take a Black Man’s life! They all are a bunch of KKK that has pulled the hoods offand put on a Badge! They all are a bunch of Low Life Cowards!

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