ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch is trying to clear up some confusion about a surveillance footage that surfaced during South by Southwest documentary premiere called “Stranger Fruit.” The video appears to show Michael Brown inside the Ferguson Market convenience store eleven hours before he was accused of robbing it.
The unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. That fatal shooting, and the grand jury case, sparked protests across the country.
The documentary suggests Michael Brown tried to exchange marijuana for cold drinks and cigarellos at the Ferguson Market almost 12 hours before the fatal shooting. Filmmaker Jason Pollock claims brown was returning to get his items when the store called police on him. But in his video, you don’t see the entire security video of Brown and clerks.
“What this video shows is that they lied to the world about what happened. They wanted to make Michael look bad so they put up half a video to destroy his character,” said Pollock.
“It’s very clear there was no transaction between Mr. Brown and store employees. The suggestion that he’s coming back to pick up what he bartered for is just stupid!” said McCulloch.
Prosecutor McCulloch calls the documentary poorly edited, pathetic and a clear attempt to distort.
“Take a look at what this fellow put in his documentary and take a look at real video and you answer the question,” said McCulloch.
McCulloch said the video shown in the new documentary was never hidden. What happened was detailed in his grand jury report released in 2014. It was posted the night after the grand jury came with their decision. The prosecutor says this surveillance tape was never relevant to the deadly encounter with Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson.
“It is an attempt to generate his 15 minutes of fame, which he got,” said McCulloch.
The video shows Michael Brown getting drinks from the cooler and asking for some cigarillos. He went to the front of the store with the merchandise and placed them and a bag on the counter. He then had a discussion with the clerks and eventually left the store with his bag and without the merchandise. Police say the clerks then put the cigarrillos and drinks away and went about their business.
“This is not new, not a surprise and not relevant,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch.
The conversation that Mike Brown had with the clerks is documented in a police report released with the grand jury evidence. The description of the content is in the police report. He says that “Stranger Fruit” filmmaker Jason Pollock also got his information from the police report.
The Prosecuting Attorney says that the reason the footage was not released is because it is not relevant to the case.
Filmmaker Jason Pollock argues, suggests that Brown didn’t rob the store but was instead involved in a drug deal with the clerks. The robbery allegation is what led to the confrontation between police and Brown, which resulted in Brown being killed by Officer Darren Wilson.
In the video, Brown, 18, appears to give the clerks a small bag. The clerks then give Brown a bag with cigarillos, which he takes, but he then turns around and gives it back to them before leaving.
The film suggests Brown did not return later that day to rob the store but rather to get the bag back.
The St. Louis County Police told CNN regarding the video that they “cannot confirm its authenticity at this time.”
“If it did occur, the incident is still irrelevant to our investigation because our department investigated the encounter between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson,” St. Louis County Police told CNN.
CNN has attempted to contact Pollock as well as the Ferguson Police Department. Neither has responded.
It’s not known how many people were present at the protest outside the store Sunday night, or how many were arrested. The Ferguson Police Department has not responded to request for comment.
Attorney Jay Kanzler, who represents the Ferguson Market and Liquor store and its employees, told CNN that the version of events in the documentary is false and that it has been edited to leave out a part where the clerk throws the bag back to Brown.
“My clients did nothing wrong,” Kanzler said. “They love the people of Ferguson and truly want to get on with their lives.”
Kanzler was present at the market during the protests Sunday night. Video from the scene shows him speaking to people as protesters shout at him.
He told CNN’s Sara Sidner that the full surveillance video will be released on Monday.
Kanzler claims the the soon-to-be-released video will refute the filmmaker’s “edited version of events.”
He adds that the video is “not new” and that the full video was handed over to police, the FBI and also the Brown family “very early on.”
Protests erupted across the country after Brown’s death.
Many were upset with the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release the original surveillance video of the altercation at the store because they felt appeared to justify police use of force.
The original Ferguson Police report does not mention Brown’s overnight visit or that there is any additional video beyond what was released.
Wilson, who resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, claimed he was assaulted by Brown and that he feared for his life.
Both a grand jury and in a federal civil rights investigation declined to indict Wilson.