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County Police Chief Jon Belmar said his officers have responded with "an incredible amount of restraint" as they’ve had rocks and bottles thrown at them, been shot at and had two dozen patrol vehicles destroyed.
The city and county are also under criticism for refusing to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, citing threats against that officer and others. The hacker group Anonymous on Thursday released a name purported to be that of the officer, but the Ferguson police chief said later that the name was incorrect.
Congressman wants to curb military surplus program
A Democratic congressman is introducing a bill to curb a Defense Department program that provides machine guns and other surplus military equipment for free to local law enforcement agencies across the country.
Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia says his bill is a response to the death of an unarmed black teenager shot by a white police officer in a St. Louis suburb. The bill comes as members of Congress have called for the Justice Department to investigate the shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
Johnson said city streets should be a place for businesses and families, “not tanks and M16s.” He said a 24-year-old Pentagon program that transfers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement has led to police agencies resembling paramilitary forces.
St. Louis County police and the FBI are investigating the shooting. County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said Wednesday that it could be several weeks before the investigation wraps up and authorities decide whether to charge the officer.
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.
Jackson said Wednesday that the officer involved sustained swelling facial injuries.
Dorian Johnson, who says he was with Brown when the shooting happened, has told a much different story. He has told media outlets that the officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend’s neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.
Johnson and another witness both say Brown was on the street with his hands raised when the officer fired at him repeatedly.
Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier and Jeff Roberson contributed to this story.
Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at http://twitter.com/azagier .
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