The 2015 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. sparked a revolution in thought in how police have shot and killed Black people at a disparate level when compared to whites. New footage from the moments before the 18-year-old’s death raises new questions in the case.
A new documentary, Stranger Fruit, features unreleased footage of Brown entering the convenience store near the site where a white police officer gunned him down after claims of a strong arm robbery. The documentary, which debuted this weekend at SWSW in Austin, Texas, examines the footage and the fact that Brown might have been part of an exchange of marijuana from far earlier in the day and not the crime he was largely accused of by authorities.
The New York Times reports:
Jason Pollock, a documentary filmmaker who acquired the new tape, says the footage challenges the police narrative that Mr. Brown committed a strong-armed robbery when he returned to the store around noon that day. Instead, Mr. Pollock believes that the new video shows Mr. Brown giving a small bag of marijuana to store employees and receiving cigarillos in return as part of a negotiated deal. Mr. Pollock said Mr. Brown left the cigarillos behind the counter for safekeeping.
“There was some type of exchange, for one thing, for another,” Lesley McSpadden, Mr. Brown’s mother, says in Mr. Pollock’s documentary, “Stranger Fruit,” which premiered Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., and examines the shooting from the family’s perspective.
But Jay Kanzler, a lawyer for the convenience store and its employees, strongly disputes that version of events, and said the new footage is unrelated to Mr. Brown’s later visit to the store.
“There was no transaction,” Mr. Kanzler said. “There was no understanding. No agreement. Those folks didn’t sell him cigarillos for pot. The reason he gave it back is he was walking out the door with unpaid merchandise and they wanted it back.”
The Times‘ piece adds that the footage doesn’t explain what truly happened between Officer Darren Wilson and Brown.
THR reviewed Stranger Fruit here. Watch a clip below.