Criminal Justice

Name of officer in Ferguson shooting is released; ACLU sues for incident reports

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Updated: Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson has identified the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday, sparking protests and clashes with police for five nights.

Jackson identified the officer as Darren Wilson during a news conference on Friday, the New York Times reports. Wilson has been an officer with the police department for six years.

Tensions abated in Ferguson Thursday night after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon turned security over to the Missouri Highway Patrol, according to CNN and the Washington Post. “Gone were the military gear and vehicles, the stun grenades, plastic pellets and tear gas police deployed on previous nights,” CNN says. “So were the Molotov cocktails, sounds of gunfire and strife from protesters who had wandered among peaceful demonstrators.”

Capt. Ronald Johnson led the response by the Missouri State High Patrol and marched along with the crowd, the Post says.

President Obama called for a transparent investigation on Thursday, saying there is no excuse for looting and no excuse for excessive force by police. Meanwhile Attorney General Eric Holder met with civil rights leaders yesterday and said he was “deeply concerned” about “the deployment of military equipment and vehicles’’ on Ferguson’s streets.

Police say the shooting of Michael Brown followed a struggle for the officer’s gun, but witness accounts said Brown had his hands in the air when shot. The shooting is under investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Thursday to obtain initial police reports on the shooting after police rejected the group’s records request, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The ACLU says the report is required to be released under Missouri’s open records law.

The ACLU also filed a separate suit on Thursday seeking a declaratory judgment that police are violating the Constitution when they bar reporters from recording on Ferguson streets and sidewalks, the Post-Dispatch says.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. to report that police have identified the officer who shot Michael Brown.

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