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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Police Haven't Interviewed Michael Brown Shooting Witness Dorian Johnson

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge SCREENGRAB MSNBC

Last night, MSNBC's Chris Hayes spoke with Dorian Johnson, the 22-year-old witness who says he was walking with Michael Brown just before he was shot and killed by Ferguson Police.

Johnson gave a harrowing account of what occurred, saying that the still-unnamed officer nearly hit them with his squad car, grabbed Brown by the neck and told them, "I'm gonna shoot you." Johnson told Hayes that the account given by St. Louis County police is wrong and that Brown "did not reach for the officer's weapon at all."

See also: Michael Brown Family: We "Reject" Ferguson Police Version of Teen's Death

This all seems like vital information for investigators to have, but Johnson's attorney Freeman Bosley Jr. said that police declined his invitation to talk to Johnson. Daily RFT called the St. Louis County Police Department to find out how that could possibly be.

Here's the segment:

And here is an excerpt from an accompanying article by Trymaine Lee:

Johnson says he was within arm's reach of both Brown and the officer. He looked over at Brown and saw blood pooling through his shirt on the right side of the body.

"The whole time [the officer] was holding my friend until the gun went off," Johnson noted.

Brown and Johnson took off running together. There were three cars lined up along the side of the street. Johnson says he ducked behind the first car, whose two passengers were screaming. Crouching down a bit, he watched Brown run past.

"Keep running, bro!," he said Brown yelled. Then Brown yelled it a second time. Those would be the last words Johnson's friend, "Big Mike," would ever say to him.

See all of Daily RFT's coverage of Michael Brown's death and the unrest in Ferguson.

Bosley said that the investigators implied that Johnson was not a real witness, just simply a bystander that ran away and declined an invitation to speak with him. Today, Hayes tweeted this:

Daily RFT asked St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman why police haven't interviewed Johnson.

"We have reached out to him and looked for him on numerous occasions. We've also contacted his friends," he said. "We reached out to his attorney's office, we put a call in to his attorney, and we're waiting on a return phone call."

Daily RFT asked Schellman to clarify whether or not they'd actually been to Johnson's house to try to find him, and he affirmed that officers had.

"We've been unsuccessful," he said.

Police acknowledged at a press conference yesterday that they haven't spoken to all the witnesses in the case.

"Frankly, we are still waiting to talk to some folks we think would have information," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. "We need to understand that even detectives who are investigating right now don't have access to everything. There has not been a rush to judgment."

Daily RFT also called Bosley earlier today and left a message with his office. We'll update as soon as we know more.

Email the author at [email protected].

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