In the days since an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by a white police officer in a St. Louis suburb, a big question that’s smoldered amid the outrage of many is who the officer is.
Authorities have refused to release the name of the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson has said he’s concerned about the officer’s safety amid numerous death threats. Computer hackers have also targeted the city’s website and released details online about individual city employees.
But civil rights activists and the attorney for Brown’s family, all pressing for calm amid nights of unrest since Saturday’s shooting, counter that knowing the officer’s name may help the area to heal, allowing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others to dig into the officer’s background for any prior brutality.
Investigators have released few details, saying only that a scuffle unfolded after the officer asked Brown and another man to get out of the street, and that the officer’s weapon fired at some point inside a patrol car. Witnesses say Brown had his hands raised when the officer repeatedly shot him.
The shooting has exposed deep racial and economic fault lines in the community, with the release of the officer’s name a festering demand of protesters, as well as activist computer hackers.