FERGUSON, Mo. — The police in Ferguson broke their weeklong silence on Friday and identified the officer involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager.
The Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, said the officer was Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force who had no disciplinary actions taken against him.
Chief Jackson said Mr. Wilson had been alerted to a robbery at a convenience store shortly before the encounter with the teenager, Michael Brown, 18, who was walking home from a store on Saturday when he was shot.
It does not appear that they have released how many times Wilson shot Brown.
Meanwhile, protests last night turned into community celebrations in the face of a changed police response, according to various reporters on the scene. Yesterday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon put the state's highway patrol in charge of law enforcement in the area; Captain Ronald Johnson, who is black and says he grew up in the Ferguson area, was put in charge of policing. Various photos and videos shared on social media last night show him marching with protesters and hugging people.
A less terrifying police presence—last night police wore regular uniforms with no gas masks and mingled with people out on the street instead of riding around atop armored vehicles—resulted in more peaceful protests. Which seems to prove the point, made by many people over the last few days, that the initial oppressive police response is in large part what drove unrest in Ferguson.