Bryan P. Willman has been identified by the cyber group Anonymous as the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot Mike Brown.
UPDATE: The St. Louis County Police Department released the name of the poliice officer who killed Michael Brown on Friday after public pressure.
It’s not Bryan Willman; the department says it was Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force.
However, no photos are available as of yet of Wilson–and there’s two Darren Wilsons on the Ferguson police force. The Darren Wilson who shot Brown is not the black Wilson who is president of the Ethical Society of Police.
—————Original story below.
Willman was identified as the shooter on Thursday morning by the group.
But the St. Louis County Police Department has denied that Willman is the cop who shot Brown, and have also said that Willman does not work for either the Ferguson Police Department or anywhere else in St. Louis County as a police officer.
“Bryan Willman is not even an officer with Ferguson or St. Louis County PD,” it tweeted at Anonymous. “Do not release more info on this random citizen.”
“St. Louis County PD claims Bryan Willman doesn’t work for them or #Ferguson PD. We’ll see about that,” Anonymous said.
The group posted pictures of Willman after it threatened to release a name it found through searching and hacking if the police department didn’t release the name itself, and later followed through on the threat.
Twitter quickly suspended the Anonymous account that posted the photos and threatened to release the man’s identity and personal information. The site’s code of conduct strictly forbids the publication of private and confidential information without permission.
After the suspension, a secondary account announced that the group would not be releasing any more information for now.
The police department had several days ago said that it was going to release the name but later reversed its stance, saying that there had been too many death threats to the officer and his family.
Late Thursday, local broadcaster Fox2Now reported that the name of the officer will be released on Friday. That news hasn’t been officially announced but Fox2 reporter Chris Regneir says that a law enforcement source told him.
Mike Brown was shot in Ferguson on Saturday by an officer. Witnesses said that he was unarmed and had his hands raised, though police have disputed that story while launching a full investigation. The shooting set off protests that have continued every day since.
See an Associated Press update below the photos.
A man picks up a flaming bottle and prepares to throw it as a line of police advance in the distance Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police advance through smoke Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A protester takes shelter from smoke billowing around him Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Freguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with some people lobbing Molotov cocktails and other objects at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protesters try to light a Molotov cocktail, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)
Jeremiah Parker, 4, stands in front of his mother, Shatara Parker, as they attend a protest Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Nights of unrest have vied with calls for calm in a St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager was killed by police, while the community is still pressing for answers about the weekend shooting. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Sierra Smith sits with her 4-year-old daughter, Aniya, behind Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, left, as they listen during a meeting of clergy and community members, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Florissant, Mo. Nixon says “operational shifts” are ahead for law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks during a meeting of clergy and community members, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Florissant, Mo. Nixon says “operational shifts” are ahead for law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
President Barack Obama speaks to reporters, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass. about developments in Iraq and the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Obama is vacationing on the island for about two weeks. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Governor vows change in Ferguson police response
FLORISSANT, Mo.—Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday that unspecified “operational shifts” are ahead for law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb that has been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.
Speaking at a meeting of clergy and community members, the governor told the audience that “you all will see a different tone” in law enforcement’s response to the demonstrations in the town of Ferguson.
Nixon did not elaborate on the changes ahead, but they are likely to be explained at a news conference planned for later in the day.
The governor said law enforcement officers had displayed “a fear to hear not just about this action but about how it fits in a much longer and broader context of a deeper march for justice.”
In his first in-person remarks about the tense standoff, President Barack Obama appealed for “peace and calm” on the streets.
“I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson, and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened,” Obama said. “But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests.”
Obama, speaking from the Massachusetts island where he’s on a two-week vacation, said there was no excuse for excessive force by police in the aftermath of Saturday’s shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He said he had asked the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the incident.
Police on Thursday defended the use of tear gas and smoke bombs to repel demonstrators after another night of chaos over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers on Wednesday night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers. More than 10 people were arrested in Ferguson.
“In talking to these guys, it is scary,” Schellman said of officers on the front lines of the protest. “They hear gunshots going off, and they don’t know where they’re coming from.”
But the police response has drawn heavy criticism from many circles. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called Thursday for the Justice Department to monitor Ferguson and the way police are handling the crisis.
“Even if we disagree, this climate is not good for anyone and is dangerous for everyone,” Sharpton said in a statement.
At the community meeting, Sierra Smith, who lives in the neighborhood where Brown was shot, told the governor “the police have no respect at all for the community.”
Nixon responded that the Bill of Rights gives the people “the right speak truth to power” and “we will work to live out those rights.”
Nixon has faced increasing criticism over suggestions he has not done enough to calm tensions.
State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal had been particularly critical of the governor, accusing him of being missing in action during the crisis. In an interview on MSNBC, she called the governor a “coward.”
The police chiefs of Ferguson and St. Louis County said Wednesday that race relations were the top priority in the town. A meeting was scheduled for Thursday between civil rights leaders and police.
Officers from multiple departments in riot gear and in military equipment have clashed nightly with protesters, who chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Protesters faced heavily armed police who at times trained weapons on them from armored trucks.
Two reporters said they were detained by police for not clearing out quickly enough from a McDonald’s where they were working, near the protests but away from the more volatile areas. The two, who work for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, were released without any charges. Both say they were assaulted but not seriously hurt.
Among those arrested was St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been chronicling the protests on social media.
“I think the heavy-handed approach by police is escalating the situation and more people are going to get hurt if this keeps up,” French told KMOX Radio.
Residents in Ferguson have complained about the police response that began soon after Brown’s shooting with the use of dogs for crowd control — a tactic that for some invoked the civil rights protests from a half-century ago. The county police force took over, leading both the investigation of Brown’s shooting and the subsequent attempts to keep the peace at the smaller city’s request.
County Police Chief Jon Belmar said his officers have responded with “an incredible amount of restraint” as they’ve had rocks and bottles thrown at them, been shot at and had two dozen patrol vehicles destroyed.
The city and county are also under criticism for refusing to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, citing threats against that officer and others.
St. Louis County police and the FBI are investigating the shooting. County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said Wednesday that it could be several weeks before the investigation wraps up and authorities decide whether to charge the officer.
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.
Jackson said Wednesday that the officer involved sustained swelling facial injuries.
Dorian Johnson, who says he was with Brown when the shooting happened, has told a much different story. He has told media outlets that the officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend’s neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.
Johnson and another witness both say Brown was on the street with his hands raised when the officer fired at him repeatedly.