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Mike Brown: New Video Shows A Business Deal Gone Awry

Pulling from the diaspora that spawned me, the first ting I thought of when this video popped up on my timeline was an old DeBarge song.

Pulling from the diaspora that spawned me, the first ting I thought of when this video popped up on my timeline was an old DeBarge song. Though it was speaking of an amorous circumstance, the basics remained the same. As was so eloquently crooned by El DeBarge back during my beloved mother’s early adulthood, all will be revealed in time.

After Mike Brown Jr. was gunned down in the streets of Ferguson on August 9, 2014, what we saw was an example of the all too predictable police tactic of smearing and discrediting the victims in justifying their blatant aggression toward innocent Black males.

Indeed, the first thing that comes out of the mouths of cable news network talking heads whenever one of these circumstances takes place is “unarmed suspect.” But wording does matter. It’s not enough to simply state that a Black man is unarmed when he is torn from his loved ones. Because in America, simply being unarmed isn’t enough to dissuade an officer to not send us to the hereafter. Why should they care when the system will get them off anyway?

During the events that followed, Mike Brown was consistently referred to as a thug who had committed a strong- armed robbery. This was corroborated by the store employees, who told police that Brown had stolen a box of cigarillos. For conservatives, a Black, marijuana-smoking man is out of his mind. Thus, in the wicked, contradictory zeitgeist that constantly discounts the value of black lives, he was deserving of being dispatched like some animal.


The surveillance video that appeared to show Brown shoving a store employee who was blocking his path was played over and over again. This supported the narrative that Mike Brown was out of control, a bully and a threat to his community.  Even black people bought into this narrative.  


But we knew this was all bullsh*t, and The Shadow League consistently pounded home why we thought so. We knew in our hearts that Michael Brown Jr. did absolutely nothing to warrant his own death.

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We knew they were lying on him, both the Ferguson criminal justice system and the store owners. Now with this new revelation we see there were two types of snakes spitting venom on Mike’s name; the familiar snake of so-called blind criminal justice and immigrant merchants who only come into Black communities to take advantage of the financially-strapped residents. Many of these residents don’t have a vehicle to drive to a better location, thus are forced to walk into these stores where it’s not unusual to find products that are overpriced or expired.

Police say the video was never released because it happened before the shooting and thus was irrelevant. So, let me gets this straight, the entire narrative spoke of how Brown was an aggressive, out of control Black male.  A wild bull on the rampage who the daring Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson had no choice but to put down. This video ran slightly counter to that and is conveniently left out? Again, total hogwash. 


The video, which takes place 11 hours before Brown’s murder, came to light thanks to a documentary by filmmaker Jason Pollock called Stranger Fruit, which debuted at SXSW over the weekend. It seems to show a marijuana deal between Brown and the store’s clerks.  He places what appears to be a bag of marijuana on the counter, and the clerks actually GIVE Brown two boxes of cigarillos as part of the deal. He appears to be leaving, then turns around and gives them back.

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As a journalist, it is extremely difficult to remain objective when reporting on such things. I know a lie when I hear one, and though I didn’t know him personally, I knew the authorities were withholding information that could have at least helped his mother and his hood remember him in a positive light. But, no, their position is and has always been blue against black. These most recent findings are further proof of that.


But why did Mike Brown push the clerk out of the way? That’s certainly a valid question. Simply based on the video, it looks like Brown returned to pick up a product that he bartered for earlier and was accosted by the man he is seen shoving. 

For many who believe Mike Brown deserved to die, this video will not change their minds. However, for those who knew and loved him, it provides context to the earlier video. It was a business deal gone wrong and not a robbery.  

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Despite what the police might say, that definitely makes a difference.

Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring re black cultural angles of where they intersect with the mainstream.