Eyewitnesses to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown have claimed the unarmed teenager was shot repeatedly while surrendering to the police.
Dorian Johnson, 22, who was with Brown at the time of his death, said the pair had been walking in the middle of the street when a police officer in a car reportedly told them to “get the f**k on the sidewalk”.
A struggle near the officer’s car followed, with Johnson reporting that Brown was shot at close range. “The whole time [the officer] was holding my friend until the gun went off,” Johnson told MSNBC.
Johnson and Brown started running away when Brown was shot a second time in the back. Following this Johnson says Brown turned around with his hands up and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!” after which the office reportedly shot him several more times.
This version of events has been corroborated by several other eyewitness accounts, although police from Ferguson - the working class, mostly black St. Louis suburb where the incident took place – maintain that Brown was killed following a struggle for the officer’s gun.
The police have also confirmed that Brown was shot multiple times, with St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar reporting that the teenager, who was in the area visiting his grandmother, was hit “more than just a couple but I don’t think it was many more than that.”
The identity of the officer involved has not been revealed and is currently on paid leave for the investigation into Brown’s death.
Protests sparked by the killing continued from the weekend into Monday night, with groups gathering in the street chanting “Don’t shoot” at the police and holding their hands up.
Police in the area have been using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, with journalists in the area reporting being threatened with arrest if they don’t leave the scene.
Brown’s death follows close on the death of New York resident Eric Garner, who was killed by police after being placed in a chokehold.
The incident was caught on video and Garner can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly.