Wilson claimed that Brown was violent throughout the encounter, even charging at the officer after gunshots were fired. The eyewitnesses who went public said Brown was trying to flee from Wilson and attempted to surrender before the final shots were fired.
But key facts about the shooting, including why it happened in the first place, remain in dispute. Here is a rundown of what we know — and what we don't.
What's confirmed so far
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson fields questions from press. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)
Wilson shot and killed Brown in the early afternoon of Saturday, August 9, outside of an apartment complex.
Brown died 150 feet from the car, despite earlier statements that Brown died just 35 feet from the vehicle.
The official and independent autopsies found Wilson shot Brown at least six times, and two of the bullets struck Brown on the head but none hit him from behind.
One of the shots was fired at close range, suggesting Brown and Wilson did have a physical altercation at the officer's SUV as police and eyewitnesses reported.
What's disputed about the shooting
"Hands up, don't shoot" became the motto of the Ferguson protests after eyewitnesses said Michael Brown tried to surrender before Darren Wilson fatally shot him. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)
The eyewitnesses who went public generally told a similar story. They said Brown and Wilson had an initial confrontation at the police officer's SUV, then Brown ran, and then Wilson chased after Brown and shot the teenager to death as he attempted to surrender.
Wilson said Brown didn't attempt to surrender and instead charged at him as he fired the final shots, which some eyewitnesses who didn't go public reportedly corroborated. Wilson also claimed that Brown reached for his handgun during the initial confrontation at his SUV.
At a press conference announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson, St. Louis County Attorney Robert McCulloch claimed the publicly known eyewitnesses proved to be unreliable and changed their statements. He said various eyewitnesses, who never went public, contradicted the publicly known witnesses. He also said the physical evidence painted a much clearer picture — and one in sharp contrast to the claims of Brown's advocates.
Wilson said he became aware during the encounter that Brown was a robbery suspect and radioed the realization in as soon as he knew. If Wilson was aware of the alleged robbery, he could argue that he was shooting Brown to prevent a dangerous suspect from fleeing — a legally justified move.
But Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson previously gave conflicting comments on whether Wilson was aware of the robbery. Jackson said Wilson initially stopped Brown for jaywalking.
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