A month after Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, two new eyewitnesses have emerged to tell their stories about what they saw that day.
What's different about the construction workers who happen to be outside the Canfield Green apartment complex where the shooting occurred, though, is that unlike almost all of the other witnesses to the shooting, these men were not from the area and did not know Brown.
One of the men spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and reiterated the account he gave to the FBI and St. Louis County police. The construction worker, who asked that his name and that of his employer not be revealed, told the paper he didn't see the alleged struggle that occurred at officer Wilson's cruiser, during which a shot was fired from Wilson's gun.
Like many of the other witnesses, the man - who was around 50 feet Wilson when the officer opened fire - said Wilson chased Brown away from the car and fired at least one more shot in the direction of the teen as Brown was fleeing. He also reported seeing Brown stop, turn around and put his hands up, after which Wilson killed Brown in a hail of gunfire. His account, however, didn't clear up one of the most crucial debates about the shooting: was Brown moving toward Wilson before the final, fatal shots were fired?
In a newly released video of the incident, one of the men can be heard saying, "he had his f---in' hands up."
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the new video of the eyewitness could play a major role in the case, which is being investigated by the Justice Department and local police; a St. Louis grand jury is also weighing evidence in a possible case against Wilson. "You have practically in real time someone discussing what they saw, and that's just good evidence," he said.
The construction worker told the paper his account would be vital to the grand jury investigating the shooting because he didn't know Brown or Wilson and had no ties to Ferguson. He noted that he first saw Brown around 11 a.m. on the day of the shooting, when the teen stopped and engaged his co-worker in a "rambling, half-hour conversation" after hearing the man shout a profanity in frustration after hitting a tree root while digging.
Brown told the man's co-worker that he "was feeling some bad vibes" that morning and that "the Lord Jesus Christ" would help the construction worker through his difficulties as long as he kept his temper in check. Saying he'd be back to talk more later, Brown walked away and, 30 minutes later, the construction worker said he heard the first shot and witnessed Brown running away.
According to his account, Wilson was 10 or 15 feet behind Brown, with his gun drawn and at about 90 feet from the cruiser, he fired another shot at Brown, whose back was turned. Brown then stumbled and stopped, put his hands up, turned around and said, "OK, OK, OK, OK, OK." A private autopsy revealed that all but one of Brown's gunshot wounds came while he was facing in Wilson's direction.
After the third shot, the worker said Brown's hands went down and he could not tell from his vantage point if Brown's advance toward Wilson - who was backing away as he fired - was a "stumble to the ground" or an aggressive advance. The man's co-worker told a local TV station that Wilson never ordered Brown to "get on the ground."
Also on Wednesday, police surrounded and arrested more than 30 protesters in Ferguson after marchers gathered near an onramp in a reported attempt to block Interstate I-70 during rush hour. According to the Post-Dispatch, 32 people were charged with unlawful assembly and four with assault on law enforcement officers during the nearly three hour stand-off during which protesters hurled bricks, rocks, concrete chunks and glass bottles at police.