A new documentary with previously unseen surveillance footage claims that Mike Brown did not rob a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo. — an event that led to his fatal meeting with police officer Darren Wilson moments later in 2014.
The new surveillance video used in the film, “Stranger Fruit,” instead suggests that Brown’s argument with the shop clerks was part of a misunderstanding tied to an alleged drug-related transaction, The New York Times reports.
“Stranger Fruit” filmmaker Jason Pollock argues that Brown first exchanged a small amount of marijuana with store clerks for two boxes of cigarillos in a 1 a.m. visit earlier that day, according to a clip included in the New York Times.
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“There was some type of exchange, for one thing, for another,” Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother says in the film.
The documentary then asserts that Brown left the merchandise at the store to retrieve at a later point. When he returned, it led to the altercation and the established narrative that Brown had robbed the store. His fatal encounter with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson soon followed.
“Mike did not rob the store,” says the documentary narrator.
It is not clear how Pollock obtained the footage, but it plays a key part of a documentary that premiered at the South By Southwest Festival on Saturday.
Jay Kanzler, an attorney for the convenience store and its employees, told the New York Times that his clients dispute the film’s version of events.
“There was no transaction,” Kanzler told the newspaper. “There was no understanding. No agreement. Those folks didn’t sell him cigarillos for pot. The reason he gave it back is he was walking out the door with unpaid merchandise and they wanted it back.”