FERGUSON, MO/March 15, 2017 (STL.News) The fallout continues over the release of a documentary about Michael Brown.
A crowd voiced their concerns over the documentary at Tuesday night’s Ferguson City Council meeting. Some of those in attendance placed blame on Ferguson Market and called for its closure, alleging drug activity. Others said the protests stemming from the documentary is a set back to Ferguson’s healing.
“This community was starting to come together. This movie comes out and the scab has been ripped out and were taken back to 2014,” said Ferguson resident Chris Shanahan.
Ferguson resident Adrian Shropshire expressed anger toward the division in the community. “I’m tired of hearing so much negativity from our citizens, so-called citizens. If you don’t like it here, get out…get the hell out. I’m sorry for my language, but I’m fired up.”
Ferguson resident Nick Kasoff was one of several residents to voiced his opposition towards Ferguson Market. “If you want to start improving the city, you might want to start with filthy little places like the Ferguson Market. That place wouldn’t be open if it was in Creve Coeur and it shouldn’t be open here in Ferguson either.”
Mayor James Knowles agreed that the recent protests has been a set back. “People have come from all over, all over St. Louis at least, to come here and protest and express their frustrations, but I’m confident that the community will still move forward.”
Knowles also expressed his disappointment over the racial remarks made towards the owners of Ferguson Market during the protests. “To fight racism with your own racism isn’t going to move this country forward.”
Perceived racial comments were during the meeting. One resident referred to the owners as “A-rabs.”
Knowles pointed out that the owners are from India, not the Middle East.
Knowles also said the comments about drug activity at Ferguson Market are only allegations. However, he said that it would be investigated.
The release of the documentary “Stranger Fruit” led to violent protests in Ferguson in recent days.
At issue is the footage shown in the documentary “Stranger Fruit,” The surveillance video from Ferguson Market shows Brown inside of the store around 1 a.m. on August 9, 2014. The film’s creator and narrator Jason Pollock claims the footage shows Brown trading a bag of marijuana for Cigarellos with store employees. Pollock further claims he left the Cigarellos with the store employees to pick up later.
Later that same day, around 11:30 a.m. Brown returned to pick up those Cigarellos and did not commit a theft in the store, according to Pollock.
However, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch and Jay Kanzler, attorney for Ferguson Market, dispute Pollock’s claims, saying the footage in the documentary was edited.
“This is a clear attempt to distort this and turn it into something it isn’t. There was no transaction, but there certainly was an attempt to barter for these goods, but the store employees had no involvement in that, and when he left, they put everything where it belonged.” McCulloch said during a press conference he called on Monday afternoon at the St. Louis County Justice Center.
“To suggest he’s coming back to get what he bartered for is just stupid.” added McCulloch.
McCulloch released the unedited version of the surveillance video.