Washington - The unarmed black teenager whose shooting by police sparked violent protests in the US state of Missouri was a suspect in a robbery before he was slain, police said Friday.
Meanwhile five nights of violence, looting and police crackdowns were followed by peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the governor sidelined local police who had clashed with locals protesting the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Police released details of the incident, including the name of the officer accused of shooting Brown. Officer Darren Wilson had been previously unnamed, fuelling citizen anger about the slaying.
The tension in Ferguson has sparked national discussion of race relations and the treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system. The heavy-handed police response to protests with the use of riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets has raised questions about the “militarization” of police in the United States.
Captain Ron Johnson, the Missouri State Highway Patrol official tasked with policing Ferguson, said Friday there had been no violence during the first night following Governor Jay Nixon's decision to replace county police with state highway patrol officers in the suburb. No arrests had been made, and police had not fired tear gas or erected road blocks, as they had in recent nights, he said.
Nixon said the investigation would continue into the shooting and the police confrontations that followed.
“Nothing should deter figuring out how and why Michael Brown was killed,” he said.
Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, allegedly stole cigars from a store. Brown then shoved a clerk who attempted to stop him from leaving, the police report said. A police officer confirmed that the suspect on the store's surveillance video was Brown, who was later shot in an altercation with an officer.
Witnesses have alleged that Brown was not resisting when an officer shot him several times.
In the days that followed, police from St Louis County, where Ferguson is located, provided heavy support including dozens of officers in green camouflage armed with assault rifles.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters, and several businesses were looted Sunday.