WASHINGTON -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Sunday criticized the Ferguson police for releasing a video allegedly showing Michael Brown robbing a convenience store before he was shot and killed.
Ferguson police released the video on Friday, reportedly ignoring a request from the Justice Department not to. Police Chief Thomas Jackson has acknowledged to reporters that the shooting death of Brown last week was not related to the robbery, calling into question why the video was released amid dual investigations by local authorities and the DOJ into the circumstances around Brown's death.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Nixon said he and his staff were unaware that the video was going to be released.
"We certainly were not happy with that being released, especially in the way that it was," Nixon said. "It appeared to cast aspersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street. It made emotions raw."
The governor went on to say that the renewed unrest in Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where Brown was killed by a police officer, was in part due to the police's decision to make public the details of the robbery. Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew Saturday that led to clashes between a small group of protesters and police.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Nixon reiterated his disapproval of the decision to release the video.
"To attempt to in essence disparage the character of this victim in the middle of a process is not right. It’s just not right," he said. "And secondarily, it did put the community, and quite frankly the region and the nation, on alert again. These are old wounds. These are deep wounds in these communities. And that action was not helpful."
Nixon said he spoke to Ferguson police about the release of the video, but didn't say if there would be any punitive actions taken.
"We’ve had very serious discussions about that action and how much we thought that it was not the right way to handle the victim’s family," Nixon said, adding that he met with Brown's family. "They were deeply troubled, and when you see your son gunned down in the street and then you see a police chief begin an attempt to attack his character, that’s just not the way to operate."
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