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Lawyer: Friend confirms that he and shooting victim had robbed convenience store

Friday - 8/15/2014, 3:08pm  ET

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- The friend who was with Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by a police officer near St. Louis over the weekend is reportedly confirming that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars from a convenience store that day.

That word comes from the attorney for Dorian Johnson, speaking to MSNBC. Police in Ferguson had earlier announced that Brown was suspected of taking cigars from the convenience store in what was described as a "strong-arm robbery."

Brown's family is accusing police of trying to draw attention away from the shooting.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer involved in the shooting -- identified as Darren Wilson -- had gone to the area after a 911 call reporting the robbery. He says a dispatcher gave a description of the suspect, and that Wilson encountered Brown a few minutes before another officer arrived.

The announcement was met with immediate disbelief and anger by community members who insisted Brown wasn't the man seen in a security camera video of the robbery.

Brown's uncle says if Wilson really had believed Brown was a suspect, he wouldn't have just told him to get out of the street. Either way, he says, it doesn't justify the shooting.

%@AP Links

146-c-09-(Jim Salter, AP correspondent)-"in previous nights"-AP correspondent Jim Salter reports some Ferguson residents are angry to hear that police say Michael Brown was a suspect in a robbery the day of the shooting. (15 Aug 2014)

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144-a-09-(Chief Thomas Jackson, Ferguson Police Department, at news conference)-"county prosecutor's office"-Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson says Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown, was among other officers who were called to the area after a 911 call reporting a 'strong-arm robbery' at a nearby convenience store. (15 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO MOJR112: Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, left, answers questions as Gov. Jay Nixon listens during a news conference Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Nixon assigned protest oversight to Johnson, after violent protests in Ferguson erupted in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (15 Aug 2014)

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