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Michael Brown video: Prosecutor calls filmmaker's claims 'just stupid'

Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN | 3/13/2017, 6:04 p.m.
Video that a filmmaker says shows Michael Brown in a Ferguson, Missouri, store engaging in a purported drug exchange hours ...
Michael Brown

(CNN) -- Video that a filmmaker says shows Michael Brown in a Ferguson, Missouri, store engaging in a purported drug exchange hours before he was killed is nothing more than a "poorly edited snippet," the prosecutor who investigated the case said Monday.

Director Jason Pollock, whose film "Stranger Fruit" debuted at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, over the weekend, claimed the video shows that Brown did not rob the store before his deadly confrontation with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Rather, it shows the 18-year-old exchanged marijuana for cigarillos with the clerks, Pollock told CNN.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch called Pollock's assertions "just stupid" during a Monday afternoon news conference.

"What this guy's putting out is just nonsense," he said.

An attorney representing the convenience store concurs with the prosecutor's account.

A description of the video was made available in a police report, the prosecutor said, and investigators viewed the video less than a week after Brown was killed, to determine whether Brown had tried to steal something when he visited the store.

What McCulloch's team determined is that Brown entered the store by himself, picked drinks from a cooler and asked for cigarillos, he said. The clerks bagged the goods and Brown put something on the counter, which the clerks examined, McCulloch said. That's all captured on the video Pollock released.

What's missing from Pollock's video -- as a result of a "very poor job of editing in the first place" -- is a clerk talking to Brown, and Brown putting the bag back on the counter, removing something from the counter and exiting the store, McCulloch said. The video then shows the clerks put the cigarillos back on the rack and the drinks back in the cooler, he said.

"There was certainly an attempt to barter for these goods," the prosecutor said. "There was no transaction between Mr. Brown and the store employees."

The video was "not relevant or material" to Brown's death and was never presented to a grand jury, McCulloch said, explaining why it wasn't part of the trove of evidence he publicly released on November 24, 2014.

Small demonstration

After word of the video surfaced, about 100 protesters gathered at the store Sunday night, forcing it to close, and gunshots were heard before midnight, but none of the protesters appeared injured, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A Ferguson police officer suffered a broken nose when a woman punched him in the face during an arrest, the paper reported.

During media rounds Sunday and Monday, Pollock told reporters Brown and the Ferguson Market and Liquor had an agreement. There was no robbery, he said.

Pollock suggested that had this footage been released, it would've altered the narrative that Brown was shot after robbing the store. Instead, he claimed, investigators lied and "wanted to make Mike look bad, so they put out half a video to destroy his character in his death."

The filmmaker further alleged, "This is a shady store. We've asked a lot of people in this community. You can buy weed (marijuana) at the store."