Anonymity in Police Shooting Fuels Anger in Missouri

Police officers work their way north on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., clearing the road of people Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with some people lobbing Molotov cocktails and other objects at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)
A protester takes shelter from smoke billowing around him Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Freguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with some people lobbing Molotov cocktails and other objects at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)
A protester takes shelter from smoke billowing around him Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Freguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with some people lobbing Molotov cocktails and other objects at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)

FERGUSON, Mo. (New York Times) — In the five days since an unarmed young black man was fatally shot by a police officer here, the selective release of information about the shooting, and especially the anonymity granted to the officer, has stoked frustrations in this largely African-American community north of St. Louis, where residents describe increasingly tense relations with the police.

The police chief, Thomas Jackson, has repeatedly declined to identify the officer, who has been put on administrative leave. But on Wednesday, the chief did offer a new detail about the shooting, which has kindled nights of racial unrest and an unyielding police response with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests.

Chief Jackson said that the officer who shot Michael Brown, 18, on Saturday was struck in the face during the encounter and treated at a hospital. Touching his own cheek, the chief said that a side of the officer’s face was swollen from what the police have described as a struggle in which Mr. Brown assaulted the officer and tried to take his gun — an account disputed by a witness, a friend of Mr. Brown’s who said his hands were raised when the last of several shots was fired.

Despite persistent and increasingly angry calls from the public to release the officer’s name, Chief Jackson said the officer required protection after numerous death threats had been made. Computer hackers, saying they were outraged by police conduct, now have also joined the fray.

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