Robbery had 'nothing to do' with police stop of Michael Brown

The officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., did not know he was a suspect in a robbery that took place minutes earlier.  

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, stopped him only because he and a friend were walking in the middle of the road. 

"The initial contact between the officer and Mr. Brown was not related to the robbery," Jackson said at a news conference. 

The robbery "had nothing to do with the stop," he added. 

Earlier in the day, police released new information that said police dispatch described a suspect who had been involved in a "strong-arm" robbery "nearby” 10 minutes before the shooting. 

Jackson said it is unclear if Wilson was aware of the robbery call at all. 

"I don't know," he said. "I don't know what came out in his interview." 

According to an initial incident report of the robbery at a convenience store written by another officer, Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson are identified by security camera footage as suspects in the robbery. 

The release of robbery information Friday coincided with the revelation of the name of Wilson, a 28-year-old officer who has been in the police force for six years. 

Brown's family said Friday the timing of the release showed the police were trying to assassinate the teen's character. 

Jackson defended the release, saying Ferguson Police released all information it had together on Friday. 

"What I did was release the video tape to you because I had to,” he said. “I've been sitting on it. But too many people put in a [Freedom of information Act] request for that thing, and I had to release that tape to you.”

St. Louis County is conducting the investigation into the death and likely will not release any other information until the investigation is complete.

The shooting had caused protests throughout the city and spurred a debate about police tactics in the shooting and subsequent attempts to quell the protests. 

Jackson said his heart goes out to Brown’s family after the teen's death. 

He offered new details about the officer. He described Wilson as a "gentle, quiet man" and a "distinguished officer." He said Wilson is "absolutely devastated."

After the incident, "the side of Wilson's face was swollen," according to Jackson. 

Witnesses and police have given conflicting details of the shooting. Police have said that Brown assaulted the officer and tried to grab Wilson’s weapon during a struggle inside his police car, where a shot was fired. Other witnesses have contested that.

This post was updated at 4:02 p.m.