A Missouri juvenile court said Wednesday that Michael Brown was never convicted of the most serious types of felonies before he was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer last month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Missouri law typically bars the release of juvenile records, but the local newspaper and one other conservative journalist had filed separate petitions with the St. Louis County Circuit Court to unseal the 18-year-old’s history of run-ins with the law.
The court had cautioned against releasing Brown’s full juvenile records, the Post-Dispatch reported, and it remains unknown if Brown has been charged with any lesser offenses.
What is known is that Brown never faced Class A or B felony convictions, meaning he did not have second-degree murder and first-degree robbery; or voluntary manslaughter, second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary convictions on his record.
Attorneys for the Post-Dispatch argued Wednesday that confidentiality concerns no longer applied in the wake of Brown’s Aug. 9 death due to the public interest in a case that spurred weeks of protests and unrest.
Critics have denounced efforts to unveil any potential criminal record, arguing that it builds on a narrative designed to disparage Brown’s character. Ferguson Police Department officials were widely criticized for releasing surveillance video nearly a week after Brown’s death, which allegedly showed the teenager involved in a supermarket robbery shortly before he was shot.
Attorneys for Brown’s family swiftly accused the department of conducting a “character assassination” campaign against the teen. They have declined however to discuss Brown’s juvenile record, if any.
Meanwhile, the city of Ferguson is slowing starting to return to a sense of normalcy since police department veteran Darren Wilson shot Brown, who was unarmed at the time, in broad daylight. In a separate courtroom, a grand jury investigating the shooting met for the third time Wednesday, convened by St. Louis county prosecutor Bob McCulloch, a controversial figure in Brown’s case.
Later in the day, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon lifted the state of emergency placed on Ferguson, first put in place on Aug. 16 when he tasked the state National Guard with implementing a curfew on the city. The midnight to 5 a.m. curfew ultimately lasted for two nights before Nixon ultimately called it off.
“This progress is a testament to the efforts of community and faith leaders, working alongside state and local law enforcement officers, to bring peace to the streets of Ferguson and much-needed stability to its citizens,” Nixon said in a statement Wednesday.