Dorian Johnson, the primary witness to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, has an outstanding warrant for a 2011 theft in Jefferson City and pleaded guilty for filing a false police report related to that theft.
St. Louis ABC affiliate ABC 17 cross referenced Johnson's name against several records and discovered the warrant.
Johnson will be the star witness for any potential prosecution proceedings against Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Brown. Johnson was walking with Brown when the shooting occurred.
He has already done multiple media appearances where he falsely claimed Brown was shot by Wilson in the back. He also has claimed that Brown never reached for Wilson's gun, was “shot like an animal” and that Brown had his hands up and told Wilson he was unarmed.
Johnson's claims helped inspire the protests and riots in Ferguson over the past 10 days, as well as the “Hands up, don't shoot” rallying cry of the protesters and their supporters.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has details about the 2011 charges against Johnson:
During the summer after his first semester at Lincoln, Johnson was charged with a misdemeanor after giving police a false first name after he was arrested on suspicion of theft. He later pleaded guilty.
He was accused of stealing a package containing a backpack belonging to someone else from an apartment complex. When he was arrested in that case, he identified himself as Derrick Johnson and said he was 16.
He is wanted for failing to appear in Jefferson City municipal court to answer to the theft charge, court officials said.
According to the Post-Dispatch, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP knew about the charges against Johnson, but the fact that he was guilty of lying to the police didn't matter:
Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis NAACP chapter, which has been encouraging witnesses to come forward, said Johnson’s false report case “doesn’t concern me.”
“He’s been very clear about what occurred, and now we have ... four others stating facts that support the statements he’s been making,” Pruitt said. “Why would that diminish other accounts that are relatively the same?”
Whether or not Johnson committed the crime, lied to police, or is proven false on his account of how Brown was shot by Wilson, finding out what actually happened in the Ferguson shooting will require more evidence and multiple eye-witness accounts. It is important for neither the mainstream media nor armchair pundits to act like they definitively know what happened in this tragic event.