When Michael Brown Sr. got that call about a shooting on Canfield Drive, he tried not to believe that it could be his son. Brown, now 41, arrived to find a sheet over the body. Maybe it wasn’t Michael, he thought. Then he saw the cap. A month earlier, father and son wore matching Cardinals caps at the father’s wedding. Michael’s cap lay on the ground next to the body.
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On August 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. His death sparked two weeks of peaceful protests and some riots, as well as a massive mobilization of police and military in the St. Louis suburb.
Several people witnessed Brown’s death, with some saying that the young man had his hands raised up when he was killed — a gesture that became a symbol of the protests, along with the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
Emanuel Freeman, 19, was in his basement apartment on Canfield Drive on August 9 when he heard gunfire. From his window, he watched and live tweeted the last minutes of Brown’s life, leaving behind a testimony that went viral on social media. So far, Freeman says he has spoken only with the FBI about what he saw. Now he has chosen to put his testimony to music — the medium through which he says he is most comfortable expressing himself. Lyrics by Emanuel Freeman, sound by Elijah Loyd.
VICE News caught up with Freeman for an exclusive interview, and to hear the tribute he wrote for Mike Brown.
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