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Audio captured about time of Michael Brown shooting, company says

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Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-28 16:55:32-04

By Jason Hanna

CNN

(CNN) — A company whose video chat service allegedly captured audio of Michael Brown’s shooting said Thursday the recording was created at about the time the Missouri teenager was killed this month.

The revelation from Glide appears to bolster a man’s claim that he inadvertently recorded audio of gunfire at the time a police officer shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on August 9.

The video was created at 12:02:14 p.m. that day, Glide said. That’s around the time that police say Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed Brown.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the recording. But the sounds could be a piece in the larger puzzle of what happened during the shooting, which spurred days of protests in the city of 21,000.

Police have said Brown was trying to grab the officer’s gun. Witnesses say the teen was holding his hands in the air when he was fatally shot. Investigators are determining whether to accuse the officer of wrongdoing; no charges have been filed.

The FBI obtained the audio and interviewed the man who made the recording, said Lopa Blumenthal, a lawyer for that individual.

The man was using the Glide video-texting application on his cell phone to speak to a friend, and the recording captured sounds of gunshots, the company said.

The man, who asked that his identity not be revealed, lives near the site of the Brown shooting and happened to be using the application at the same time Brown was shot, Blumenthal said.

In the recording, a quick series of shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then another quick succession of shots.

Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg analyzed the recording and said he detected at least 10 gunshots — a cluster of six, followed by four.

The significance of the pause

Witnesses and a friend of Wilson have given conflicting accounts of what led to Brown’s death, and the pause could be key in the investigation. But it’s difficult to prove from the audio why the pause took place or whose narrative it supports.

Ferguson police have alleged that Brown robbed a convenience store shortly before the shooting, and that he and a friend, Dorian Johnson, were walking down a street when Wilson approached them in a police car.

Police say Wilson stopped Brown not because of the theft, but because Brown and a friend were blocking traffic. They say Brown fought with the officer in his patrol vehicle and groped for Wilson’s gun.

Johnson said the officer shot Brown once by the police car and again as he ran away. According to Johnson, Brown was struck in the back and then turned around and put his arms up as the officer kept shooting.

But a woman who identified herself as a friend of Wilson called in to a St. Louis radio show with what she said was the officer’s version of events. The caller, who identified herself only as “Josie,” said Brown taunted the officer and charged at him. Her account matches what Wilson has told investigators, a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

An autopsy showed Brown had six gunshot wounds, all in the front of his body.

Attorney Chris Chestnut told CNN this week he was surprised by the gap in shots.

“It’s the pause that gives most concern in a police shooting, especially with an unarmed victim, because at this point Mr. Brown is defenseless — he has no weapon,” said Chestnut, who represented the family of Jonathan Ferrell.

Like Brown, Ferrell was an unarmed African-American man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in North Carolina.

But if the gunfire heard on the audio is from the Brown incident, the pause doesn’t automatically suggest wrongful intent by the officer.

“To be fair, there could be other explanations for that pause,” said attorney Van Jones, co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire.” “Maybe the officer will say, ‘Well, I fired and he kept advancing, so I fired again.’ ”

CNN’s Holly Yan and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

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