Al Sharpton: Michael Brown May Have Been Guilty of 'Shoplifting, Not Robbery'

Al Sharpton: Michael Brown May Have Been Guilty of 'Shoplifting, Not Robbery'

Reverend Al Sharpton, speaking to a congregation in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, excoriated police for releasing a video in which someone, who appears to be shooting victim Michael Brown, is seen robbing a convenience store. The person resembling Brown stole a $50 box of cigars. 

Sharpton stated:

I have never in all my years seen something as offensive and insulting as a police chief releasing a tape of a young man trying to smear him before we even have his funeral or his burial. First of all, if this is the young man, y’all quit trying to exaggerate. That was shoplifting, not robbery. … Robbery, you break in, stick something up. Shoplifting, you take some cigars. It’s wrong if he did it, but call it what it is.

The Missouri Revised Statutes 570.030 states, however:

Shoplifting is punished as stealing in Missouri. Stealing consists of taking property that belongs to another person, without the person’s consent, or by means of deceit or coercion, and with the intention of depriving that person of the property. … Shoplifters are subject to criminal penalties, including jail time and fines, as well as civil penalties.

The law specifies that if the items stolen are valued at less than $500, the crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor, with a possible jail sentence of up to one year.