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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The friend who was with Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by a police officer near St. Louis over the weekend is reportedly confirming that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars from a convenience store that day.

That word comes from the attorney for Dorian Johnson, speaking to MSNBC. Police in Ferguson had earlier announced that Brown was suspected of taking cigars from the convenience store in what was described as a "strong-arm robbery."

Brown's family is accusing police of trying to draw attention away from the shooting.

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Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer involved in the shooting -- identified as Darren Wilson -- had gone to the area after a 911 call reporting the robbery. He says a dispatcher gave a description of the suspect, and that Wilson encountered Brown a few minutes before another officer arrived.

The announcement was met with immediate disbelief and anger by community members who insisted Brown wasn't the man seen in a security camera video of the robbery.

Brown's uncle says if Wilson really had believed Brown was a suspect, he wouldn't have just told him to get out of the street. Either way, he says, it doesn't justify the shooting.

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