A cellphone video that shows a witness raising his hands in the air immediately after the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer in Ferguson appears to support previous accounts and could bolster arguments that Michael Brown was surrendering when he was shot, media reports said.
The video shows two landscapers who were working near the street where Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, AP reported.
In the video, a man can be heard saying, "He had his (expletive) hands up," while one of the workers raises his own hands in the air.
"The voice is that of the worker raising his hands, but that isn't clear on the video," the man who took the cellphone video said on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety.
The workers are not from Ferguson and were employed by a business from Jefferson County, South of St. Louis. They have not come forward publicly.
The comment on the video largely matches those of residents of the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, who said Brown was surrendering when he was killed. The shooting spurred several days of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson. A state grand jury and the Justice Department are investigating, but no decision on whether Wilson will face charges is expected until next month.
"Both workers came forward and told the family their account of the shooting," said Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Brown's family.
He described the video as "of paramount significance."
"Not because they were not residents of Ferguson, and not because the construction workers were Caucasian, but because it is a contemporaneous recording of their immediate actions of what they had just witnessed," Crump said. "It's the best evidence you can have other than a video of the actual shooting itself.""The workers are among witnesses who have been interviewed by authorities and are part of the investigation," said Ed Magee, Spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
"The video likely would be admissible evidence before the grand jury along with the workers' testimony," said Peter Joy, a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
"The thing that strikes me is we actually have a film of what's going on and while it's hard to hear the construction workers say what they're saying, you have one construction worker putting his hands up in the air, which appears to be him demonstrating what he's seeing," Joy said.