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Portrait of Michael Brown: 'Little kid in a big body'

Published: Sun, August 24, 2014 @ 3:28 p.m.

The funeral for the young man shot by police will be Monday

Associated Press


Michael Brown Jr. was on the verge of starting college, eager to launch himself into the adult world. Instead, on Monday he'll be mourned at his funeral, more than two weeks after his fatal shooting by a white police officer— an act that ignited days of violent protests and reawakened racial tensions that still linger in the nation.

Brown, who was unarmed when he was killed, became an instant symbol of racial injustice as protesters flooded into the streets after his death. Civil rights leaders said the shooting in this predominantly black St. Louis suburb revived long simmering questions about police treatment of minorities across the country.

During more than a week of demonstrations — marred by Molotov cocktails and billowing clouds of tear gas — Brown's name and face were frequently visible on T-shirts and picket signs. Some also chanted: "I AM MIKE BROWN!"

Even as the details of what happened during the Aug. 9 confrontation remain unclear, a portrait has emerged of the 18-year-old Brown.

Family and friends recall a young man built like a lineman — 6-foot-3, nearly 300 pounds — with a gentle, joking manner. An aspiring rapper who dubbed himself "Big Mike." A fan of computer games, Lil Wayne, Drake, the movie, "Grown Ups 2" and the TV show "Family Guy." A kid who was good at fixing things. A struggling student who buckled down to finish his courses, don his green graduation gown with red sash and cross the stage in August to pick up his diploma.

"My fondest memory of Mike is seeing a big kid coming in with a smile on his face, his headphones on and a big can of iced tea ... and say, 'Hey, Coach K, What's going on? .... What do you need me to do this morning?'" recalls Charlie Kennedy, a Normandy High School health and physical education teacher. He says Brown was the kind of kid who'd hold court with "four or five kids around him, cutting up and having a good time."

Kennedy became acquainted with Brown while running a credit recovery program the young man was enrolled in that allowed him to catch up so he could graduate with his class. Brown, he says, could be led astray by kids who were bad influences but by spring, he became focused on getting his degree.

Kennedy also would bring in recording equipment Brown could use for rapping — he wanted to perform and learn a trade to help support himself. "His biggest goal was to be part of something," the teacher adds. "He didn't like not knowing where to fit in life. ... He was kind-hearted, a little kid in a big body. He was intimidating looking, but I don't think he ever was disrespectful to me."


1wolfrun1(100 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

this is the same young man that robed and assaulted the store owner only a short time before he assaulted the officer inside the police cruiser .......

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2redeye1(5657 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Isn't amazing that now they are saying things like he was a boy in a big. body. That big body sure helped to beat the store owner and then the police officer. But I guess that was a different Michael Brown .Maybe he had a split personality that these folks didn't know about. Just wondering! It is

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3Roger_Thornhill(1068 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Big thug. Don't miss him at all.

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4billdog1(5912 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

This young mans demise is beyond sad, but one has to look at facts.

Kind hearted individuals don't rob and bully clerks. He walked to get his diploma in Aug? Most schools do graduation in May.

Those with t-shirts with his picture on it kind of make me question that choice. What is the point? I'd be willing to bet that most with this representation never met him. This should be a time to reflect on how to avoid this from happening again. Not a time for reinforcing such behavior by blaming the officer that was assaulted and left to defend himself. Ignoring the behavior that caused such a tragedy is placing blame inappropriately.

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5NoBS(2819 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Those of us who respond with reality to this propaganda-laden attempt to shift the blame to the cop will be labeled racists. However, Brown's actions seen on the store's security footage are not those of anything but a common thug and bully. He took what he wanted with no intention of paying for it. When challenged, even knowing he was doing wrong, he became confrontational and physically threatening.

And why is it that these young thugs who were "just turning their lives around" seem to always be a budding rapper? What's up with that?

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6Chessiedad(378 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

"....a gentle, joking manner...". Yeah, we all saw how "gently" he handled that innocent store clerk! "...a fan of...Lil Wayne, Drake...". Look up the lyrics to the songs these "positive influences" write, that Mr. Brown looked up to, and it's easy to see how he was so "kind-hearted". It's unbelievable how the media can write this stuff, with a "straight face", and think that we will buy it, "hook, line, and sinker"!

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7Chessiedad(378 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

So Hussein sends three of his top advisors to the funeral/media circus of Mr. Brown, yet no one from his administration has the guts to attend the funeral for James Foley. "Things that make you go hmmm"?

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