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Al Sharpton: Ferguson, Mo. officials 'smeared' Michael Brown with alleged store robbery video

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the parents of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden, right, and Michael Brown Sr., left, during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Credit: AP / Jeff Roberson

The Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday denounced the top cop of Ferguson, Missouri, accusing him of trying to "smear" the memory of an unarmed black teen slain by a police officer.

Chief Thomas Jackson disclosed Friday that Michael Brown had been suspected of a cigar robbery shortly before an officer shot him to death Aug. 9, but later conceded that the officer who fired on the 18-year-old Brown didn't know about the reported robbery.

"Like whatever they put on the victim caused what happened!" Sharpton said, speaking Saturday morning from his storefront pulpit in Harlem.

"To come out with that tape," Sharpton said, "is to assassinate his character after you've already taken his life. It's the epitome of an insult to people of this country."

Sharpton was referring to a surveillance video that appears to show Brown shoving a store clerk.

Sharpton said Brown's relatives would join the family of Eric Garner, another black man killed by police, at Sharpton's planned Aug. 23 rally in Staten Island.

Garner, who was 43, died July 17 from what the medical examiner said was a chokehold as NYPD officers tried to arrest him on Staten Island for peddling untaxed cigarettes.

Sharpton said authorities followed the same "playbook" in his death's aftermath by disclosing his lengthy rap sheet, mostly for petty crimes.

Sharpton, who spent two days in Ferguson at the invitation of Brown's grandfather, said he is returning to the St. Louis suburb this weekend.

Protests have gripped the suburb, about a 20-minute drive from the city, since Officer Darren Wilson opened fire on Brown. Witnesses say Brown had his hands up.

Sharpton also scolded people who would engage in violence in the aftermath of Brown's death -- saying that they're disrespecting the teen's family.

"Those that riot and loot are also looting the legacy of their son," he said.

Sharpton's planned march is intended to pressure the authorities to arrest Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Garner in the chokehold, and protest police brutality in general.

"We're gonna keep this thing peaceful. We're not going to be like Missouri," Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, said at Sharpton's pulpit.

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