Not only all the world, but extraterrestrial monitors, if there be any, know the outlines of The Incident, so I won’t bother to reiterate them. (For other smug perchers and any distant observers whose monitors have been down for the last 80 hours, Venutian time, the Wikipedia article will fill you in.)
Applying Occam’s razor to the events (few of them worthy of being called “facts”) as I understand them (from having more than skimmed, but less than read word-for-word, about half a dozen web pages) I am assuming that, yes, that is six-foot-four, 200+ pound Michael Brown stealing a $50 box of cigars from a convenience store by physically intimidating the little South Asian owner. The demonstrators and their supporters are not saying “That isn’t Brown,” they are saying “it doesn’t matter.”
It does matter, though. If Brown had committed a violent (kind of) crime a few minutes before his encounter with policeman Desmond Wilson, it lends more credence to Wilson’s version of events, which is that Brown attempted to grab his gun.
Looking at the manner in which Brown used his bulk to coerce the store owner, the following rough formula can be justified: for every pound of difference in weight between Brown and Wilson, Wilson’s version becomes more credible (or less credible, if Wilson weighed more than Brown).
Of course, even if Wilson can justify his first shot, he’ll have a hard time justifying his last, taken when Brown, already wounded, had his hands up and was verbally surrendering, according to two witnesses (other than the friend who had accompanied Brown during the robbery). The robbery doesn’t matter, when it comes to the last shot – nor does Brown’s character, his bulk, his criminal record.
There were reports that Osama bin Laden had his hands up and was surrendering when he was shot. True or false, these reports seemed to matter enough to the exultant administration to warrant vehement denials.