Among the and most frequently repeated claims about Brown circulating in the weeks after he was killed involves his purported prior criminal behavior. Allegations ranged from simple, single-statement claims that Brown had been arrested and/or convicted of an array of crimes to a lengthy list of specific criminal counts with which the teenager had reportedly been charged and/or convicted.
As the rumors regarding Mike Brown's arrest record became more variable and extreme, local news outlets began to examine the claims. Brown had turned 18 only three months before his death, making the array of rumors far harder to verify due to the manner in which juvenile records are handled in the state of Missouri. On
Cynthia Harcourt, the St. Louis County juvenile office's attorney, said that the "court of public opinion does not require the release of juvenile records," adding that "simple curiosity" was not an adequate reason to violate the privacy of Brown and his family.
Harcourt did provide the largest amount of information regarding Brown's legal history, noting that the nature of the crimes with which Brown had reportedly been involved would not necessarily have been protected by laws that shield minors from publicizing their criminal records:
Additionally, local news sources confirmed that Mike Brown was not facing any criminal complaints at the time of his death.