While neighborhood stores were being looted and burned, the real but terrified eyewitnesses agreed to answer investigators' questions only on the condition of their anonymity.
The Investigative Report includes several accounts of eyewitnesses' reluctant to provide information to investigators. The following account is the most detailed. (Names, addresses and phone numbers were whited out in the copy released to the public.)
August 14 
At approximately 9:20 Detective [Name] contacted [Eyewitness] by phone at [Phone Number]. Detective [Name] made reference to the incident and asked if he [Eyewitness] could provide information to assist with the investigation. He [Eyewitness] advised that although present during the incident, and seeing the entirety of what happened, he would not be speaking to police for fear of retaliation from neighborhood residents.
He [Eyewitness] also stated the information being broadcast by the news outlets was not accurate information and there were “blatant lies from those giving accounts of what they saw.” He [Eyewitness] said there were multiple people present when the shooting occurred and even those people, when interviewed by the media, were giving false statements.
Detective [Name] asked to meet with him, and said he [Eyewitness] needed to speak with his family before committing to a meeting. He said he would contact detectives at a later date.
At approximately 11:50 am, Detective [Name] contacted [Eyewitness] by phone and asked if he was willing to speak with law enforcement about his observations during the incident in question.[Eyewitness] stated he was still in discussions with his family about whether or not to talk with detectives and to contact him at a later date.
At approximately 9:05 am, Detective [Name] contacted [Eyewitness] by phone and asked if he was willing to speak with detectives about his account of the incident. [Eyewitness] said, after speaking with his family on three separate occasions, he was not inclined to provide his account. He stated he was afraid to assist for fear of retaliation from the community if he told the truth and if it was learned that he assisted investigators with providing information that was not consistent with what was being reported by the media. The phone conversation with [Eyewitness] was concluded.
[Pages 96, 108-110]The situation created a vicious loop. The initial false story incited the riots that inhibited the truth-tellers and inspired more false stories.