The impromptu vigil for 18-year-old Michael Brown’s killing from police officer Darren Wilson turned into a sustained protest. The unarmed black boy (photo below) was shot by a white police officer on August 9 after allegedly robbing a convenience store for a box of cigars.Witnesses say that Brown held his hands in surrender when he was shot. The disproportionate violence sparked a local outcry and a candlelit vigil held in the unfortunate boy’s wake turned violent as some protestors began to riot and loot nearby stores.
The clashes escalated on Friday after police found that the supposed robbery and shooting were unrelated incidents with Brown’s confrontation with the police a result of him and his friend walking in the street “blocking traffic.” The shooting is now the subject of an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the St. Louis County police.
At a rowdy press conference on Saturday, Governor Jay Nixon decleared a state of emergency and implemented a curfew in Ferguson from midnight to 5 a.m. that demonstrators broke. Riot police engaged with angry demonstrators throwing bottle rockets that set the street ablaze and prompting the police to lob tear gas into the crowd.
“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” is the chant that has echoed through Ferguson’s streets for days.
Early Sunday, an unidentified male was in a critical condition after being shot during protests held after the curfew. A police patrol car was also shot as police tried to help a gunshot victim. Seven people were arrested for failure to disperse after the curfew.
Few protestors as curfew begins –
Police deploy tear gas to disperse protestors –
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund released a statement claiming that the governor’s action “suspends the constitutional right to assemble by punishing the misdeeds of the few through the theft of a constitutionally protected rights of the many.”
On Sunday pastors, African-American members of the police and civil rights frighters tried to defuse tension. Captain Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol apologized to the family of the young boy in a packed sanctuary at Greater Grace Church not far from the demonstration. “My heart goes out to you, and I say that I’m sorry,” he said. “I wear this uniform and I should stand up here and say that I’m sorry.” He continued by speaking of his own “When this is over, I’m going to to in my son’s room. My black son, who wears his pants sagging, who wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.” The captain won applause and pledged that the death is “going to make it better for our sons to be better black men.”
Results of a private autopsy show that the young man was shot at least six times, two of these times were in the head. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the justice department would hold its own autopsy as soon as possible. The federal-conducted autopsy will focus onthe “entry point of projectiles, defensive wounds and bruises” that might help in the investigation, said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor.
President Barrack Obama mysteriously cut shot his vacation from Martha’s Vineyard for scheduled meetings at the White House on Monday and Tuesday devoted to the Iraq military operation and unrest in Ferguson. The president has already made on-camera statements about the clashes. He will be briefed on the investigation of the recent police shooting by Holder on Monday afternoon and is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay there the rest of the week.