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Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

  • Mary Alice Salinas

The streets of the midwestern U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri have been much calmer overnight, following 11 days of unrest after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

Police reported only six arrests, about 40 fewer than the night before.

A police official, Captain Ron Johnson, said authorities had to respond to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires. He said police seized no handguns.

Demonstrators have been taking to the streets to voice anger at the shooting of Michael Brown.

Attorney general meets community leaders, residents

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant in Ferguson, Missouri, August 20, 2014.

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant in Ferguson, Missouri, August 20, 2014.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met in Ferguson with community leaders and residents of the town, saying he has assigned the federal government's "most experienced agents and prosecutors" to the case. Holder also spent time with Michael Brown's parents and promised them a "fair and independent inquiry" into the death of their son

In other news, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin Wednesday drawing attention to plans by an activist group, Anonymous, for nationwide protests against the death of Brown. The group has called for a national "Day of Rage" on Thursday.

The bulletin said there is no indication the protests are expected to become violent. But it said recent protests in Ferguson have resulted in violence, property damage and arrests.

Quest for justice

West Florissant Avenue, where Michael Brown was shot is now the gathering site for a community determined to quell the unrest and find justice.

“You’re going to see people rising up, but we’re rising up together. This is my community and I’m rising up with it,” said Jacquie Burge, a local resident.

West Florissant Avenue has become the epicenter of a national debate about race, class and justice in America.

The destruction from recent days is obvious, but so is an influx of supporters and sympathizers.

Police and residents reach out, eager to build trust and quell anger.

“I have been profiled, I’ve been pulled over for no reason and talked bad to by police officers. However, as a black male there’s a respectful way to go about handling everything. Not getting out and tearing up your communities,” said Craig Bass, a volunteer.

Police blame outside groups for instigating violence, something Ferguson protester Weston Suber said he has witnessed during peaceful demonstrations.

“Behind me I hear this guy on the loud speaker and he’s chanting ‘revolution,’ he chanting, not on the loud speaker but yelling, ‘let’s go, push forward.’ You know and it’s almost like they want us to rush the police,” said Suber.

Amnesty International monitors are accusing police of being heavy-handed and stepping on the rights of peaceful protesters.

“We recognize that police must defend themselves, we ask that it be proportional to threats that they are receiving, and we ask that the violations of a few not undermine the rights of many,” said Amnesty International’s Jasmine Heiss.

Local Meldon Moffitt said he is one of the peaceful demonstrators unjustly targeted and arrested by police.

“It’s the police officers that agitate us, come down here with their stun guns, coming down here with the rifles, pointing lights on us, forcing us to move when we’re not doing anything wrong but protesting,” said Moffitt.

Police say they are simply protecting the public and businesses, while Moffitt says he is simply trying to get justice.

Fundraising efforts

By Thursday morning, online fundraising for Officer Darren Wilson, who police officials say shot Brown, surpassed the official fund for the slain teen on donation website Go Fund Me.

The “Support Officer Darren Wilson” group topped $115,000 in three days – about $2,000 more than the Michael Brown Memorial Fund, which the Brown family's legal team began a week ago.

Joy Jackson, the top named funder for Michael Brown, wrote on the website that she donated "to peacefully fight injustice on our people."

Victoria Macchi contributed to this report from Washington.

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