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Ferguson Residents Mark Anniversary of Mike Brown Shooting

  • VOA News

Michael Brown Sr., center, leads a memorial march for his son, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 8, 2015.

Michael Brown Sr., center, leads a memorial march for his son, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 8, 2015.

People in Ferguson, Missouri gathered Sunday to march and hold a moment of silence to mark the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer during a street confrontation one year ago.

The march Sunday began at the site where the unarmed black teenager was shot on August 9, 2014 by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who has since resigned from the force. The demonstrations that followed his death threw the St. Louis suburb into the national spotlight and sparked calls for better treatment of minorities by police.

Keep case in focus

Brown's father Michael Brown Sr., asked for protesters to observe 4-1/2 minutes of silence to represent the roughly 4-1/2 hours his son's body lay in the street after he was killed. The observance was followed by a silent march aimed at honoring those who have died at the hands of police.

Brown said his family is still grieving, but he believes his son's legacy can be seen in the increased awareness of police shootings.

Although a state grand jury cleared Wilson of Brown's death last November, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found that blacks were unfairly targeted by the majority white police force in the city.

The report said that while blacks comprised 67 percent of Ferguson's 21,000 people, 93 percent of the arrests were of African-Americans. The report said that 85 percent of all routine traffic stops were of black drivers and 90 percent of all traffic citations issued.

The investigation faulted a combination of racial bias among police and an unusually heavy reliance on fines and fees for city revenue. The latter have disproportionately affected blacks, further straining their trust in law enforcement and the judiciary system.

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