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Streets of Ferguson Calm Following Days of Violence

  • VOA News

The streets of Ferguson, Missouri have been much calmer overnight, following 11 days of unrest after a local police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

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

A police official 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 August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Two counter-protesters showed up late Wednesday carrying signs in support of the police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot Brown. Many people in the crowd shouted at those two people, telling them to "go home." Television footage showed one of them being whisked away by police.

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.

Also Wednesday, a grand jury investigating the fatal shooting of Brown began hearing evidence in the case. The grand jury, which convened in the nearby city of Clayton, Missouri, will review the evidence and determine whether to charge officer Wilson in the death of the teenager.

Wilson is on paid leave, with Brown's family and supporters calling for his arrest.

Daily rallies in Ferguson have turned violent at times in the past 11 days. Police have arrested more than 100 protesters, primarily for refusing to leave the streets. Police say at least two people have been wounded by gunshots fired from within the crowd of protesters.

In an opinion piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday, Holder called for trust to be built between law enforcement and the public as federal and local investigations into Michael Brown's death continue.

At the time of his death, Brown was suspected of shoplifting and roughing up a storekeeper. Authorities, however, say the officer, Darren Wilson, did not know that Brown was a robbery suspect.

An independent autopsy requested by Brown's family showed he was shot six times, including twice in the head. A Brown family attorney said the teen was trying to surrender to police when he was shot.

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