News / USA

Missouri Town Torn by Teen's Shooting Seeks to Heal, Unite

  • A makeshift memorial was left near the site where unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown was recently shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
  • A sign in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown, Aug. 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias/VOA)
  • An outpouring of tributes are seen at the site that teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
  • An tribute in honor of teenager Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
  • A  tribute of flowers and signs are seen at the site that teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
  • A lawn sign shows support for the town of Ferguson, Missouri after teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
  • A woman holds up a tee shirt referring to the shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug, 24, 2014. (Gesell Tobias, VOA)
Alberto Pimienta

Editor's note: VOA reporter Alberto Pimienta gives impressions from Ferguson, Missouri, where the main topic of conversation during recent days has been an African-American teenager, getting ready to go to college, who was killed by a white police officer.

During a scorching hot day in Ferguson, Missouri, this community tries to go back to normal after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot and killed on August 9 by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

Ferguson a town of about 21,000 residents is 67.4 percent black, according to the latest census data.

Driving on the main road of this St. Louis suburb, the first thing that grabs your attention is that some commercial establishments have wooden boards covering their windows, however, most of them are open again to the public after looting and intense street protests.

Another thing that becomes noticeable right away is how friendly people are here. Everyone seems willing to lend a hand when someone needs directions or simply when someone, from the media especially, tries to talk to them.

This is a community that is longing to share how it feels after a collective wound left behind by a death that has taken the national spotlight, and in some degree, world attention.

During these days when you hear the word Ferguson, many people think of protests and looting but at this moment here, the reality is different.  

Change sought

The city, little by little, is trying to go back to normal everyday life, to how things were before August 9. 

However, the majority of residents do want something to change how police treat the black population in the city.

“The situation here is dire and it became that way because the average young black male is targeted, he is a subject of ridicule, a subject of distrust and misinterpretation, the reason why this is all going on is because of how the young American black man is portrayed here in the United States,” said Mark, a resident of Ferguson, who did not want to share his last name.  

While talking with many residents, a lot of them want this moment of indignation, as they called it, to also be an opportunity to unite the community and prevent such events in the future.

Brown’s killing took place near some apartment buildings. Sunday, all around the residential complex, there were people offering free food like hot dogs, chips or water. 

John Bonds, who grilled the hot dogs, told VOA he hoped to use this as a way to bring together Ferguson and neighboring suburbs of St. Louis, where, according to him, several black communities recently had not gotten along.

“For whatever reasons, we did not like each other. Since this kicked off, we all came together,” Bonds said.

Officials said police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown in self defense.

The Ferguson police department also made public security camera video that appears to show Brown, the teenager, robbing a store in Ferguson minutes before his death.  

Grand jury convenes

On August 20, a grand jury of nine white people and three black people convened to go over evidence presented by the St. Louis county prosecutor, to decide if there will be formal charges filed against the police officer. 

A lot of people in the black community in Ferguson do not trust the local investigation. but they do trust in the federal investigation that is being conducted by the Department of Justice and the FBI.   

The grand jury decision could take weeks. Until then, no one will have a complete picture of what transpired in Ferguson just before noon on August 9.

WATCH: Related video report by Chris Simkins

Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heali
X
August 25, 2014 10:26 AM
Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: alfredo ibarra barajas from: México
August 25, 2014 7:13 PM
It is so sad to see those people trying to bring life back to normal after the very sad killing of one of their community by a policeman. God might give them strenght to pull themselves together, and to make them understand that life does not end here, that life is the mos precious thing here on this earth, and after the crying must come the rejoicing because of the promised resurrection. We pray for them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid