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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs