News / USA

Protesters, Police Clash in Ferguson, Missouri

  • Police advance to clear the crowds during a protest for Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Police officers detain a demonstrator during the protest of Michael Brown's shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • A man tries to recover after being treated for tear gas exposure, Ferguson, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • A man is lead away after being detained by police, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Demonstrators march through the streets in protest of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Brown family attorney Daryl Parks points to an autopsy diagram of the head wound that was likely the fatal shot that killed Michael Brown, during a news conference, Ferguson, Missouri Aug. 18, 2014.
  • A man participates in a protest for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
VOA News

Protesters and police clashed overnight in the central U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri, amid tensions linked to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

Police fired stun grenades and tear gas at crowds on the streets of Ferguson, which had descended into chaos following peaceful protests.  Firebombs and bottles were thrown in the direction of heavily armored police.

Rapper Nelly joined the march Monday night, hours before police said they came under heavy gunfire and arrested 31 people during another night of racially charged protests.

Nelly, a native of the St. Louis area near Ferguson, wore a t-shirt printed with #MikeBrown as he marched the streets with protesters who carried bullhorns and signs with messages such as "Stop Killing Us''.

The violence has captured headlines around the world, raising questions
about the state of U.S. race relations nearly six years after Americans elected their first black president.

Curfew imposed

An overnight curfew has been imposed and the National Guard, has been deployed in the St. Louis suburb of 21,000 people to stop looting and burning that have punctuated the protests.  The troops arrived earlier Monday at the request of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, to bolster police forces following days of violent protests.

National Guard troops could be seen on the fringes of the gathering. 

State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, told reporters early Tuesday that police came under heavy attack but did not fire a shot.  He said two people were wounded by shots fired from within the crowd of protesters.  Many demonstrators seemed to be defying orders from police to disperse, and Johnson said 31 people were arrested.

He noted that most of the protesters were peaceful, but that a small minority of people turned the demonstrations violent.  He said officials will not let "criminals" define the community of Ferguson.

"But anyone who has been at these protests understands that there is a dangerous dynamic during the night. It allows a small number of violent agitators to hide in the crowd and then attempt to create chaos," Johnson said. "The catalyst can be bottles thrown, Molotov cocktails, and of course shots fired. Protesters are peaceful and respectful. Protesters don't clash with police. They don't throw Molotov cocktails. It is criminals who throw Molotov cocktails and fire shots that endangers lives and property."

The standoff occurred near the street where Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by a local police officer on August 9. 

The latest clashes appeared to be less intense than those between police and demonstrators late Sunday, when police in body armor and gas masks, accompanied by armored vehicles, fired tear gas at protesters marching toward them. Police said at least two of the protesters were wounded by shots fired from within a crowd of demonstrators.

Independent autopsy results

The Brown family's attorney Daryl Parks speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy done on 18-year-old Michael Brown, in St. Louis County, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.The Brown family's attorney Daryl Parks speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy done on 18-year-old Michael Brown, in St. Louis County, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
The Brown family's attorney Daryl Parks speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy done on 18-year-old Michael Brown, in St. Louis County, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.
The Brown family's attorney Daryl Parks speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy done on 18-year-old Michael Brown, in St. Louis County, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.

An autopsy conducted on behalf of Brown's family showed he was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. The path of one bullet indicates he may have been lowering his head in surrender when the fatal shot hit, according to Brown family attorney Daryl Parks.

According to police, the officer involved in the shooting said he fired initially after Brown reached into his police car.

Parks told a news conference one bullet hit Brown in the very top of his head and another shattered his right eye.

"His head was in a downward position,'' Parks said. "Given those kind of facts, this officer should have been arrested,'' Parks said.

There were no signs of struggle with the officer and no gunshot residue on the body.

Darren Wilson, 28, the officer who shot Brown as the teenager was walking through a Ferguson residential neighborhood  with a friend, was put on paid administrative leave and is in hiding.

Edward Magee, a spokesman for the St. Louis County prosecutor's office, said the case could be presented this week to a grand jury, which will decide whether Wilson will be indicted.

Holder to arrive Wednesday

On Monday, President Barack Obama said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to get an update on the federal probe into the shooting death of the black teenager, 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Obama said Holder will meet with Department of Justice and FBI officials on the federal, independent civil rights investigation into the August 9 killing of Brown. Holder will also meet with community leaders on efforts to restore peace and calm to the town outside the city of St. Louis.

The president said while a vast majority of people are protesting peacefully, he urged the "small minority" of demonstrators to "not give into anger by looting or carrying guns or attacking police." Obama said such actions only serve to heighten tensions and chaos and undermine "rather than advance justice."  He also said "there is no excuse for excessive force by police" or any action that denies the rights of those peacefully protesting.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on authorities in Ferguson to use restraint and uphold the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

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Comment Sorting
August 19, 2014 9:19 PM
All clear thinking people agree that this is a sad story and the people have a right to be "concerned", however this rioting, looting, violence and other criminal actions has to be stopped now!
When you assess criminal statistics in the United States everyday there are approximately 34,000 people who get arrested for a variety of crimes, most being violent and most offenders are young black males! Almost 40% of black males are in some phase of the correctional system here in the USA! That's an appalling figure, but you'll never hear that from the NY Times... Yearly, there are approximately 400 police shootings, which is relatively low when you compare the nature(s) of the crimes. The majority of crimes in the USA are committed by blacks. Young black males shoot and kill people (most victims being other young black males) everyday here in the United States, but the ultra-liberal media never addresses these statistics because they're afraid of being labeled a racist, when in actuality it's the TRUTH! Nearly every black community in the United States is unstable with high crime rates. Black Americans and others need to let the justice system play out and stop this violent rioting, as it's opportunism at it's worst.
Blacks in the United States have it better than any other country in the world, relative to income, life-style, and federal income assistance. It would be interesting to see how the Chinese communist government would handle these people who have decided to dedicate this shooting into an opportunity to commit crimes and cause destruction.
The rioters/criminals clearly have no sense of civics, community, nationalism, or respect. There lawlessness speaks volumes and it's beyond disappointing to most Americans.

by: Wanxia Liao from: Toronto
August 19, 2014 2:02 PM
Being racially persecuted by the US and Canada are not only Blacks, but also other racial minorities like me, a Chinese. I successfully challenged a White supremacy theory at University of Toronto, got retaliated, complained to a human rights commission, the commission forced me to testify under the testimony requirement of Canadian law. I was then charged and convicted for my testimony for “threats”, contrary to the testimony immunity provided by that law. The Commission did so in conspiracy with the U of T, and U of California. I lost everything in life for it. Then the civil courts in US and Canada joined the oppression, covered up all the true crimes against me. Google my name.

by: Daniel Phelan
August 19, 2014 1:40 PM
Officer Wilson displayed terrible judgement at minimum. Michael was not being arrested at the time of his killing. He was just being asked to get out of the street. He was shot 6 times, (twice in the face) over it. Michael did not steal anything from the store. The store clerk never called the police. I hope this cop suffers for the rest of his life for what he did.

There are holes in the Ferguson Police Dept narrative being disseminated. The Ferguson Police Dept is terribly cynical for trying to show some connection in justifying a shooting of an unarmed citizen to a robbery that never happened. I agree that this was an attempt at character assassination. We need to stop tragedies like these. Thankfully violent crime in our country is on the decline. Violence against the police is on the decline. What about violence perpetrated by police?

Here is a sensible solution to this problem: Police in Rialto, Calif, started wearing video cameras in February 2012. The results were astounding. The volume of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent compared with the year before. Use of force by police officers fell nearly 60 percent. Those are undeniable figures.

We should force every police officer to wear a camera. Every single one of them. Unfortunately, trust just isn't in the cards anymore. We have to force accountability, whether it be from the police or from the citizen.

by: Wanxia Liao from: Toronto
August 19, 2014 11:57 AM
I just read a Black scholar’s writing – The real looting of Ferguson is the legal looting of black people. I can’t agree more on this: “if they get a criminal record while unemployed, they will effectively be locked out from employment forever”. I am a live example on this, and, I am not a Black, but a Chinese. I’ve been criminalized and persecuted for challenging a White supremacy theory in a university, by the US and Canadian gov’t, and since then, I’ve been effectively locked out from employment forever, from a successful person to an unemployed, almost homeless today. If I had the power of the Black people, I would do the same thing. Go Black people!

by: Benjamin A from: Colorado
August 19, 2014 10:01 AM
I feel like some are trying to start a race war. But you know, we aren't as stupid as we may seem(the public).

by: Lou from: Atlanta
August 19, 2014 9:16 AM
Surprised it took this long for the powder keg to explode. Here in GA. there have been numerous murders like this one. And no one will forget the Kathryn Johnston murder. Cops are still doing time for that one!

by: DHH from: HWNB
August 19, 2014 7:17 AM
The fact that a leader of the New Black Panthers (renamed Black Lawyers for Justice) is working directly with authorities to control protesters is bizarre given that Shabazz has been characterized as a “racist black nationalist with a long, well-documented history of violently anti-Semitic remarks and accusations about the inherent evil of white people,” and is “particularly skilled at orchestrating provocative protests.”

The FBI also sent out an alert last week warning that New Black Panthers had arrived in the area and were “advocating violence against police.” Given the history of New Black Panther members working with federal authorities as informants, as well as the Justice Department’s protection of the group in the past, the role of Malik Shabazz in corralling protesters at the behest of police suggests that he is colluding with authorities to suppress the constitutional rights of demonstrators in Ferguson. But will VOA, do any truthful reporting? NO!
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 19, 2014 9:54 AM
Paul Watson co-founder of GreenPeace "quote" said it;.. "It doesn't matter what's true, it only matters what you want them to believe, is true."..... (FALSE DICHOTOMY).... "Where you make the lie sound true, and make the truth, sound like it's untrue." What's said in public in front of the news media, isn't what's said in private, when no news media is present, like in politics?

by: Lilu from: Ukraine
August 19, 2014 5:50 AM
USA is a great country and respects the rights of all its citizens,black or white.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 19, 2014 10:21 AM
America is the greatest country on earth, but as US President Barack Obama once "quote" said on June 05,2007;.. Black 'Quiet Riots" have been building all across America, and these black "Quiet Riots" happen everyday.... (the blacks feel disenfranchised and left out of the American dream)...

by: Michael from: S-Pb
August 19, 2014 4:55 AM
If Russia does not will affect the rebels in Ferguson US government will introduce new sanctions!

by: Marya Wolffe from: Grid consign
August 19, 2014 4:51 AM
Fifty years ago our legislators passed the Civil Rights Act. Fast forward FIFTY YEARS...a young black man was shot SIX TIMES by a white police officer. I don't see the progress.
In Response

by: jeffrey
August 19, 2014 10:57 AM
you don't see progress Maria.
1960 Ferguson population 21000 98% white zero crime 2% AfroAm
1990 21300 75% 25% AA
2014 21195 24% crime ridden 73 %AA
I see big progress in Ferguson;There is no so big progress in Springfield,Mo, raise of AA is only 2 to 4 and we have real problem with no raise of crime here
Maria, could you tell me how many people on welfare and woman households with kids in Ferguson and Springfield,could you tell why thousands people are on Ferguson s streets in workday?Are they working over there? Or looking for jobs? If they are struggling racism ,let will go to Russia and they will know what does real racism and Nazism mean ! Let they ask about racism the Africans whom have live in Russia!

I don't believe the Ferguson crowds of the store looters are what about MLK and Rose Parks dreamed. Yes,the robber died and police .not crowds of looters and gang members should investigate the case... example last year a black gang murdered three white girls (14yo) in Oakland,CA ,for entertainment only -and no rallies,silence in media

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