Prayers and protests in Missouri for anniversary of police shooting

9 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Father of Michael Brown says family still mourning one year later.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) – One year after the shooting that cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities, the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, will be marked with a somber march and a moment of silence.

Ferguson, United States: Several hundred people marched on Saturday in Ferguson to mark the first anniversary of the police shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, which shone a spotlight on race relations in America. The march late Sunday morning begins at the site where Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Led by Brown’s father, also named Michael, and the rest of his family, the crowd worked its way along one of the avenues hit by fierce rioting last November when a court decided not to indict the white officer who shot 18-year-old Brown. The daytime rally ahead of Sunday’s anniversary was peaceful and boisterous, with a children’s marching band bringing up the rear of the parade, but protesters appeared more confrontational later in the evening, with several jumping over a police barricade and facing off with police officers. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November, but the shooting touched off a national “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Brown said his family is still grieving, but he believes his son’s legacy can be seen in the increased awareness of police shootings, and renewed skepticism when officers describe their side of events leading up to those shootings. Some people who marched in the Saturday parade wore T-shirts with likenesses of Brown or messages such as “Please stop killing us” or “Hands up! The riots that erupted in Ferguson spread to other US cities and energised debate on how white police in America treat blacks, especially young black men, particularly when it comes to the use of lethal force. A string of police killings of black suspects since the shooting has triggered an outpouring of anger at perceived police racism and prompted calls for change. Another shooting gaining national scrutiny took place early on Friday, when a police officer in Texas fatally shot 19-year-old college football player Christian Taylor after an incident during which he drove his vehicle through the front of a car dealership. “As officers confronted the suspect, there was an altercation during which at least one officer discharged his weapon,” the Arlington Texas police department said in a statement.

But the focus of the weekend is largely on Brown, who graduated from high school weeks before the shooting and planned to go to trade school to study to become a heating and air conditioning technician. But in a separate report, the Justice Department cited racial bias and profiling in policing as well as a profit-driven municipal court system that often targeted black residents, who make up about two-thirds of Ferguson’s populace.

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