Protests Pass Quietly in Ferguson a Night After Officers Shot

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A damn punk in Ferguson.

The Ferguson community has “come together” in outrage and disappointment a day after two officers were shot in a demonstration in front of the city Police Department, Missouri Sen. Two policemen were shot early Thursday in Ferguson, Missouri, in what one official called an ambush, hours after the city’s police chief resigned in the wake of a Justice Department report that accused the department of racially biased policing.EIGHT months after the fatal shooting of a local unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, tensions still simmer in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Claire McCaskill said Friday. “Many of the protest community have spoken out in very dramatic terms about how disappointed they are that some thug would come to a peaceful protest site and commit a violent criminal act like this against police officers who are doing their jobs,” she said, echoing Attorney General Eric Holder, who called the at-large perpetrator, a “damn punk.” The shootings came the morning after the town’s chief of police, Thomas Jackson, resigned following a Department of Justice report that found widespread racial bias among the city’s police.—Investigations continued Friday in the shooting of two police officers after protests lasted only a few hours the night before as rain, activist organization and police tactics defused tensions.

Louis-area police officers were wounded by gunfire less than 24 hours earlier, police and protesters engaged in a long evening of stare-downs and posturing late Thursday. A few hundred protesters gathered peacefully outside the police department and no fights broke out, as they had before the shootings, according to the Associated Press. Everyone from the parents of Michael Brown, the black teenager whose shooting by a Ferguson officer in the summer set off protests and a national debate over policing, to President Barack Obama condemned the violence.

Louis County police department, was shot in the shoulder, while the other, from the nearby town of Webster Groves, was shot in the face, with the bullet lodging behind his ear. The demonstrators were just about to pack up at around midnight when gun shots suddenly rang through the air, injuring two policemen who were part of a cordon of officers standing side-by-side to protect the police station. The AP reports that the two officers, who were released from the hospital Thursday, were the first shot in more than seven months of protests in Ferguson.

Jerry Lohr, a buzz-cut officer with tobacco in his cheek, was in charge of the police response, along with an officer from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. These shootings came a week after the DOJ released a report detailing how Ferguson officials used law enforcement to pad the city’s coffers and disproportionally targeted African-Americans with tickets, fines and arrest warrants. And that needs to be happening in many communities across this country.” McCaskill’s office said she was drafting legislation to address these issues, prioritizing federal resources for body cameras for police officers and providing more oversight of federal grant and equipment programs that critics claim have militarized the nation’s police force. He accepted their handshakes and reassurances, wearing, as he always does, a uniform without riot gear, and standing, as he always does, at ease instead of in lockstep. Lohr is known to some protesters as “Officer Friendly” for his ability and willingness to engage people one-on-one rather than immediately send in a helmeted line of officers to confront crowds. “The tactics may have changed a little bit,” Lt.

It was a return to the approach Lohr took when he was last sent to help with security here in October. “There is an added sense of unease due to the events of last night — on both sides,” he said as he stood with fellow officers behind him, facing the chanting crowd. He would not confirm media reports that two men and a woman were led away.’This is really an ambush’ “This is really an ambush, is what it is,” said Chief Jon Belmar of the St.

In this poor, small city the entire police force of 26 was disbanded because of intolerable tensions between the largely white police force and the largely black community. (Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown in August coincidentally started his career in the Jennings police force.) In most cases when a city is under federal investigation for its law-enforcement methods, the local police tries to mends its ways. Yesterday Seattle announced that it will replace four of its five top cops in an effort to meet DOJ recommendations as part of an investigation of its policing practices that started four years ago. Officers watched in silence at “standoff distance” — farther from protesters, and in a less militaristic posture, than during previous confrontations. Eric Holder, the attorney general, acknowledged that Ferguson has made “good faith steps” since the release of the DOJ report last week, though he says the city still has a long way to go. Lohr’s calm response, Ferguson faced a volatile protest situation with activists and riot gear-clad police facing off in the street after the city’s police chief, Thomas Jackson, announced his resignation.

Yesterday’s shooting was a setback. “This was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord in an area that’s trying to get its act together and trying to bring together a community that has been fractured for too long,” said Mr Holder. But when others stayed in the middle of the street, he shook his head and walked back to the parking lot. “These people don’t want to hurt you,” Nevels told Lohr. “We feel bad about what happened to those officers.

But the people who shot them were up the hill, not part of who we are.” Lohr nodded and said he was doing his best to keep the peace and maintain an open dialogue with the community. Witnesses say the shots came from well behind the crowd and were likely from someone or people acting on their own and not associated with the bulk of protesters. “Overall, tonight went pretty well,” said Lt. The report by the Justice Department criticized the Ferguson police department of bias against the city’s black majority, including arbitrary traffic stops, arrests and tickets. Police made a conscious decision to be non-confrontational and to keep a “standoff” distance between officers and protesters, he said. “The strategy was to protect peoples’ 1st Amendment rights to peacefully protest while also protecting these officers so that they can perform their jobs,” he said. Claire McCaskill told NBC’s Today show Friday that the shooting highlights “a disconnect between some communities in this country and law enforcement. . . .

We ask our residents and clergy in this area to partner with us as we make our way through this process.” The calls for healing and reconciliation weren’t received favorably by all. Brown’s August shooting by former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson prompted protests locally and across the nation, and tensions escalated in November after a county grand jury declined to prosecute Wilson.

Mayor James Knowles III also said Wednesday the city had reached a mutual separation agreement with Jackson that will pay Jackson one year of his nearly $96,000 annual salary and health coverage.

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