Tensions erupted into repeat clashes with police over the weekend as Ferguson, MO residents continued to protest the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
On Friday, when police clarified what happened at the shooting there was anger in the people of Ferguson, MO and all over the United States. NBC News reported that “The police also revealed that the teenager, Michael Brown, was suspected of stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store and assaulting a clerk minutes before he was shot to death.” After refusing to release the name of the officer that shot Brown, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Johnson announced the officer as Darren Wilson.
However, Police Chief Johnson also said that Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect and the he stopped Brown and his friend because they were in the middle of the street blocking traffic.
Brown’s family, who are grieving for their loss, released a statement about the horrible incident, stating, “There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.”
Thousands of supporters have poured out into the streets of many different cities all across the United States. In New York, mourners gathered in Union Square park and Times Square for protest vigils for Michael Brown. Chants like “hands up, don’t shoot” and “I cant breathe,” directed towards the illegal chokehold death of Eric Garner. These demonstrations also included reports of clashes with police. The protests also took place in cities like Chicago and Pittsburg as well.
On Wednesday August 13, police responded to the crowd’s uproars and protests by gearing up in military-style armor and sitting atop armored vehicles. There were also police who threw tear gas into crowds of demonstrators and arrested two reporters. While there has been major uproar in the city of Ferguson, soon after President Barack Obama weighed in by form of a written statement, encouraging both the protestors and police to clam down, things had been looking better according to Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who says things had calmed down simply because of the communication between law enforcement and the public. This changed Sunday night in the midst of a gubernatorial-mandated curfew. Hours before the curfew took effect, police advanced on demonstrators, citing reports of gunshots and attacks against police. Journalists, corralled into designated zones by police, were unable to confirm these reports.
Late Sunday night, The New York Times revealed that a private autopsy revealed Brown was shot at least six times, including at least twice in the head. Early Monday morning, Governor Nixon announced the National Guard would be called in to better monitor and handle the swelling situation in Ferguson.