*Demanding that the officer who shot 17-year-old Mike “MikeMike” Brown be identified, charged and fired, hundreds of protestors stood in front of the Ferguson Police Department in St. Louis, Missouri on Monday with their arms in the air chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” This followed a vigil for the teen the night before, according to the L. A. Times.
Mike Brown was said to be visiting his grandmother a few days before he was scheduled to start college, when he was shot multiple times and killed by a police officer as he walked down the street with a friend.
There is still no clear motive for the shooting.
The vigil, which began peacefully, soon evolved into vandalism and looting.
As the chanting took place at the peaceful demonstration on Monday, where five people were arrested for not following police orders, a line of mostly white police officers stood guarding the station wearing riot gear. One of the demands from the protestors is that the police force reflect the demographic of the mostly African American community.
With regard to the violent protest the night before, 49-year-old Derek Laney, who traveled from a nearby suburb said the death of young black men has become an epidemic, and added that whatever Brown may have done “was not punishable by his execution on the streets.” This remark was also made by the victims mother.
Laney also commented on the violence that broke out at the vigil.
“People are angry, people are hurt, people are fed up. You have to direct it somewhere — and you can’t direct it at the people who made you angry because they’ll shoot you and kill you,” Laney said. “So they express it outward… I wouldn’t go out and smash things, I wouldn’t go out and burn things. But I understand why people do it.”
The protests continue as Jon Belmar, the St. Louis County Police Chief, commented to reporters that the FBI will conduct a parallel investigation to his county police investigation. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that he welcomed the move and called the Sunday night violence “a terrible tragedy… We want to heal. We want to build trust with the community.”
Words that, to many, must seem pretty worthless amidst the growing actions of police killings of African American youth and men in the news lately.
Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. has asked the Department of Justice’s civil rights attorneys to “monitor” the situation in Missouri to see whether the youth’s civil rights were violated either in his contact with local police or the shooting itself, federal law enforcement officials said.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.