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Shooting in Ferguson Sparks Riots

Graphic by: McKenna '14
Graphic by: McKenna ’14

On Saturday, Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, MO. Although the exact chain of events leading up to the shooting is unclear, witnesses agree that the altercation began with Brown leaning through the window of Wilson’s patrol car. Wilson’s gun went off while Brown was still in the aforementioned position, but as Brown began to run away, Wilson got out of his car and shot at him. When Brown stopped and turned around, Wilson fired the shots that killed the teenager. Of the six bullets that struck Brown, one at the apex of his head suggests that he was bent over, perhaps trying to surrender, when he was killed.

Following the incident, Ferguson residents began protesting, “angered at what they say was an overreaction by the officer,” according to CBS News. Wilson’s case will, in fact, be presented to a grand jury. The protests have taken place ever since in cities nationwide, including New York City, Oakland and Washington, D.C.

The violent protests have turned into large riots against the police. The riots have escalated to involving people who have travelled from cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Brooklyn. Now the battle is for justice in these people’s eyes.

“We are jobless men, and this is our job now—getting justice,” a 27-year-old who traveled from Chicago said to the Washington Post, “If that means violence, that’s okay by me. They’ve been doing this to us for years.”

The shooting incident has opened doors to a whole class of people, largely African Americans of a lower socioeconomic status, distrusting of white law enforcers in their neighborhoods whose actions have caused uprisings across the nation.

Both protesters and reporters have utilized social media to convey their respective messages to the public re the Brown case and the nationwide anti- police movement.

On Sept. 25, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released a video apologizing to the Brown family for their son’s death. Brown’s parents were “unmoved by the apology,” according to NBC News.

“I don’t want words. I want action,” Brown’s mother said.