NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is planning a rally later this month to protest the death of a Staten Island man in police custody, is now in Missouri where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by police over the weekend.
Sharpton said he would be meeting with the parents of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Tuesday as tensions remained high in a St. Louis suburb even amid calls for collective calm.
Brown, who was unarmed, was shot Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street.
Authorities were vague about exactly what led the officer to open fire, except to say that the shooting was preceded by a scuffle of some kind. It was unclear whether Brown or a man he was with was involved in the altercation.
At some point during that altercation, the officer’s weapon discharged inside a patrol car. Two witnesses who said they saw the shooting reported that Brown was on the street with his hands raised when the officer fired at him repeatedly.
Investigators have refused to publicly disclose the race of the officer, who is now on administrative leave. But Phillip Walker said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot and saw a white officer with Brown on the street.
Walker said that he did not see a scuffle or the circumstances that preceded the first gunshot.
On two consecutive nights, crowds have gathered to protest Brown’s death.
Nearly three dozen people were arrested following a candlelight vigil Sunday night after crowds looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles, assaulted and threatened reporters and taunted officers who tried to block access to parts of the city.
On Monday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said a large crowd that gathered at the site of a burned-out convenience store turned rowdy at nightfall, throwing rocks at police. Officers used tear gas and shot “beanbag rounds” meant to stun them, he said.
Dozens of officers patrolled the streets until the early Tuesday morning, but residents promise to continue the protests.
The unrest came despite calls for calm from Brown’s parents. His family, who had planned to drop him off at a technical college Monday to begin his studies, have asked people to share any information and videos they might have related to the shooting.
National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks has also implored residents to “turn your anger into action” while condemning the violent response to Brown’s death.
“To sneak around under the cover of darkness, to steal, to loot, to burn down your neighborhood, this does not require courage,” he said. “Courage is when you strive for justice.”
The U.S. Justice Department has announced that its civil rights division was opening an investigation, and Brown’s family retained the same lawyer who had represented relatives of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed in a racially charged 2012 shooting.
The FBI has also opened an investigation into Brown’s death, looking into possible civil rights violations.
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