FERGUSON, Mo. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Tensions continued to rise on Monday, after an unarmed St. Louis teenager was shot and killed by police.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the incident has sparked nationwide protests, including several in the Tri-State area.
Dozens rallied outside of 1 Police Plaza and marched to City Hall on Monday night. A rally was also held in Times Square.
They said police brutality is more than just a Ferguson, Missouri problem.
“Ferguson is really showing us the way. They’re showing us how to stand up and really take control of the situation here. Because if the people of Ferguson stayed silent this wouldn’t be happening. The level of consciousness would not be at the peak it’s at right now,” protester Kris Lew said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday as the Department of Justice conducts an independent investigation into the shooting, President Barack Obama announced Monday.
Holder will meet with investigators from the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as community leaders, following the Aug. 9 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Obama said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, the president also made an appeal for protesters not to resort to violence after several nights of unrest in the St. Louis suburb.
“We have all seen images of protesters and law enforcement in the streets,” Obama said. “It’s clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What’s also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not.
“While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines, rather than advancing, justice.”
Obama also weighed in on the controversy about militarizing local police officers around the country. He said while many local police departments understandably felt they needed more equipment and resources following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a review of how federal funding for police supplies has been used is warranted.
“There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred,” Obama said.
As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, Obama’s comments came as new witnesses came forward. Piaget Crenshaw videotaped the shooting aftermath, and she said she first saw Michael Brown running away from Officer Darren Wilson – and then Brown turned toward him.
She said that was when the officer opened fire.
“OK, from it all initially happening I knew this was not right,” Crenshaw said. “I knew the police shouldn’t even have been chasing this young boy and firing at the same time, and the fact that he got shot in the face, it was something that clicked in me, like — no, somebody else needs to see this. This isn’t right. I’ve got to record.”
Earlier Monday, the attorney for Brown’s family said a private autopsy confirms witness accounts that the teen was shot multiple times.
Lawyer Benjamin Crump said the independent autopsy shows Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. But he stressed that the report was preliminary.
The autopsy was conducted by former New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden.
Baden said one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he suffered that fatal injury. He said Brown was also shot four times in the right arm.
“All of these gunshot wounds were survivable except for the one at the top of the head that went to the brain,” Baden said.
Forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells, who assisted Baden, said a bullet graze wound on Brown’s right arm could have occurred in several ways.
The teen may have had his back to the shooter, or he could have been facing the shooter with his hands above his head or in a defensive position across his face or chest, Parcells said.
“But we don’t know,” he added. “We still have to look at other aspects of this investigation.”
Witnesses have said Brown had his hands raised above his head when he was repeatedly shot in a street.
Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on Brown’s body, indicating he was not shot at close range. However, Baden said he did not have access to Brown’s clothing and that it was possible the residue could be on the clothing.
Crump said the family wanted the additional autopsy because they feared results of the county’s examination could be biased. Crump declined to release copies of the report to the media, and the county’s autopsy report has not been released.
“They could not trust what was going to be put in the reports about the tragic execution of their child,” he said during Monday’s news conference with Parcells and Baden, who has testified in several high-profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
The second autopsy, Crump said, “verifies that the witness accounts were true: that he was shot multiple times.”
He said Brown’s mother “had the question any mother would have: Was my child in pain? Dr. Baden shared with her in his opinion, he did not suffer.”
Crump also noted that Brown had abrasions on his face from where he fell to the ground, but there was “otherwise no evidence of a struggle.”
Meanwhile, a St. Louis County autopsy found Brown was shot six to eight times.
County medical examiner’s office administrator Suzanne McCune said the autopsy showed Brown was hit in the head and chest. McCune would not confirm whether Brown was hit elsewhere on his body or discuss other details.
Full findings of the autopsy aren’t expected for about two weeks.
The Justice Department has ordered another autopsy of the teen by a federal medical examiner.
Mo. Governor Calls Of Curfew, Sends National Guard To Ferguson
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is lifting a curfew while ordering the National Guard to help restore order in Ferguson.
Nixon deployed the Guard Monday following a Sunday night clash between armored police and what he said was “a violent criminal element intent upon terrorizing the community.”
“These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served and to feel safe in their own homes,” Nixon said in a statement.
The neighborhood has been under a midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew the past two days, after Nixon declared a state of emergency. The governor says in a statement that the curfew is now lifted.
He says the Guard will be under the direction of the state Highway Patrol.
Sunday’s clashes in Ferguson erupted three hours before the curfew imposed by Nixon. Officers in riot gear ordered all the protesters to disperse and many did, but about 100 stood about two blocks away until getting hit by another volley of tear gas.
“Based on the conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of response,” said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is command in Ferguson. At least two people were wounded in shootings by civilians, he said.
Earlier in the day, Johnson said he had met members of Brown’s family and the experience “brought tears to my eyes and shame to my heart.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton also spoke Sunday at a rally in Ferguson. He called Brown’s death a “defining moment for this country.”
Sharpton said he wants Congress to stop programs that provide military-style weaponry to police departments. He said he expects police to “smear” the slain teenager, his family and his attorneys.
He also condemned the recent violence and looting in Ferguson.
The latest confrontations came on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown.
The “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding Brown’s death and a request by his family prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct a third autopsy, agency spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement. The examination was to take place as soon as possible, Fallon said.
The results of a state-performed autopsy would be taken into account along with the federal examination in the Justice Department’s ongoing civil rights investigation, Fallon said.
Ferguson police waited six days to publicly reveal the name of the officer and documents alleging Brown robbed a convenience store shortly before he was killed.
Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer did not know Brown was a robbery suspect when he encountered him walking in the street with a friend.
The officer who shot Brown has been identified as Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints against him.
Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, and the department has refused to comment on his whereabouts.
A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether Wilson should be charged in Brown’s death.
Prosecutors are expected to try to start presenting evidence in the regular once-a-week meeting day for the grand jury, though it’s unclear how long it may take, said Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County’s prosecuting attorney.
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