Ferguson Leaders Ask Protesters To Stay Home Tuesday Night
FERGUSON, Mo. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ferguson’s leaders urged residents Tuesday to stay home after dark to “allow peace to settle in” and pledged several actions to reconnect with the predominantly black community in the St. Louis suburb where the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown has sparked nightly clashes between protesters and police.
According to a statement from the city, Ferguson’s mayor, City Council and other employees have been exploring how to increase the number of African-American applicants to the law enforcement academy, develop incentive programs to encourage city residency for police officers and raise funds for cameras that would be attached to patrol car dashboards and officers’ vests.
“We plan to learn from this tragedy, as we further provide for the safety of our residents and businesses and progress our community through reconciliation and healing,” the leaders said in the statement Tuesday.
But as CBS 2′s Dick Brennan reported, National Guard troops are on alert, and once again authorities are concerned about what might happen when the sun goes down.
Seventy-eight people were arrested overnight as peaceful protests turned violent, CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider reported. Police say people in the crowd fired guns at officers and threw Molotov cocktails, bottles and batteries, and set fires to buildings.
Police say two people were shot, but not by officers.
On Tuesday, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, called for calm.
“We have to remain focused, and we have to remain strong, and the violence needs to stop,” McSpadden said in a TV interview. “When justice has prevailed, then maybe they’ll regain their trust in the locals, but right now it’s really out of control.”
Many Ferguson residents say outsiders, some from as far away as New York, are the ones causing the trouble.
“Those are the people who are just coming for that purpose, to steal,” one man said. “They’re taking advantage of the situation, and that’s not right.”
“I’ve never experienced nothing like this, and I’ve seen unrest around the world,” said Ferguson resident Walter Rice. “But I never thought it would be here in my hometown.”
The unrest has also taken its toll on local merchants in Ferguson.
One beauty supply store was broken into and looted twice in one week.
“We’re going to board it up,” said Seretha Alfred, assistant manager of Feel Beauty Supply. “We’re not going to open back up. It’s going to be gone.”
Funeral services for Brown are planned for Monday. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, says the exact time and location for the memorial have not been finalized.
Meanwhile Tuesday, St. Louis police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man after a reported convenience store robbery, authorities said. The shooting, which prompted a large crowd to gather at the site, happened just a few miles from Ferguson.
Police Capt. Ed Kuntz said officers responded after a report of a robbery at the store. The suspect had a knife and refused to drop the weapon, police said.
Police Chief Sam Dotson said the man was acting erratically and told responding officers to “shoot me now, kill me now.”
Kuntz said officers opened fire when the man, who was black, raised the knife and moved toward them.
Monday night’s clashes in Ferguson came after a day in which a pathologist hired by the Brown family said the unarmed black teenager suffered a bullet wound to his right arm that may indicate his hands were up or his back was turned. But the pathologist said the team that examined Brown cannot be sure yet exactly how the wounds were inflicted until they have more information.
Witnesses have said Brown’s hands were above his head when he was repeatedly shot by an officer Aug. 9.
Gov. Christie was asked at a town hall meeting Tuesday about the militarization of police in New Jersey in light of protests in Missouri following the shooting death of an unarmed teen.
Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, cautioned against drawing conclusions or generalizations. And he said politicians who weigh in now are just trying to get their names in the newspaper.
He also accused news anchors of making a “spectacle” out of the situation.
Christie praised the nation’s justice system as the best in the world and said most police officers are good.
The independent autopsy determined that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, the family’s lawyers and hired pathologists said.
The St. Louis County medical examiner’s autopsy found that Brown was shot six to eight times in the head and chest, office administrator Suzanne McCune said Monday. But she declined to comment further, saying the full findings were not expected for about two weeks.
A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should be charged in Brown’s death, said Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County’s prosecuting attorney.
A third autopsy was performed Monday for the Justice Department by one of the military’s most experienced medical examiners, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Holder is scheduled to travel to Ferguson Wednesday to meet with the 40 FBI officers and other officials carrying out an independent federal investigation into Brown’s death.
The Justice Department has mounted an unusually swift and aggressive response to Brown’s death, from the independent autopsy to dozens of FBI agents combing Ferguson for witnesses to the shooting.
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