Saturday, August 23, 2014
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Tensions that flared after a police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown have started to ease. Here's a look at key elements of the Aug. 9 shooting and the unrest that followed in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson:
THE LATEST: The St. Louis County NAACP held an afternoon youth-led march Saturday in Ferguson. A diverse group of marchers, including police officials, gathered peacefully. Earlier in the day, a moment of silence was observed at the first home football game at the school Brown attended. In St. Louis, supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, held a rally.
THE SHOOTING: Police have said Wilson was pushed into his squad car, then physically assaulted during a struggle over his weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. Brown was unarmed.
His friend, Dorian Johnson, has told reporters that the officer ordered him and Brown out of the street, then tried to open his door so close to the pair that it "ricocheted" back, apparently upsetting the officer. Johnson said the officer grabbed Brown's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times. Johnson and another witness said Brown had his hands raised when the officer fired.
THE PROTESTS: Shortly after Brown's death, protesters started gathering nightly, with some of the demonstrations resulting in looting and property damage. Police sometimes used tear gas and smoke bombs, and some people hurled rocks and bottles at officers. The protesters often chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot." But things have been calmer in recent days and evening protests have been largely peaceful. The National Guard, which was called in to keep order, has left.
THE INVESTIGATION: At the request of Ferguson police, Brown's death is being investigated by St. Louis County police. The FBI also has opened an investigation into possible civil rights violations. St. Louis County prosecutors this week convened a grand jury to begin hearing evidence in the case, despite concerns among some in the community — including Brown's parents — that the office would not be impartial because of District Attorney Bob McCulloch's ties to law enforcement. McCulloch's father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect. He has said he will not remove himself from the case.