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Ferguson protests: US state of Missouri deploys National Guard as protests escalate over shooting of Michael Brown

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 - 1:47pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk

  • Reuters

What started out as a protest against the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, 18-year-old Michael Brown, has now escalated into a violent altercation between the protesters and the state police in the US state of Missouri. The police have resorted to the use of extreme crowd control measures, including tear gas and rubber bullets, drawing severe criticism from the international community that has also started debates over the "millitarisation of the US police".

The police for a long time did not even release the shooter's name, citing security concerns and death threats, which further provoked the racially charged protests. Brown's family and supporters have demanded for days that the officer who shot Brown be held accountable. United States President Barack Obama has promised a full investigation by the US Department of Justice into the case, which has provoked outrage in the largely African-American town of Ferguson.

Michael Brown shooting incident
Eighteen-year-old Brown, who was black, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. According to reports, Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking to Brown's grandmother's house, after having stolen a box of cigars. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson drove up to them and ordered them to move off the street and onto the sidewalk. An altercation ensued and a shot was fired from within Wilson's police vehicle, after which Brown and Johnson began to flee. Wilson left his vehicle and pursued them, then fired an unspecified number of shots, fatally wounding Brown. Brown died approximately 35 feet (11 m) from the police cruiser in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive.

According to CNN correspondent Ana Cabrera, documents show that less than three minutes passed from the time that Wilson encountered Brown to the time of Brown's death. A preliminary autopsy performed at the request of Brown's family concluded that Brown had been shot at least six times. Four of the bullets entered his right arm from the front, one entered his right eye on a downward trajectory, and one entered the top of the skull. Brown was shot six times, four shots in the right arm and two shots in the head. All of the shots occurred in front, which disputed multiple witness accounts that Brown was shot in the back as he was running away.

Other law enforcement agencies have criticised the Ferguson police department for trying to make the alleged robbery an issue connected to the shooting, and for releasing a video from inside the store that shows Brown violently shoving a store clerk before he walks out the door.

ALSO READ: Militarisation of US police? Tweets, Instagram posts from Ferguson protests over Michael Brown shooting reveal a grim picture

Police version
The police version of Brown's shooting differs markedly from witness accounts, including that of the friend who was walking with Brown at the time, Dorian Johnson, 22. In the police version, after Wilson asked Brown to move out of the road onto a sidewalk, Brown reached into the patrol car and struggled with Wilson for the officer's service gun. Wilson, who sustained a facial injury, then shot Brown a number of times. Johnson and at least one other witness have said the officer reached out through his car window to grab at Brown and the teenager was trying to get away from the officer when he was shot. Brown held up his hands in a sign of surrender but the officer got out of his patrol car and shot Brown several times, they said.

Ensuing protests
The case has garnered international attention with the intense protests that have followed since the death of the teenager. For African American US citizens, this incidence highlights the ongoing plight of racial discrimination in the country. 

Authorities have now imposed a midnight curfew for the second night a row in the tense St. Louis suburb. Police in Ferguson are also firing several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters at demonstrations. Clouds of smoke lingered above an area hit with police tear gas police as the crowd of some 350 protesters scattered off into side streets and into cars. Two journalists, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J Reilly of Huffington Post, were arrested on Wednesday, and then released, while working in the area, Reuters reports have suggested.

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Evoking Trayvon Martin
The incidents has been compared to the shooting of another unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin that saw a strong response from many including President Obama, who went so far as to say that Martin could have been him. However, the accused George Zimmerman was acquitted in the Martin murder case.

Latest updates

14:33 IST Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Police come under "heavy gunfire" in racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri
Police came under "heavy gunfire" and 31 people were arrested, authorities said on Tuesday, in racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman 10 days ago. "Not a single bullet was fired by officers despite coming under heavy attack (on Monday night)," State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told a news conference, adding that police had confiscated two guns from protesters. Read more

13:27 IST Monday, 18 August 2014

Missouri governor lifts Ferguson curfew
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon lifted the curfew for the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Monday and began deploying National Guard troops to help quell days of rioting and looting spurred by the fatal shooting of a black unarmed teenager by a white policeman. Nixon, who had declared a state of emergency for the town on Saturday and ordered that the streets be cleared for a curfew that ran from midnight to 5 a.m., said the National Guard would fall under the supervision of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Read more

Missouri governor sends in National Guard after shooting protests
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard on Monday to help restore peace to the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, hours after police fired tear gas to disperse people protesting against the shooting of a black teenager by an officer. "Tonight, a day of hope, prayers and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organised and growing number of individuals," Nixon said in a statement on his website. As a result, Nixon said, he was directing the National Guard to help "in restoring peace and order to this community." Read more

Ferguson killing: Autopsy finds unarmed teen Michael Brown killed by police was shot six times
A preliminary private autopsy report found that Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a police officer in the suburban St. Louis city of Ferguson, was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported on Sunday night. Citing Dr Michael M Baden, former chief medical examiner for the City of New York who was asked to perform the autopsy by Brown's family, the newspaper reported that Brown, 18, was shot twice in the head, and that the bullets that hit him did not appear to have been fired from very close range. Read more 

Curfew reimposed in US' Ferguson after black teen's death; police fire smoke canisters at protestors, media
Authorities on Sunday imposed a midnight curfew for the second night a row in the tense St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot to death last week by police. They blocked off at least one street to vehicle traffic before the sun had even set. The move came as scores of protesters had already begun gathering along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, the site of ongoing protests as well as violence and looting since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death on August 9. Read more

13:29 IST Monday, 17 August 2014

Missouri governor declares emergency, sets curfew in Ferguson; demonstrators turn violent
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson on Saturday, trying to restore order after a week of racially charged protests and looting over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. The curfew will run midnight until 5 am until further notice, said Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson. Johnson was named by the governor this week to oversee security in the suburban St. Louis community that has been roiled by the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Read more 

13:31 IST Monday, 15 August 2014

Missouri takes control of security away from Ferguson police after US teen Michael Brown's death
Missouri's governor moved to ease tensions on Thursday after days of racially charged protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, putting the African-American captain of the Highway Patrol in charge of security in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Captain Ron Johnson, who grew up in Ferguson, told reporters he would take a "different approach" to policing after complaints that officers used heavy-handed tactics, arresting dozens of protesters and using teargas and pepper pellets to break up crowds. Read more 

13:33 IST Monday, 14 August 2014

After death of black Missouri teen Michael Brown, UN experts grill US on racial discrimination
United Nations experts grilled US officials on Wednesday about what they said was persistent racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities in jobs, housing, education and the criminal justice system. "Stand Your Ground" laws, a controversial self-defence law in some 22 US states, use of force by police against migrants, and FBI racial profiling were also raised by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Read more 

Death of black US teen Michael Brown: More unrest in Missouri, police fire tear gas
Police in Ferguson, Missouri, United States, fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters late on Wednesday, on the fourth night of demonstrations over the fatal shooting last weekend of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. Clouds of smoke lingered above an area hit with police tear gas police as the crowd of some 350 protesters scattered off into side streets and into cars. Someone from the crowd appeared to throw an object at police. Read more

13:35 IST Monday, 13 August 2014

US President Barack Obama calls police shooting death of black teenager tragic, urges reflection
United States President Barack Obama called the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager a tragedy and called on Tuesday for thoughtful response after two nights of violent protests, looting, arrests and tear gas in a St. Louis suburb. He promised a full investigation by the US Department of Justice into the case, which has provoked outrage in the largely African-American town of Ferguson where police have not released the shooter's name, citing security concerns and death threats. Read more 

Father of black US teen shot dead by police calls for peace after riots
The father of an unarmed black teenager who was shot to death by police over the weekend in a St. Louis suburb made another plea on Tuesday for an end to the violence that has followed the incident, while activists demanded authorities release the name of the officer involved. Standing with supporters, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, the father of 18-year-old Michael Brown said he wanted justice for his son but wanted it "the right way." "I need all of us to come together and do this right, the right way," said Michael Brown Sr., who wore a T-shirt showing his son's baby picture. "No violence." Read more 

First published on August 18,2014

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