Metro-East News

August 15, 2014

Protesters upset with release of surveillance video

The mood of some of the protesters changed Friday after Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released a surveillance video of a man who looks like Michael Brown reaching behind a counter of a local convenience store snatching a box of cigarillos and then putting his hands around the clerk's neck when the clerk approached.

Carl Walter, 38, said he has seven boys and he's concerned for their safety and his own, too. He said Officer Darren Wilson's fatal shooting of Brown on Aug. 9 is not justified even though Brown may have stolen cigars from the store shortly before the shooting.

"This is the United States of America. We have a judicial system set up to deal with him. He has a right to a trial and to be judged by a jury of his peers," he said.

"My son was very close friends with Mike Brown. He saw him a couple of days before this happened. That officer is not the judge, jury and executioner. There is not enough being done to protect the citizens from the police."

Michelle Foster said when she heard that an 18-year-old had been shot and killed by police, her immediate thoughts were "Oh, my God. Not again."

"So many police get away with killing us because of stereotypes. It should be about solving the crime."

"They always say the suspect was reaching for my gun, or I felt threatened, or he tried to attack me," Foster said.

Foster's 14-year-old son is 6-feet tall. "They must stop justifying the killing of black boys and men by police," she said.

Foster said the protesters were out in big numbers because "we're hurt. And, for the first time we can express ourselves. We have hundreds of years of wounds."

She also said that her son is into the hip hop dress style, but he is not a thug or bad guy.

Tamika Burnett talked about how she and her daughter were outside one evening having an argument and a Ferguson police officer drove up and told her to "Shut the (expletive) up."

"That was disrespectful. If he wanted to know what was going on, he would have talked to me like a human being talks to another human being. My daughter and I went into the house. They talk to you any kind of way. That's not right. That's why so many people don't trust them."

Over and over young black men talked about the distrust they feel for the police who are sworn to protect and serve them.

Many people said they are glad the protesters are remaining steady in number and strong. Even when there was extreme tension in the air between police and protesters, the protesters refused to back down.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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