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Killing of unarmed Missouri man draws criticism

Police Shooting-Missouri

Protestors rally Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo. Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Brown died following a confrontation with police, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who spoke at a press conference Sunday. The protesters rallied in front of the police and fire departments in Ferguson following Belmar's press conference. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)

By
From page A4 | August 11, 2014 |

FERGUSON, Mo. — An 18-year-old black man shot multiple times by a suburban St. Louis police officer was unarmed when he died, police said Sunday, as hundreds of local residents protested and a civil rights leader expressed outrage at the killing.

Michael Brown had graduated from high school and was about to enter a local college, said his mother, Lesley McSpadden.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred after an officer encountered two people – one of whom was Brown – on the street near an apartment complex Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis.

Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car. It was not clear if Brown was the man who struggled with the officer.

The struggle spilled out into the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn’t known, but “it was more than just a couple.” He also said all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer’s gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.

Jackson said the second person has not been arrested or charged and was expected to be interviewed later Sunday. Authorities aren’t sure if that person was unarmed, Jackson said.

McSpadden said she doesn’t understand why police didn’t subdue her son with a club or Taser instead of shooting him, and she said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.

“I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty,” she said Sunday at the site of the shooting, fighting back tears.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, and they referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges, as well as the New York City man who died from a police chokehold.

“We’re outraged because yet again a young African-American man has been killed by law enforcement,” said John Gaskin, who serves on both the St. Louis County and national boards of directors for the NAACP.

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the shooting death “very disturbing” and the New York-based civil rights leader said he planned to go to Ferguson to meet with the family Monday night or Tuesday.

A few hundred protesters gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters about the time the news conference was to begin. At one point, many of them marched into an adjacent police building, some chanting “Don’t shoot me” while holding their hands in the air. Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn’t use force; the crowd eventually left.

Protesters outside chanted slogans – “No justice, no peace” and “We want answers” – and some carried signs that read “Stop police terrorism” and “Disarm the police.”

Critics have contended that police in the St. Louis area too often target young black men. Statistics on police-involved shootings in the region were not immediately available.

St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation. County Executive Charlie Dooley, who showed up at the protest Sunday to urge calm, said he will request an FBI investigation. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed attorneys in the department’s civil rights division to monitor developments.

The race of the police officer involved in the shooting has not been disclosed. He has been with the Ferguson Police Department for six years, Belmar said, noting he wasn’t aware of other issues involving the officer. He has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is a common procedure after police shootings.

Several protesters were angry that Brown’s body remained on the street for hours after the killing. Belmar said that officers “had to practice our due diligence and that’s why it took as long as it did.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 18 comments

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  • truth'nAugust 11, 2014 - 5:41 am

    Rioting and Looting did nothing to help this young man. Where were people to help this young man grow into a successful adult rather than one who attacks police? This is sad the whole way around.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 11, 2014 - 6:11 am

    There's nothing in this article about rioting and looting. What are you talking about?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TermiteAugust 11, 2014 - 6:36 am

    Rioting and looting erupted after the shooting, rlw895. The AP feed neglected to report on that. Do a little research before you blast away at others.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 11, 2014 - 6:51 am

    Cite your sources then if it's not in the article, as in "what are you talking about?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • gemmaAugust 11, 2014 - 8:37 am

    When I opened my laptop today, Yahoo had a post on the rioting and looting. I didn't click on it, but it showed a building with a broken window, and someone standing in the broken glass. Yahoo has an article called Rally after Mo shooting. I'm certain if you tried to find info on it, it wouldn't take you 5 seconds. Just google Missouri looting.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895August 11, 2014 - 11:27 pm

    gemma: I asked a simple question for clarification about the comment on the story as written. I'm willing to let the facts unfold before commenting further.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Random Anonymous comment from a similarly destructive pestAugust 11, 2014 - 7:25 am

    So have you been well sweetness?..... Had any fun lately?..... Go across the pond this summer?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Kerby V AcumenAugust 11, 2014 - 7:38 am

    Must be getting very messy at your house, those piles of sawdust and stripper glitter?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Alas, I do so flatter myself...August 11, 2014 - 9:14 am

    So you have really given up on the idea of getting me all liquored up on cheesecake and getting your leg over?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DumbassesAugust 11, 2014 - 6:30 am

    Truthn. Clearly says he graduated from high school and was soon to be attending college how is that unsuccessful? He wasn't carrying any weapons either so...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Larry WAugust 11, 2014 - 6:48 am

    When an armed police officer asks for you to do something I would suggest that you do it rather than fighting. Rioting and violence do nothing to improve the situation.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • truth'nAugust 11, 2014 - 10:33 am

    He committed battery on a law enforcement officer. Such a charming young man. He was armed with his fists and feet. AS for his heading off to college, yeah sure. We do not know that to be a fact, it was something someone said. I do not care if it correct or not, criminals can attend college. I do wish the young man had not died, but I also wish he had not be empowered by society to attack police officers. Sad all the way around.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 11, 2014 - 7:41 am

    From what I have read here and in other accounts, Mr. Brown and another man physically assaulted the police officer. That is just plain asking for it--armed or not. Let the hatred and race-baiting begin.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DumbassesAugust 11, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    From what I have read from eye witnesses the two boys were walking in the street the officer told them to get out the street of a neighborhood not a busy city street the boys told him the officer they were just walking to there destination, that's when the officer started shooting, the boys started running the officer jumped out the car chased and emptied 8 shell casings on the boy. How about you research eye witnesses instead of officers making stories to justify their actions

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Larry WAugust 11, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    Time will tell what actually happened but I would not be totally trusting in what the "eye witnesses" saw. I tend to distrust folks who riot and burn down things when they are upset.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • just a thoughtAugust 11, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    What you have read contradicts what the young man who was with Brown said in an interview on tv this afternoon. While sitting next to his lawyer he stated that 1) he saw no one other than Brown, the officer involved, and himself there....so how could there be eyewitnesses? 2) he said that he was close enough to both Brown and the officer when the shots were fired that he could touch them both and that he himself didn't run until he could clearly see Brown was dead, because as he said he has been around enough shootings the shots don't scare him.....so clearly Brown wasn't shot as he was fleeing. 3) when asked about Brown assaulting the officer he said Brown had not initially assaulted him, but then he quickly changed his story and said he never assaulted the officer. These words came right from Brown's friend in the presence of his lawyer so it's maybe easy to see that the whole minding our own business story will soon unravel as the truth comes out.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithAugust 11, 2014 - 9:43 pm

    Dumbasses: I'm sure there will be no lack of "eyewitnesses" in the town of Ferguson to proclaim the innocence of these "boys" as you describe them. However, it looks like the "eyewitness" closest to the shooting--Mr. Brown's buddy--might be the key to unraveling what actually happened. It will become even more interesting if the investigation gets to Holder's level.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rita GoldenAugust 12, 2014 - 12:19 am

    Just one more reason for those low life looters to take advantage of a situation, make it a racial thing and break store windows and steal. Makes me sick seeing them on the news running out of stores with stolen goods. They must be so proud of themselves. Oh, but don't get the wrong idea about them...yeah, we won't. We see just how low life you all are. Your actions show us all just how we should see you. Actions speak louder than words.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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