State Of Emergency Declared As Ferguson Protestors Are Arrested & A Young Man Is Critically Shot On Anniversary Of Mike Brown’s Death
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s killing by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, and protesters across the country staged commemorative demonstrations emphasizing Black Lives Matter and calling for an end to state sanctioned violence against its citizens.
However, yesterday’s peaceful protest in Ferguson was disrupted when gunshots rang out near the city’s West Florissant Avenue, resulting in the critical injury of 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, who prosecutors then charged with 10 counts, including four counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer. Police say the shooting was unrelated to the protests, and that Harris was shot in self-defense, but it’s understandable why many aren’t in a rush to buy what Ferguson P.D. is selling. St. Louis County has now declared a state of emergency in light of the shooting and subsequent charges, as well as the arrest of dozens of protestors outside of the St. Louis courthouse earlier today.
Over at Ebony, Jamilah Lemieux writes about what she witnessed in Ferguson last night, and how much the police response is exactly the same as it was last year around this time, when citizens gathered to insist upon justice for Mike Brown. (His killer, Darren Wilson, was never arrested or charged.) This time, there to commemorate one young man’s death, rumors of another were circulating:
We spent about an hour and a half on West Florissant, live-streaming, talking to people and watching August of 2014 replay itself: mace, smoke and what felt and smelled like teargas; M-16s; a police line, tanks, screaming citizens, people occasionally throwing water bottles and small rocks in the direction of officers—not legal, but not lethal, not an actual threat to someone wearing a helmet and shield.
As it did last year, this level of response and the haunting visual of militarized-looking police occupying a Midwestern suburb seemed to only escalate the frustration of the crowd—many of whom believed Harris to be dead and were unsure of the circumstances of the shooting. It seems that here in Ferguson, police continue to have something in common with some of the young Black people they have been accused of targeting: the inability to de-escalate conflict peacefully. The difference, of course, being that a hotheaded teenager who has been made to feel by law enforcement and society-at-large that his life lacks value cannot fairly be judged by the same standards as an armed agent of the state.
The whole piece is well worth a read.
As protests continue tonight, with the police preemptively stating they expect “unrest,” my thoughts and prayers are with those who are standing up for their right to live free of oppression and violence, and in commemoration of Mike Brown.