St Louis protest at police shooting of unarmed teenager

Demonstration peaceful after two days of violence over killing

People scatter as St Louis county tactical police officers fire tear gas along West Florissant Road in St Louis, Missouri, two days after a police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Photohraph: EPA/Robert Cohen/St Louis Post-Dispatch

People scatter as St Louis county tactical police officers fire tear gas along West Florissant Road in St Louis, Missouri, two days after a police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Photohraph: EPA/Robert Cohen/St Louis Post-Dispatch

Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 01:00

More than 100 people marched to the St Louis County courthouse yesterday to protest over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, but the demonstration remained peaceful after two previous days of violence.

Protesters called for justice in the death of Michael Brown (18), shot to death in the back of a police car on Saturday, an end to what they say is harassment of blacks by the mostly white police force in Ferguson and the jailing of the officer who shot Mr Brown.

Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson said police were determined to keep a lid on tensions. Authorities had been expected to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting, but the St Louis Post-Dispatch, citing police, said yesterday the name would not be released. His race has not been revealed either.

‘Hands up, don’t shoot’

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the case. St Louis County is also investigating the shooting.

The crowd in front of the St Louis County Courthouse in nearby Clayton yesterday chanted “hands up, don’t shoot” – a reference to reports that Brown appeared to have been shot while holding his hands up in surrender.

“We’ve consistently had a problem,” said St Louis attorney Jerryl Christmas, who helped lead the protest.

“There’s a lack of diversity all the way up from the local police to the prosecutor’s office into the judiciary.”

Gun struggle

Police said Brown was shot in a struggle with a gun in the police car. At least one shot was fired during the struggle and then the officer fired more shots before leaving the car, police said.

The street in the low-income, mostly black neighbourhood where Brown was killed was surrounded by memorials of candles and flowers.

“The police, they always look at us with a certain disdain,” said resident Christopher Phillips (33). “So there are a lot of people with an ‘F the police’ mentality.”

Jackson said the neighbourhood had a lot of crime but there were no race problems.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown’s family speaking on CNN yesterday, said the Justice Department needed to take over the investigation completely, and not rely on St Louis County police.

More than 50 people have been arrested in protests following Brown’s death. – (Reuters)