ERR in America: Protests in Missouri Out of Control (3)
United States ERR correspondent Lauri Tankler said the ongoing protests in a small Missouri town have gotten out of control, and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has urged protesters to stop the violence.
The rebellion in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, started when a young black man, Michael Brown, was shot to death by a police officer. It appears from initial reports that the youth was shot twice in the head and six times overall. Then name of the officer was subsequently published. A video recording is also available, which shows that the youth may have robbed a store.
ERR correspondent Lauri Tankler said that so far it is not fully clear whether a scuffle took place between the two, or something else caused a reaction from the police. But Tankler said there will probably be protests until the police are seen as the enemy.
"However, it does not matter really, because Brown was unarmed and autopsy reports indicate that he was shot six times, including twice in the head. No matter how much the police is trying to explain that he was a robber and marijuana was found in his body, it is not important - a young black man was unarmed, according to witnesses, even hands lifted up, and a white-skinned cop just shot him," Tankler said.
"There is ongoing shootings, robbery, vandalism, and other acts of violence, which clearly is not spontaneous but premeditated crimes, intended to destroy property, do wrong to people and provoke a response. Such ill-will is not civil disobedience, but a deliberate provocations and attacks," said Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson.
"I saw that the protesters go peacefully down the street, and 20 minutes later, I saw how the tear gas started to sprinkle. The crowd started to come back. The more they did, the more tear gas sprayed," said protester Key Smith.
The National Guard of Missouri has been brought in to quell the situation. "It should be emphasized that local community leaders have consistently called on the police to obey orders, and peaceful protesters are certainly predominant," Tankler said.
Tankler said that reconciliation in the community will be challenging. "Obviously, you can talk about reconciliation, for example, after the end of its investigation, the local police will be able to do a little more openly, and to disclose the results of the investigation, which is still almost nine days after the shooting has not been done," he said.
"Maybe, if an investigation shows that attention is needed to be diverted to prosecute the policeman who shot Brown, it is feared that the protests will continue in some form," he said.