Michael Brown shooting protests in Ferguson Missouri nearly peaceful days after autopsy - until bottle thrown

Attorney General Eric Holder met privately with the family of an unarmed teen fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The country's top law enforcement official is in Missouri Wednesday afternoon after more than a week of unrest following the deadly shooting of an unarmed African American teenager by a white police officer.

Michael Brown's mother viewed her son's body at the morgue Wednesday for the first time since he was shot on August 9, before meeting privately with Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder is met with residents, students, community leaders and the family of 18-year-old Brown. He is also huddling with officials trying to stop the violence that has gripped Ferguson since Brown was killed by a policeman 11 days ago.

Only a few protesters were outside the county building as a grand jury began hearing evidence in the unarmed teenager's shooting death.

Prosecutor Bob McCulloch told ABC radio affiliate in St. Louis the process could take until mid-October to decide if officer Darren Wilson should be charged with a crime.
According to a source close to Wilson, the officer received severe facial injuries in a struggle with Brown before shooting him.

"He has been vilified in the media and by the politicians and we felt it was necessary that we had to come out and just ask for due process for Darren Wilson," said Kevin Ahlbrand, union official.



On Tuesday night, protesters promised retribution. Things were peaceful until about midnight, when police were pelted with urine-filled bottles.

Riot police, who had taken far less aggressive positions all night, assumed the more familiar tactical columns with face shields down and batons in hand. Officers recovered three loaded guns but no shots were fired and no tear gas used.

A short time later, officers began marching through parking areas along the protest route. Some were armed with shotguns, others were carrying assault rifles. A few had long guns that fire rubber bullets.

As police cleared streets, protesters attacked the I-Team crew and aggressively went after other cameras. Police claimed agitators had embedded with the media.

Police continued heavy-handed tactics though with some news media, prompting this surprising admission Wednesday from the officer in charge.

"We've had some police officers who have displayed inappropriate behavior. We took appropriate action, we've sent some officers home. We will continue to make sure everyone is treated fairly and that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated on either side," said Capt. Ron Johnson, Missouri State Highway Patrol.

On the 11th night of unrest, there were dozens more taken into custody, including protesters who came here from out of town and across the U.S.

According to police records obtained by the I-Team, two people from Illinois were arrested Tuesday night in the Ferguson disturbances, and 11 since August 9.

A Chicago live streamer shot protest video of an officer on the riot line Tuesday night pointing his assault rifle and threatening to kill him.

The officer from St. Ann - a nearby St. Louis suburb - was suspended late Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, his superiors said: "The unified command strongly feel these actions are inappropriate, and not indicative of the officers who have worked daily, to keep the peace."

Among the Chicagoans arrested this week was a musician who said he came to Ferguson to protest brutality and racism.

"And immediately, there were guns drawn on me and lights pointed at me, and one of them said 'Don't take another step or I'll shoot," said Charlie Coffeen, Chicago protester. "Told me to get on the ground, one of them put their knee on my back, put my hands behind my back, handcuffed me and took me to the county jail. It was what I imagined a war zone to look like and that is what Ferguson is at the moment. It was scary but it was also a communal event."



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