Thu., 10:50 pm: Rallies honor people who died at hands of police
Thousands of people across the country tonight attended protest vigils for an unarmed black Missouri teenager fatally shot by a white police officer and other victims who organizers say died as a result of police brutality.
The vigils, observed in more than 90 cities as part of a National Moment of Silence, came days after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the death of a New York man caused by a police officer’s chokehold.
None of the vigils were held in Trumbull County.
In downtown St. Louis, in a tiny park near the Gateway Arch, several hundred people, seemingly an equal number whites and blacks, gathered in Brown’s memory.
The site is a short drive from suburban Ferguson, where Brown was killed, stoking racial unrest. In Ferguson, two-thirds of the 21,000 residents are black and all but three of the 53 police officers are white.
The St. Louis gathering was peaceful in contrast with a night of looting and clashes between demonstrators and police in Ferguson earlier in the week.
The attendees included Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who didn’t address the crowd but waved, drawing applause as she wiped away tears.
The observance was among many staged nationwide, each with a minute of silence for Brown and others who died at the hands of police.
Bishop Elliott Coleman, of St. Louis’ El Bethel Temple Church, said in opening the observance there that people were coming together “for this reason of healing.”
The police commissioner in New York has said officers will be retrained on the use of force. Police in Ferguson have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street and one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car and physically assaulted him.