2 shot, 31 arrested as Ferguson unrest continues
Violence erupted once again on Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, where two people were shot and more than 30 were arrested during another night of protests against the killing of an unarmed African-American teen by a white policeman.
The chaotic situation has been going on for more than a week even as Missouri National Guard troops arrived on Monday in Ferguson to confront protesters angered by the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by officer Darrell Wilson on August 9.
Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said early Tuesday that 31 protesters have been arrested, with some coming as far away as New York and California. He noted that at least two people have been wounded by gunfire. Johnson called on protesters to refrain from staging rallies during the nighttime, which, he said, provides cover for criminal elements.
Johnson said "officers came under heavy gunfire" during the night, but said officers did not fire a single shot. They "acted with restraint and calm," he said. Johnson blamed a group of “lawbreakers” and "criminals" for the violence.
Meanwhile, large demonstrations are taking place in solidarity with the Ferguson protesters in New York City and Atlanta, Georgia.
Brown’s body has been the subject of three autopsies. The first was conducted by St. Louis County. Another was done on Monday by a military doctor as part of the US Justice Department’s investigation. The results of those two autopsies and have not yet been released
An autopsy was also conducted on Sunday at the request of Brown’s family by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, who reported his findings. In a news conference on Monday, family members and Dr. Baden said that the autopsy he had performed confirmed witness accounts that Brown was trying to surrender when he was killed.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showed that Americans are deeply divided along racial lines in their reaction to Brown’s killing. The report showed that 80 percent of blacks thought the case raised “important issues about race that need to be discussed,” while only 37 percent of whites thought it did.
Blacks surveyed were also less confident in the investigations into the shooting, with 76 percent reporting little to no confidence in the investigation, compared with 33 percent of whites.
On Thursday, Amnesty International, a London-based non-governmental organization that focuses on human rights, took the “unprecedented” step of sending a team to the US to observe the escalating unrest in Ferguson.
Amnesty USA’s executive director Steven W. Hawkins issued a scathing statement on Saturday soon after the Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and put a curfew in place in the St. Louis suburb.
“We criticize dictators for quelling dissent and silencing protestors with tactics like curfews, we’ll certainly speak out when it’s happening in our own backyard,” he said. “The people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting.”