Home World U.S. News Michael Brown shooting: Vigils in Ferguson and nationwide

Michael Brown shooting: Vigils in Ferguson and nationwide

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Vigils have been held across the US in honor of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by police in Missouri.

Moments of silence and protests were held in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and elsewhere, five days after Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot.

After four nights of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown died, state police took charge of security.

In contrast on Thursday evening, state troopers and local police walked with protestors, shaking their hands.

Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, an African-American who grew up nearby, was named as the new head of the operation.

As he walked at the front of a march through the streets, he was seen hugging people he met.

“We all want justice. We all want answers,” Ronald Johnson said.

For the first time, the reverberations from this Midwest town were felt nationwide with dozens of vigils organized by a social media campaign.

Vigils have been held across the US in honor of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by police in Missouri

Vigils have been held across the US in honor of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by police in Missouri

The event in Washington DC was attended by hundreds of people in Malcolm X Park, many holding placards saying: “Hands up. Don’t shoot”.


Similar vigils were held in New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and many other cities.

They came at the end of a day when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had likened the scenes of violence in Ferguson to a “war zone” and the police conduct was questioned.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the use of military equipment and vehicles in Ferguson had sent a “conflicting message”, while President Barack Obama said there was no excuse for police using “excessive force”.

Governor Jay Nixon then announced that the state highway patrol would direct the security operation.

Hours later, reporter Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post summed up the change in atmosphere on the streets of Ferguson.

“At this time at night on Monday, residents were in real fear for their lives,” he said.

“Tonight they’re taking selfies with cops.”

The tension in Ferguson had been sparked by the death of Michael Brown on Saturday afternoon.

Details about the incident have been disputed but eyewitnesses said the unarmed teenager had his arms raised when he was shot multiple times by a police officer.

Police say there was a struggle and the officer suffered facial injuries.

The authorities are under pressure to release the officer’s name, but they say they are worried that his life and that of his family could be in danger.

Four nights of violence have seen heavily armed riot police firing tear gas at demonstrators and looting, arson and the throwing of bottles and Molotov cocktails.

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