Monday 26 September 2016

Michael Brown's father still mourning a year after Ferguson teenager's death

Published 09/08/2015 | 09:39

Andre Powell, left, an organizer with Baltimore People's Power Assembly, and Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore SCLC, lead a march on North Avenue in Baltimore, Saturday, Aug. 8 2015, the eve of the anniversary of Michael Brown's death during a confrontation with a police officer. (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Andre Powell, left, an organizer with Baltimore People's Power Assembly, and Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore SCLC, lead a march on North Avenue in Baltimore, Saturday, Aug. 8 2015, the eve of the anniversary of Michael Brown's death during a confrontation with a police officer. (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Syreeta Myers wipes away tears before taking part in a march in memory of her son, VonDerrit Myers Jr., on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. Myers, a black 18-year-old shot and killed last October by an off-duty St. Louis police officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Hundreds take part in a march in memory of VonDerrit Myers Jr., on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. Myers, a black 18-year-old shot and killed last October by an off-duty St. Louis police officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A year after US teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed during a confrontation with a white police officer, his family is still mourning his death.

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The fatal shooting of the 18-year-old in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson sparked nationwide protest, and sometimes violent clashes between protesters and police, unfolding before Americans on live television.

Protesters hold up a pig's head from a pig roast outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Protesters hold up a pig's head from a pig roast outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A protester yells at police stationed outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Several weekend events were planned to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Mr Brown, who was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9 2014.

The shooting helped spur what is now called the "Black Lives Matter" movement that raised questions about law enforcement, treatment of minorities and police use of military-grade equipment while controlling crowds.

In Ferguson, the teenager's father, Michael Brown Sr, led a march that started at the memorial on the site where the youngsters was fatally shot.

Time has not healed his wounds, he said before the procession, in which several hundred people, a drum corps and some cars joined in on the five-mile route to a school.

Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller (2nd L) listens to protesters yelling at her outside the police station in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller (2nd L) listens to protesters yelling at her outside the police station in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Laura Charles performs with fire sticks during a protest outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

"At the end of the day, I still lost my boy," he said. "I'm still hurting. My family's still hurting."

Mr Brown said the anniversary brings back all of the grief and raw emotions, but that it is important to continue standing up to concerns about police brutality and the use of force.

As the parade began, he took an armful of stuffed animals and placed them in the middle of the street where his son died.

He said said a lot of families in the St Louis area and across the US are hurting because they have lost loved ones to police violence.

Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller (L) talks with protesters outside the police department with a pig's head from a pig roast placed on a wall separating them in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller (L) talks with protesters outside the police department with a pig's head from a pig roast placed on a wall separating them in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Protesters gather outside the Ferguson Police Department Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. Sunday will mark one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Though some groups are pledging civil disobedience in the St Louis region, Mr Brown urged everyone to mark his son's death in peace.

"No drama," he said. "No stupidity, so we can just have some kind of peace."

The US justice department and a St Louis County grand jury cleared Mr Wilson, who resigned in November, of wrongdoing.

A separate justice department investigation of Ferguson's justice system found evidence of a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias by police.

Laura Charles performs with fire sticks during a protest outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Laura Charles performs with fire sticks during a protest outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri August 8, 2015. One year after the police shooting of an unarmed black teen thrust Ferguson, into the national spotlight, the St. Louis suburb is bracing for a weekend of protests over continued complaints of police violence. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The protests picked up after dark as around 200 marchers, some riding atop cars, converged outside Ferguson's police headquarters, taunting officers who watched from across the street.

Earlier in the day, onlookers were mostly scattered in small clusters.

Ferguson interim Police Chief Andre Anderson stood alongside St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol on West Florissant Avenue, waving to participants in the afternoon parade and shaking hands with some.

The street was the site of protests, looting and riots in the aftermath of Mr Brown's death.

Police presence was limited mostly to officers keeping traffic away from the parade, and there were no immediate reports of confrontations.

Darius Simpson, 22, made the trip to Ferguson from Eastern Michigan University for the weekend and was in the parade.

Mr Simpson, who is black, said he had never been an activist until Mr Brown's death, but a visit to Ferguson last year during the height of the unrest changed him.

"Something snapped in me, seeing the memorial, seeing how Ferguson reacted inspired me to take it back to Michigan," he said.

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