Two years ago a white police officer shot the unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Michael Brown prompted days of sometimes violent protests and sparked a nationwide debate over the use of excessive force against African-American suspects.
CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports from Ferguson.
Two years after Ferguson, a community hopes no one forgetsTwo years ago a white police officer shot the unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Michael Brown prompted days of sometimes violent protests and sparked a nationwide debate over the use of excessive force against African-American suspects. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports from Ferguson
On Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri, people gathered to remember an 18-year-old who died here exactly two years ago. Mike Brown Sr.’s son was shot and killed by a white police officer at this site. His son’s body lay in this street for four and-a-half hours.
“Today is a sad, sad day,” Brown said. “My son opened the eyes of the world and let people know that this, excuse me I almost cussed, this ain’t right.”
Vigil in Ferguson marks two years since Brown’s killing:
The shooting of Michael Brown Jr. by officer Darren Wilson led to riots across America. It brought anger in many African-American communities right to the surface.
“I never saw that level of frustration in a community,” Community Activist Brother Jeff Fard of Denver, Colorado said. “Something was going to change and they weren’t going to wait for it. I felt that two years ago in Ferguson.”
Soon after the unrest, the Black Lives Matter movement began shining a spotlight on U.S. police treatment of African-Americans.
Last year the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report criticizing the Ferguson Police Department for policing practices it termed racially biased. A federal oversight team will soon begin monitoring police to make sure changes are made.”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says a new police chief, court reform and more communication with residents, along with economic development, have helped tamp down the unrest here.
“This isn’t a utopia but it is certainly not where it was and it’s certainly come a great distance from where it was in August 2014,” Knowles said.
Some say there’s new hope in the city.
“People have more respect for one another. People are really going out their way to work with one another,” Ferguson City Council Member Ella Jones said.
But others think there’s been little progress in Ferguson-that the same police mentality is still there.
“So no, I don’t think anything’s been done because the policemen that are on the ground that are out here touching us have not done anything. They’re the same rude policemen,” Ferguson Resident Mama Fatou said. “It feels the same on the street.”
At a time when unarmed black Americans in the U.S. are five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by police, one observer says the reforms that began after Ferguson are nowhere near complete.
“Any change is good but I think we need to go a little further and I think that’s why these movements are so needed,” Fard said.