Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in Ferguson, Mo., join police in search for suspects in the shooting of a police officer on Sept. 27, 2014.
Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, has the dubious distinction of being America’s new epicenter of black racial protests and looting since white officer Darren Wilson had shot an unarmed 300-lb black 18-year-old named Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014.
Beginning on Thursday, Sept. 25, after a period of quiescence, protests by blacks against the Brown shooting resumed. Yesterday (Sept. 27), around the time of two separate protests, a Ferguson police officer was shot and wounded. The two suspects remain at large.
St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar
Although the protests were contemporaneous with the officer shooting, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar nevertheless confidently dismissed the possibility that the protests were related in any way to the attack on the officer.
Belmar said at a news conference early Sunday that at around 9 p.m. last night, while checking on a closed community center, the unnamed officer spotted two men who began running when he approached them. The officer chased them, and as he closed in on one of the suspects, the second suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the officer, shooting him in the arm. The officer fired several shots in return, but there was no indication that he hit either of the suspects.
Without identifying the officer or providing further details about his condition, Belmar said the officer is expected to survive.
The shooting comes amid simmering tension between blacks and the police in Ferguson, where two-thirds of the residents are black, but only three of the city’s 53 police officers are “African-American”.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson
Earlier Saturday, Brown’s parents told The Associated Press that they were unmoved by a videotaped apology released days earlier by Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, whose attempt to march with protesters Thursday sparked a clash that led to several arrests.
When asked whether Jackson should be fired, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said he should be. Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., said rather than an apology, they would like Darren Wilson, the officer who shot their son, to be arrested.
Michael Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr.
A county grand jury is weighing whether to indict Wilson in Brown’s shooting.
The Obama administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating whether Brown’s civil rights were violated and conducting a broader probe into the Ferguson police department. On Friday, the DOJ urged police chief Jackson to ban his officers from wearing bracelets supporting Wilson while on duty and from covering up their name plates with black tape.
A few days ago, at a meeting with federal officials, Ferguson residents had complained about the bracelets, which are black with “I am Darren Wilson” in white lettering.
Also early Sunday, not far from Ferguson, an off-duty St. Louis city police officer was injured on Interstate 70 when three suspects fired shots into his personal vehicle. The off-duty officer, who has nearly 20 years of experience, was being treated at a hospital for a minor injury to his arm from broken glass.
Like St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, police spokeswoman Schron Jackson also dismissed the shooting of the off-duty officer as racially motivated, or that the shooting is related to the shooting of the Ferguson police officer the night before.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon expressed sympathy for the injured officers in a conference call Sunday from Afghanistan with reporters from Missouri, and lamely described the violence as “a challenge for everyone.”
Meanwhile, in some quarters, the shooting of the Ferguson officer is being celebrated. Here’s a tweet by someone who calls himself “JosephIsVegan.” Note the hammer and sickle after his name:
You can also hear a man in this short video of protesters (0:10 mark) say “I hope that bitch [the Ferguson cop] die,” and another man (the same JosephIsVegan?) at the end of the video say, “We praying that he dies”.
But the police would have you believe that the shooting of the two police officers is not racially motivated.
Yeah, right. [sarc]
Sources: Associated Press, New York Times, The Last Refuge
H/t FOTM’s Maziel