FERGUSON, Mo. — Ferguson’s streets remained peaceful as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest that erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.
The St. Louis County NAACP planned a youth march Saturday afternoon to the site in the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was killed. Supporters of the officer, Darren Wilson, rallied in St. Louis. Earlier in the day, Normandy High School, which Brown attended, observed a moment of silence for him at the start of a home football game against Lift for Life Academy Charter.
“This is something we shouldn’t forget,” said Donald Vaughan Cross, 77, a Hanley Hills resident whose grandson plays for Lift for Life. “This is something that should be on the minds of everybody — young ones and old ones. And the old ones like myself, we remember. It’s still going on. When is it going to stop? When is it going to end?”
A small stream of protesters marched in Ferguson as night fell Friday, but instead of confrontations with police, several stopped to talk one-on-one with officers about Brown’s Aug. 9 shooting death and tactics used by authorities during previous demonstrations.
While many residents are hopeful that tensions were waning and eager to end the disruptions to their lives caused by protests and police presence, some say they fear the community’s anger could explode anew if the grand jury now considering the case doesn’t return a charge against the Wilson.
“This officer has to be indicted. I’d hate to see what happens if he isn’t. The rioting, the looting, man …” said resident Larry Loveless, 29, as he stopped Friday at the memorial for Brown.
St. Louis County prosecutors this week convened a grand jury to begin hearing evidence in the case, despite concerns among some in the community — including Brown’s parents — that the office would not be impartial because of District Attorney Bob McCulloch’s ties to law enforcement. McCulloch’s father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect. He has said he will not remove himself from the case.
Considering the racial tensions of the case, even the makeup of the grand jury was being closely scrutinized. Two black women and one black man are on the 12-member panel, along with six white men and three white women, said Paul Fox, director of judicial administration for St. Louis County Circuit Court.