ERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of people protesting the death of Michael Brown and other fatal police shootings in Missouri and elsewhere stood inches from officers in riot gear late Friday before demonstrators dissipated, anticipating a long weekend of events.
Organizers of the four-day Ferguson October events expected 6,000 participants, but the initial protest Friday outside the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office in Clayton didn’t draw nearly that amount. Later Friday, tensions increased, with hundreds of protesters gathering outside the Ferguson Police Department and chanting anti-police remarks such as, “Killer cops, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” as a wall of about 100 officers in riot gear stood near them.
Soon after, most of the crowd left, with organizers urging people to avoid arrest so that they could come back for more protests throughout the weekend.
Protesters renewed their call for prosecutor Bob McCulloch to charge Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson officer, in the Aug. 9 death of 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed. A grand jury is reviewing the case, and the U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Brown’s death and a broader inquiry into the Ferguson police force.
“We are here to demand the justice that our people have died for,” chanted protest organizer Montague Simmons of the local group Organization for Black Struggle. “We are here to bring peace, to bring restoration, to lift our banners in the name of those who’ve been sacrificed.”