- Our Town
Ferguson pledges outreach efforts after shooting
By Nigel Duara, The Associated Press
FERGUSON, Mo. - Ferguson's leaders urged residents Tuesday to stay home after dark to "allow peace to settle in" and pledged to reconnect with the predominantly black community in the St. Louis suburb where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer has sparked nightly clashes between protesters and law enforcement.
According to a statement from the city, officials have been exploring how to increase the number of African-American applicants to the law enforcement academy and raise funds for cameras that would be attached to patrol car dashboards and officers' vests.
"We plan to learn from this tragedy," the leaders said in the statement Tuesday.
The National Guard arrived in Ferguson on Monday but kept its distance from the streets during another night of unrest.
Protesters filled the streets after nightfall Monday, and officers fired tear gas and flash grenades.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, said bottles and Molotov cocktails were thrown from the crowd and some officers had come under heavy gunfire. At least two people were shot and 31 were arrested, he said. He did not have condition updates on those who were shot.
Demonstrators no longer faced the neighbourhood's midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew, but police told protesters that they could not assemble in a single spot and had to keep moving.
A photographer for Getty Images was arrested while covering the demonstrations and later released. Two German reporters were arrested and detained for three hours. Conservative German daily Die Welt said correspondent Ansgar Graw and reporter Frank Herrmann, who writes for German regional papers, were arrested after allegedly failing to follow police instructions to vacate an empty street. They said they followed police orders.
The latest clashes came after a day in which a pathologist hired by the family of Michael Brown said he suffered a bullet wound to his right arm that may indicate his hands were up or his back was turned. But the pathologist said the team that examined Brown cannot be sure yet exactly how the wounds were inflicted until they have more information.
Witnesses have said Brown's hands were above his head when he was repeatedly shot in the street by an officer Aug. 9.
Police have said the officer was pushed into his squad car, then physically assaulted during a struggle over his weapon.
But Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, told reporters that the officer grabbed Brown's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.
The independent autopsy determined that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, the family's lawyers and hired pathologists said.
The St. Louis County medical examiner's autopsy found that Brown was shot six to eight times in the head and chest, office administrator Suzanne McCune said Monday. But she declined to comment further, saying the full findings were not expected for about two weeks.
A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should be charged in Brown's death, said Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County's prosecuting attorney.
A third autopsy was performed Monday for the Justice Department by one of the military's most experienced medical examiners, Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Holder was scheduled to travel to Ferguson later this week to meet with FBI and other officials carrying out an independent federal investigation into Brown's death.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said the vast majority of protesters in Ferguson were peaceful, but warned that a small minority was undermining justice.
Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier in Ferguson, Jim Salter in St. Louis and David A. Lieb in Jefferson City contributed to this report.