FERGUSON, Mo. – About 100 protesters gathered Monday afternoon near the Normandy Police Department chanting “no justice, no peace” to denounce the recent shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer, a rowdy crowd that was advised by a speaker to “get on the jury” to help prosecute the alleged crime.
“Everybody is talking about, ‘What can we do? What can we do?’ ” the speaker told the audience. “All I want to say is, how many people … have been on jury duty? One thing we can all do is get on the jury, that will help immensely.”
The advice to the predominantly black crowd was met with applause and cheers. It was one idea among several vocalized at the protest, where speakers also called for a more racially diverse police force, and for “equal justice” for the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday night, prompting riots and unrest in St. Louis.
“No peace, no justice, what that means is that until something happens to that cop, there will not be any peace,” Randall Young, a Vatterott College student studying to become a HVAC technician at the same school Brown was set to attend, told The College Fix during the protest.
Talk radio shows in St. Louis on Monday offered wall-to-wall coverage of the shooting, riots, and various protests that cropped up over the last two days, with many already likening the situation to the death of Trayvon Martin and discussions of alleged out-of-control police brutality.
The officer, who has yet to be identified, shot the unarmed Brown numerous times, causing many in Ferguson and St. Louis to equate Brown’s death with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Both black teens were unarmed. Michael Brown’s family on Monday reportedly hired the attorney who represented Trayvon Martin’s family.
The FBI is also probing the incident for civil rights violations. Police have said there was some sort of struggle between the officer and Brown before he was shot and killed. Witnesses have said Brown had his hands raised in surrender when he was fatally shot.
The shooting took place in a predominantly black neighborhood in a town that’s already racially charged, in a larger region sometimes likened to the “Detroit of The Great Plains.”
The daytime streets of St.Louis were largely subdued on Monday, and a sense of exhaustion tinged with anger permeated neighborhoods. Debris and trash from the riots peppered the streets.
The Monday afternoon protest was held in the parking lot of the Murchison Tabernacle Church in Normandy, right across the street from the Normandy Police Department. It attracted dozens of mothers who said their “sons are being killed.”
As a white man walked up to the crowd of protesters, one woman called out: “White boys don’t want to come down here and get hurt.”
Many voiced concern at the protest and on talk radio that although a large part of the St. Loius population is black, that there is “no voice for black people” in the region’s leadership. St. Louis was recently dubbed the sixth most racially segregated city in the country.
Young, the Vatterott College student, voiced sadness and anger over the death of his classmate during the protest.
“I was on the bus passing West Florissant, (the place where Brown was shot and killed). My thought was, what was the boy doing for the cop to shoot him like that? What was running through that cop’s mind?” he said.
Young added that he had a feeling the “candlelight vigil” for Brown would take a turn for the worse. But he added that he approved of the riots, that they will “wake people up.”
College Fix contributor Christopher White is a University of Missouri graduate student and an editorial assistant for The College Fix.
IMAGES/VIDEO: Christopher White/The College Fix