Peaceful Protests End In Violence As Gunfire Erupts On Anniversary Of Michael Brown Shooting

Ferguson, Mo. – A day of peaceful protests commemorating Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson one year ago on Sunday, turned violent after gunfire erupted Sunday night leaving one man in critical condition.

Police claim that gunfire was initially exchanged between two groups of protesters, and that officers only engaged after one of the protesters opened fire on four detectives in an unmarked vehicle. They returned fire, and the man was critically injured.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that gunfire erupted after police officers had threatened to arrest any protesters who stayed in the street, and at that point protesters were “estimated at fewer than 100 and were outnumbered by members of the media.”

At a 2:30 a.m. press conference on Monday, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that the groups exchanging gunfire “were criminals” rather than protesters, and that he believes there is a “small group of people out there that are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails.”

The man injured by police has been identified as Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, from St. Louis. His father, Tyrone Harris Sr., told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his son went to high school and was good friends with Michael Brown, and that, regarding Sunday night’s shooting, he thinks “there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said.”

Belmar said that in addition to being in an unmarked vehicle, the four detectives were not wearing body cameras. This decision was criticized by coalitions such as the Ferguson Action Council, who said that “having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic.”

[RELATED: Ferguson Police Have Body Cameras… But Don’t Wear Them]

Reuters noted that the gunfire on Sunday night was in “marked contrast to a day of mostly subdued, peaceful commemorations” in Ferguson, where about about 1,000 people gathered together to share 4-1/2 minutes of silence in honor of the 4-1/2 hours Brown’s body lay in the street after he was shot, and to release doves and embark on a “silent march through Ferguson to honor Brown and others killed in confrontations with police.”

On Sunday night, a few local businesses were looted and robbed, and Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel said that he was beaten and robbed while covering the protests.

BREAKING: Michael Brown’s Parents File Civil Lawsuit Against City Of Ferguson

At a press conference on Thursday, the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, announced that they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, former police chief Thomas Jackson, and former police officer Darren Wilson.

Reuters reported that the Brown family is seeking “unspecified punitive damages, $75,000 in compensation and changes in policing,” and the lawsuit requests a court order “prohibiting the use of police techniques that demean, disregard, or underserve its African-American population.

During Thursday’s press conference, the attorneys representing Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. said pursuing the civil lawsuit will lead to new evidence that will show that Wilson should have been indicted and held responsible for Brown’s death.

The attorneys said that this lawsuit is a way to “challenge the police officers who kill people of color,” and they used the recent examples of shooting victims such as Walter Scott, and Tamir Rice, to highlight the fact that “the standard police narrative is contradicted by the objective evidence” in many cases.

USA Today reported that the lawsuit alleges “Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights through a deprivation of his right to unlawful detention and the use of excessive and deadly force,” and it accuses both the city of Ferguson and former chief Jackson of “failing to hire, train, supervise, retain, and conduct a fair and impartial investigation, alleging the police department had a custom or policy of negligently hiring and retaining officers, failing to property train and/or supervise officers in the use of deadly force.

On March 4, the Department of Justice announced that it declined to indict Wilson with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Both the initial shooting, and the decision not to indict Wilson led to protests and riots throughout the city of Ferguson.

Michael Brown’s parents originally announced that they would file the lawsuit during a press conference on March 5. During that conference, their lawyer Anthony Gray, maintained the fact that they have felt from the very beginning that “Officer Darren Wilson did not have to shoot and kill Mike Brown, Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did, that he had other options available to him.”

Just days before the announcement was made that Wilson would not be indicted, the DOJ released a report, which revealed that the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.

Michael Brown’s Parents Will File Lawsuit Against City of Ferguson, Darren Wilson

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that it will not charge Darren Wilson, a white police officer from Ferguson, Missouri, with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager on August 9, 2014.

Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., have confirmed that they will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against both Wilson and the city of Ferguson.

Anthony Gray, one of the attorneys representing the Brown family, spoke at a press conference on Thursday, and maintained the fact that the Brown family has felt from the very beginning that “Officer Darren Wilson did not have to shoot and kill Mike Brown, Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did, that he had other options available to him.”

“We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed very shortly on behalf of the family,” Gray said. “In our case, we plan to show and outline pretty much the same evidence; however, you will get a more clearer, a more accurate of what took place that day.”

Darryl Parks, another attorney representing the Brown family, said that the family is not surprised by DOJ’s findings, and that they were only choosing to file a lawsuit now, because they did not want to get in the way of the DOJ’s ongoing investigation before, and they are now “entering a different phase of this action.”

As previously reported, the DOJ’s decision not to charge Wilson with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Brown, comes at the same time as a report from the department, which revealed that the Ferguson police department exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.

Federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that upon investigation, they found that 88 percent of the time use of excessive force was documented by Ferguson police, it was being used against a black individual, and that out of the city’s 53 police officers, only three were black.

Grand Jury Witness 40’s Claim That Michael Brown Charged “Like a Football Player” Falls Apart

In the debate over whether Officer Darren Wilson was justified or criminally culpable in the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, the pro-Wilson narrative parrots an account that alleged that the physically larger Michael Brown charged at Officer Wilson “like a football player,” a claim that was made by grand jury Witness 40, whom St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch called in to testify. However, an exhaustive report on Witness 40, compiled by William Bastone, Andrew Goldberg, and Joseph Jesselli at The Smoking Gun, calls into question whether she was present on the day that the events occurred and what might have motivated her to fabricate her account. The above-embedded video, provided by Democracy Now!, includes an interview with William Bastone in which he goes into detail about his investigation into Witness 40’s testimony.

The report identified Witness 40 as 45-year-old St. Louis woman Sandra McElroy and paints her as a pathological liar with a criminal past. She reportedly made a variety of racist statements online, and her social media postings in the wake of Michael Brown’s death fit the pattern of an Officer Wilson supporter, rather than a witness to the shooting. McElroy, a fan of crime dramas, had previously offered herself as a witness to another criminal investigation which had generated significant media attention, though police assigned to that case dismissed her account as a “complete fabrication.”

McElroy waited until four weeks after the shooting to contact police. At the time at which she offered her testimony, Officer Wilson’s side of the story had been making its rounds in the media, and McElroy’s account mirrored the story detailed in those reports. She was interviewed first by St. Louis police and then by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were so skeptical of her account that they pointed out the fact that she could face criminal charges for fabricating her testimony. Despite these red flags, Prosecutor Robert McCulloch called her to testify before the grand jury that would later opt against charging Officer Wilson in Brown’s death.

When FBI agents asked the Caucasian McElroy why she was in Ferguson, 30 miles from her home, on that day, she claimed that she had gotten lost while visiting a friend in the area and had stopped at the scene to ask for directions. However, at a November 3 grand jury hearing, she changed her story, saying that she would routinely “go into all the African-American neighborhoods” in an effort to improve race relations, and that, on that day, she planned to “go in and have coffee and… strike up a conversation with an African-American” in an effort to improve her understanding of the African-American community such that she could, according to a journal entry she provided to the grand jury, learn to “stop calling blacks n****** and start calling them people.”

The Smoking Gun‘s report also notes that McElroy at one point ran an online fundraising campaign to support Officer Darren Wilson, which she has since taken down. It is as-yet unknown as to whether or not her short-lived fundraising campaign generated any donations and what might have happened to the proceeds. An additional report by The Huffington Post argues that investigators made several mistakes while collecting evidence for the case, including failures to collect evidence in a timely manner and omitting basic steps like testing Officer Wilson’s gun, which Michael Brown allegedly grabbed, for fingerprints.

Michael Brown’s stepfather may face criminal charges

Police and investigators are currently considering charging Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, for attempting to incite a riot after it was announced Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting death of Brown. After the announcement against indictment came late on Nov. 24, various videos taken near protests in Ferguson show Head shouting … Continue reading Michael Brown’s stepfather may face criminal charges

FERGUSON: No Indictment for Officer Wilson in Michael Brown death

FERGUSON, Missouri, November 24, 2014– Monday night, a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. Previous to the public announcement, police have been anticipating an eruption of violence. Multiple reports of police commentary began to flood the internet as on location journalists and citizens listened to police … Continue reading FERGUSON: No Indictment for Officer Wilson in Michael Brown death

Michael Brown’s Parents Testify Before U.N. Committee Against Torture

On Tuesday, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden addressed the United Nations Committee against Torture, in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a delegation of human rights advocates, in an attempt to raise awareness about the death of their son Michael Brown. Although he was unarmed, Michael Brown (18) was shot and killed by Police Officer Darren … Continue reading Michael Brown’s Parents Testify Before U.N. Committee Against Torture

Autopsy of Michael Brown Suggests He Was Shot in the Hand at Close Range

Documents from the St. Louis County medical examiner’s office show that Ferguson teenager Michael Brown was shot in the hand at close range. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has obtained copies of the autopsy and toxicology report. According to the Post-Dispatch’s sources, Officer Darren Wilson told investigators that Brown had attempted to grab his gun inside … Continue reading Autopsy of Michael Brown Suggests He Was Shot in the Hand at Close Range

In the midst of riots and protests, Michael Brown named as robbery suspect

The events preceding the shooting death of Michael Brown have been unclear since they occurred, but new security footage from a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo., allegedly shows Brown and his accomplice Dorian Johnson, stealing a box of cigars valued at just under $50. A police report released by the Ferguson Police Department details the … Continue reading In the midst of riots and protests, Michael Brown named as robbery suspect

UPDATE: Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Did Not Know He Was A Robbery Suspect

Questions Surround Recent Allegations from the Ferguson Police Department Ferguson, Missouri – Early Friday Ferguson, St. Louis police Chief Thomas Jackson released the name of the officer involved in the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, as well as documents alleging that Brown was involved in a “strong arm robbery” prior to the shooting. In … Continue reading UPDATE: Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Did Not Know He Was A Robbery Suspect

Ferguson, MO Police Refuse To Name Officer Who Killed Michael Brown

Ferguson, MO- Ferguson police, after initially planning to release the name of the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown by noon on Tuesday, decided on Tuesday to keep the officer’s identity anonymous for an unknown period of time.

“A lot of threats against the officer were made on Twitter, Facebook, all social media,” said Ferguson Officer Timothy Zoll. “We are protecting the officer’s safety by not releasing the name.”

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told St. Louis news station Newschannel 5 that the officer’s name will not be released unless a judge makes an order to do so or if charges are filed.

The killing of  Brown by the Ferguson police officer has led to the launching of several investigations headed by the FBI, the St. Louis County NAACP and the St. Louis County Police Department. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has also asked the Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation.

These investigations may prove more difficult than other cases involving shootings by police due to the fact that Ferguson police vehicles do not have dashboard cameras, and the officers do not wear body cameras. Jackson said that the department recently purchased the items, but have not actually equipped vehicles or officers with them yet.

There were witnesses who saw the shooting take place last Saturday, and their accounts of the incident contradict accounts from authorities that claimed Brown assaulted an officer and tried to take his gun.

Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson was one of those witnesses; he told MSNBC  that he was walking down a street with Brown when a police officer, in his cruiser, began following them. “His exact words were get the f—k on the sidewalk,” Johnson said, referring to the officer who was driving alongside them. Johnson recounted that they continued walking and the officer abruptly backed up his car and tried opening his door. According to Johnson, the door bounced off of the young men and back onto the officer, and that was when the officer reached out of his car window and grabbed Brown. Johnson said after the physical altercation, the officer said “I’m gonna shoot you.”

According to CNN, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that “the preliminary investigation showed that the Ferguson officer tried to exit his vehicle, but Brown pushed him back into the car” and assaulted him.

The shooting led to angry citizens taking to the streets of Ferguson, and vandalism and looting of area businesses were reported. Hacktivist group Anonymous reportedly released a video supporting protesters demonstrating for Brown while delivering a strong warning to the Ferguson Police Department:

“To the Ferguson Police Department and any other jurisdictions who are deployed to the protests: we are watching you very closely. If you abuse, harass – or harm in any way the protesters in Ferguson we will take every web based asset of your departments and governments off line. That is not a threat, it is a promise. Attacking the protesters will result in the release of personal information on every single member of the Ferguson Police Department, as well as any other jurisdiction that participates in the abuse of this States own law. We will seize all your databases and E-Mail spools and dump them on the Internet. This is your first and last warning.”

“The time has come for more than simple justice for these atrocities. The time has come to draw a line in the sand. The time has come to bring those to justice, who served to protect us, not kill us.

St. Louis news station reported that Anonymous had hacked the City Of Ferguson’s website Sunday evening.

 

Angela Brown: Case Of Mother Who Treated Son With Cannabis Oil Reaches End

Madison, MN- The legal case of Angela Brown, a Minnesota mother who was charged after she treated her son’s health problems with cannabis oil, is expected to end as Mrs. Brown and the state of Minnesota have reached an agreement.

According to a press release from Brown’s attorney, Michael Hughes, Brown and the state of Minnesota filed a “continued for dismissal” petition with the Lac Qui Parle County Court on April 17th to dismiss the final remaining charge of child endangerment upon Brown paying $100 and avoiding violations for 90 days. Angela Brown will not have to plead guilty.

“This resolution obtains the ultimate goal, which was to get the charges against Mrs. Brown dismissed,” stated the release.

The agreement was reached before jury selection for Brown’s trial was set to begin next week. Brown was facing up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine for giving her son the oil. Brown will now be avoiding a jury trial, which also spares Brown’s son, Trey, from being subpoenaed to testify. According to the press release, “the State had threatened to subpoena the child and force him to testify against his mother at trial.” 

According to the Star Tribune, Angela Brown accepted the deal but remains frustrated by the state’s pursuit of charges against her. “For an entire year, they have put us through emotional, financial and literally physical damages,” she said. “And now they want me to pay court fees and spend 90 more days dealing with them?”

Legal troubles for the Brown family began last year when Angela turned to cannabis oil to treat Trey’s multiple medical issues stemming from a sports injury that occurred when the boy was 11. After the injury, Trey suffered a stroke and had been in a coma. Medical issues followed, including seizures, muscle spasms and severe headaches, and they were causing Trey’s school grades to decline. Angela said that he had begun harming himself.

According to court documents, the family had exhausted almost every other course of treatment for Trey before discussing cannabis as a possible option with Trey’s medical providers.

The Brown family said that Trey’s condition greatly improved shortly after using cannabis oil. An investigation was prompted when Trey’s school discovered, after staff noted that his academic performance had improved, that he had been taking the oil. Angela was later charged with two counts of child endangerment; one of those charges was dropped in January.

During the legal ordeal, Trey has not access to cannabis oil and Angela Brown said that Trey’s seizures returned, causing him to be sent to the emergency room twice. The family is currently struggling with about $8,000 in medical bills incurred while Trey has not been allowed to use the oil.

Marijuana use for some medical purposes will be legal in Minnesota on July 1st, 2015. The Brown family has decided to move to Colorado, where the blend of cannabis oil that effectively treated Trey’s symptoms was obtained. Cannabis oil is also reportedly cheaper and more easily accessible in Colorado. The family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help cover medical bills and moving expenses.

“We were ready for a dog fight,” Hughes said in regards to the trial. “I am very emotional about this case on several levels and have been preparing for this battle since taking the case. At the end of the day all the charges originally brought against my client will be dismissed. I see this as a victory and a positive outcome. Still, what this family has endured is just another sad example of how cannabis prohibition negatively impacts our society.”

Click here for more information about the Brown case.

Angela Brown: 1 Of 2 Charges Dropped For Mother Who Treated Son With Cannabis Oil

Madison, MN- A judge dismissed one of the charges faced by Angela Brown, a Minnesota mother who was initially facing two child endangerment charges for administering cannabis oil to her son Trey. Brown and her attorney, Michael Hughes, had filed motions to dismiss the charges last December, arguing that there was not probable cause to … Continue reading Angela Brown: 1 Of 2 Charges Dropped For Mother Who Treated Son With Cannabis Oil

Journalist Barrett Brown Faces Sentencing on Tuesday After Two Years Behind Bars

On Tuesday morning journalist Barrett Brown is scheduled to be sentenced at a federal courthouse in Dallas, Texas. Barrett Brown has been an activist, and a journalist. Articles and blogs from Brown have been featured in numerous publications including the Guardian, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post. He is part of the new breed of online activists who … Continue reading Journalist Barrett Brown Faces Sentencing on Tuesday After Two Years Behind Bars

Angela Brown: Mother Who Treated Son With Cannabis Oil Files Motion To Dismiss Charges

Madison, MN- Angela Brown, a mother fighting charges from the state of Minnesota for treating her son’s traumatic brain injuries with cannabis oil, has continued her fight with a motion from her attorney, Michael R. Hughes, to dismiss the charges. the motion was filed December 3rd.

According to a press release from Hughes, “Michael R. Hughes of Hughes Law in Bend, Oregon has filed motions in the Angela Brown case asking the Court to dismiss the charges. One of the motions filed argues that there is not probable cause to believe that Mrs. Brown committed child endangerment, as charged in the criminal complaint. The other motion requests that the Court dismiss the charges in the ‘Interest of Justice’.”

The Brown’s legal challenges stemming from a family decision to treat son Trey Brown with medicinal cannabis oil from Colorado has gained national media attention. The Browns looked to the oil to treat Trey, who had been suffering from muscle spasms and seizures following a brain injury, after all other medicinal options failed. Angela, charged with child endangerment, faces up to $6,000 in fines and two years in prison if convicted because Minnesota’s medical marijuana legalization bill does not take effect until July 2015.

Angela rejected a plea deal in October. Her next hearing is December 17th at 10:00 a.m. at the Lac qui Parle County Courthouse in Madison, Minnesota.

Barrett Brown’s Court Documents Unsealed: The Implications of the Gag Order

Dallas, May 20, 2014 – On April 23 District judge Sam Lindsay unsealed documents relating to journalist Barrett Brown’s trial and the subsequent gag order that was issued on September 4, 2013. Brown has been behind bars since his arrest September 12, 2012 and held under gag-order for the last 8 months. His arrest, and … Continue reading Barrett Brown’s Court Documents Unsealed: The Implications of the Gag Order

Ferguson Commission Calls For Police To ‘Minimize Use of Militarized Weaponry’

A report released on Monday by the commission appointed to study the racial divide and the unrest following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, advised that police reduce their use of military-style tactics and weapons. The 198-page report, titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” was released by the 16-member commission appointed by Missouri … Continue reading Ferguson Commission Calls For Police To ‘Minimize Use of Militarized Weaponry’

Media Ignores Oath Keepers Protecting Small Business Owners in Ferguson

As previously reported by Truth In Media’s Rachel Blevins, “peaceful protests commemorating Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson one year ago on Sunday, turned violent after gunfire erupted leaving one man in critical condition.” Following Sunday night’s gunfire, members of the Oath Keepers, an American non-profit made … Continue reading Media Ignores Oath Keepers Protecting Small Business Owners in Ferguson

Black Lives Matter Storms In, Takes Over Bernie Sanders Event In Seattle

By Blake Neff

The protest movement Black Lives Matter continued its attack on the most left-wing Democratic candidate for president Saturday, shutting down a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle and forcing him to cancel his speech.

Sanders was scheduled to speak Saturday afternoon at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare. But he was ultimately only able to say a few words, thanking Seattle for being “one of the most progressive cities in America,” before a group of protesters ran up and took control of the microphone. Video of the incident’s beginning was captured by Seattle’s KIRO television station.

“If you do not listen to [us], your event will be shut down,” one protester said, while members of the audience booed. “Right now, right now. It’s your decision.” The sound feed of the microphone was then cut out while the protesters argued with organizers.

Following a short shouting match, an organizer of the event said he would let the protesters take a turn on the microphone, but only after Sanders was allowed to speak.

“We are trying to be reasonable,” the organizer said, which triggered an outburst of “We aren’t reasonable!” and “Stop talking!” from some of the protesters, who began grappling with the organizer for the microphone.

After enduring a barrage of verbal attacks, the organizer initially said the event was being shut down, while some in the crowd broke out into a “Bernie” chant. Apparently thinking twice, the organizer then decided to give the microphone over to the protesters. Things did not improve from there, as the protesters proceeded to verbally berate the audience:

“You guys are full of bullshit with your ‘Black Lives Matter,’” said lead protester Marissa Johnson, immediately earning cries of “You’re bullshit!” and more from the crowd.

“You’re never gonna hear Bernie speak unless I hear it silent here now,” she continued, which only threw the crowd into further uproar.

After the crowd finally quieted, she listed a series of local grievances and then demanded four-and-a-half minutes of silence in honor of Michael Brown, the teenager killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri last year (the length of the silence reflecting the four-and-a-half hours Brown’s body lay in the street after he died).

“Bernie says that he’s all about the people and about grassroots. The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is Black Lives Matter,” Johnson added. “If you care about Black Lives Matter, as you say you do, you will hold Bernie Sanders specifically accountable for his actions.” Johnson attacked Sanders for his reaction when Black Lives Matter stormed a Netroots Nation event Sanders spoke at in July, and she also slammed him for not putting out a “criminal justice reform package” similar to fellow candidate Martin O’Malley. (RELATED: Sanders And O’Malley Shouted Off Stage At Progressive Conference)

Black Lives takes the mic.

Sanders eventually decided to stop waiting for his chance to speak, and instead left the stage to mingle with supporters. He then left for another rally he had planned for Saturday night, which a spokesperson for his campaign encouraged disappointed attendees to go to.

“I am disappointed that two people [there actually appear to have been at least three] disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare,” Sanders said in a statement put out afterwards. “I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”

This marks the second time, after the Netroots Nation event, that Democratic presidential candidates have faced a major disruption due to Black Lives Matter. Notably, though, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has yet to encounter any problems with the movement’s protesters.

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Report: Police Brutality Protests Led To Reform Measures In 24 States

Nearly one year after Michael Brown was shot and killed by former police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a series of protests against police brutality have led to 40 new police reform measures being passed in 24 states, which is just a fraction of all of the measures that have been proposed. An analysis conducted by … Continue reading Report: Police Brutality Protests Led To Reform Measures In 24 States