Tag Archives: St. Louis

Search for Suspects Continues in Ferguson Shooting that Wounded 2 Police Officers

Ferguson, Mo. – The search for suspects continues on Friday, in the shooting that wounded two police officers at a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department just after midnight on Thursday.

Reuters reported that while “investigators scoured streets near the scene of the shooting for clues” and several people were brought in for questioning after a SWAT team raided a Ferguson home, they were all later released and there have been no arrests.

On Thursday night, residents gathered to hold a candlelight vigil where they grieved for the wounded officers and prayed for the community of Ferguson as it moves forward.

The Associated Press reported that while the vigil was followed by about 200 protesters gathering outside of the police department, “the scene was a marked contrast to the previous night, when fights broke out before the shootings.”

President Obama addressed the shooting on Thursday night during an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. He called the discrimination in Ferguson “oppressive and objectionable” and “worthy of protest,” but said that there was “no excuse for criminal acts.”

Whoever fired those shots should not detract from the issue — they are criminals, they need to be arrested,” Obama said. “And then what we need to do is make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law enforcement, who have a terrifically tough job, and people who understandably don’t want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that they are able to work together to come up with some good answers.”

Obama has yet to visit the St. Louis suburb since protests initially broke out following the death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot by white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9, 2014.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that the shooting on Thursday came at a time when many in Ferguson “had expected a peaceful night,” given the fact that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson had announced his resignation on Wednesday night following the release of a scathing report from the Department of Justice that revealed racial bias and discrimination against the black community in Ferguson.

During a press conference on Thursday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that both officers, one who was shot in the shoulder and the other in the face, were lucky to be alive. Belmar called the shooting “an ambush” and said that the muzzle flashes from the suspect’s gun came from about 125 yards away, indicating that the suspect was embedded in the crowd of protestors.

In contrast, activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who is on the ground in Ferguson, told Ben Swann that the gunshots came from “an area where the protestors were not gathered.”

Those shots did not come from the protestors, contrary to what Chief Belmar said. The shots were not coming from someone who was embedded with us,” Sekou said. “As a community, we’ve been grieving for over 200 days, and we grieve with the families of the police officers.

St. Louis Police Headquarters Stormed by Protestors

What began as a peaceful march in the city of St. Louis has turned into an occupation of a local police headquarterst by protesters and other demonstrators.

The “March to the Arch” began around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning with about 75 participants. The march ended at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, where according to FOX News St. Louis, 15 protesters entered the lobby of the police headquarters and read a list of demands.

Some of the demands listed were a meeting with Police Chief Sam Dotson as well as a meeting with the St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay or the Board of Aldermen President, Lewis Reed. Apart from these meetings, the protesters also demanded the termination of a few police officers who they believe to have been involved in the use of police brutality.

The protesters also posted an eviction notice to the doors of the police headquarters which reads, according to the Free Thought Project, “We are informing you that the police department is scheduled to be reclaimed by its citizens today, December 31, 2014.” A list of reasons is then given for the eviction notice, including, “Perpetrating police brutality on our citizenry,” as well as, “Transforming the police into a militarized occupying force.”

The notice was then signed at the bottom with “We the People.”

While the 15 protesters entered the building, around 100 other protesters stayed outside. It was shortly after the demands were read inside the building that, according to RT, the officers began to issue arrests and pepper-spraying protesters.

Five people were arrested during the demonstration and are being charged with Trespassing as well as Peace Disturbance. One of those arrested is being charged with Third Degree Assault for the assault of a City Marshall inside the police headquarters.

The St. Louis Dispatch also report, “When more protesters tried to rush into the front doors, officers linked arms and grabbed some by the shoulders and pushed them to the ground.”

Breaking: St. Louis Prosecutor Says He Knew Multiple Witnesses Were Lying to Ferguson Grand Jury, Will Not Pursue Charges

St. Louis, MO- St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made his first remarks about the allegations that multiple witnesses before the Ferguson grand jury perjured themselves when testifying about the confrontation between Darren Wilson and Mike Brown.

Friday, McCulloch spoke with KTRS 550 and said that “Clearly some were not telling the truth.” McCullough continued that he’s not planning to pursue charges against any lying witnesses.

In his first extensive interview since the grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, McCulloch said he had no regrets about letting grand jury members hear from non-credible witnesses.

“Early on I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything would be presented to the grand jury,” McCulloch said. He added that he would’ve been criticized no matter his decision.

While McCulloch is correct, it is curious that he will not pursue perjury charges for witnesses who were lying under oath. According the The Smoking Gun, the website that broke the story of “Witness 40” lying about even being at the scene of the shooting, there were witnesses who lied both for and against Officer Darren Wilson.

According to the American Bar Association it is much easier to file perjury charges against someone who is testifying before a grand jury than it is to file them against someone who lies during a conventional trial. In fact, Government attorneys have brought numerous prosecutions for perjury under the federal criminal law that prohibits lying to a grand jury.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1623, it is a crime to “knowingly make . . . any false material declaration” before the grand jury. “False,” for these purposes, merely means incorrect. In contrast, the statute governing perjury in proceedings other than a grand jury requires that the false statement be made willfully—a higher standard. See 18 U.S.C. § 1621.

During a conventional trial, simply giving incorrect information because of confusion or a faulty memory will rarely bring perjury charges. Especially when the standard is for “willfully” incorrect information. In a grand jury proceeding, giving any mistakenly wrong information is a crime, let alone, willfully incorrect information.

Ben Swann interviewed Adam Goldberg with The Smoking Gun about their investigation into “Witness 40”.

Anonymous Releases Alleged Police Dispatch Audio Of Ferguson Shooting

The hacktivist group Anonymous has released what they claim to be audio files of St. Louis dispatch from August 9th, 2014, the day Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police. The audio is nearly two hours long, but throughout the clip there are bits of information from the dispatcher regarding the shooting. The first mention of Ferguson is at about 9:30 into the video:

9:30- “Ferguson is asking for assistance with crowd control”

11:16- “We just got another call stating it was an officer-involved shooting at Canfield on Copper Creek”

11:28-  “Be advised, this information came from the news”

11:54- “We’re just getting information from the news and we just called Ferguson back again and they don’t know anything about it”

43:54- “Attention all cars- be advised that in reference to the call 2947 Canfield Drive. We are switching over to the riot channel at this time”

A spokesperson for Anonymous said “the public needs to understand that there were faults in the response to Mike Brown’s shooting. For example, crowd control was requested but there was no mention of a shooting. The dispatcher was notified from a caller and Ferguson PD said they had no idea what was going on. This is all in the tapes.”

This video alleges audio coming from the St. Louis County dispatch; audio files from the Ferguson dispatch have yet to be released. Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson said on Wednesday that the 911 audio tapes are still being processed, and he apologized for the delay.

Civil Unrest Breaks out in MO After Cop Kills Unarmed Teen

According to Fox News, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in broad daylight by police last Saturday in St. Louis while walking to his grandmother’s house. Eyewitness reports allege that the teenager was unarmed, fleeing, and had his hands held high when an unidentified officer from the St. Louis-area Ferguson Police Department opened fire multiple times, killing him.

St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar claimed in a statement that the teen had pushed the officer into his squad car and attempted to grab a gun prior to the shooting, but eyewitness accounts painted a completely different picture. Dorin Johnson, a friend of Michael Brown’s who was walking with him at the time of the incident, claimed that the officer pulled up, ordered the teens to get out of the street and then reached out of his squad car, without exiting the vehicle, and grabbed Brown around the neck. The Los Angeles Times quoted bystander Piaget Crenshaw, who said, “I witnessed the police chase after the guy, full force. He ran for his life. They shot him and he fell. He put his arms up to let them know that he was compliant and he was unarmed, and they shot him twice more and he fell to the ground and died.”

The victim’s stepfather characterized the shooting as an execution. Michael Brown’s grandmother had just passed him in her car as he was walking to her house, only to find him lying dead moments later. Brown had just graduated from Normandy High School and was set to start at Vatterott College on Monday.

Brown’s body was left in the street for hours by police, and an angry crowd of residents gathered around the scene of the incident. Police formed a blockade around the location, leading to an an hours-long and heated confrontation between officers and hundreds of local citizens. Allegedly, the anger reached a fever pitch when the crowd began chanting, “kill the police.”

Since that time, chaos and unrest has broken out in St. Louis. A vigil, attended by thousands, formed in memory of Michael Brown. Protesters surrounded the Ferguson Police Department and still remain there as of Monday. Riots erupted, and, amid the chaos, at least 12 businesses were either vandalized or looted. A QuikTrip convenience store was set on fire. Anonymous-related hacktivists allegedly took down the City of Ferguson’s website. Two police officers were injured during the riots, and 32 rioters were arrested for a variety of crimes ranging from assault to burglary.

Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson asked the St. Louis County Police Department to investigate the shooting. Subsequently, county police announced on Facebook on Sunday, “The FBI will be contacted today and notified of the incident. If they choose, they may conduct a separate use-of-force investigation on this incident directly with the Ferguson Police Department.” Eric Holder also announced that the Department of Justice would look into the use of deadly force against Brown.

Said John Gaskin of the St. Louis County NAACP, “With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers… this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization.” He has called for the FBI to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting. The FBI has since announced that it will launch a probe into the circumstances surrounding the use of deadly force against Brown.

Reverend Al Sharpton released a statement on the incident, “I just spoke with Leslie McSpadden, the grandfather of Michael Brown. He has asked me to come to St. Louis in light of the police killing of his grandson to assist the family in achieving a fair investigation and justice. I assured him that National Action Network will stand with the family, as we have done for families around the country and assist in any way that we can. I am dispatching Rev. De-Ves Toon of our National Action Network field department to St. Louis immediately to prepare for my visit, and to work with groups in the area as we pursue justice in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Brown’s grandmother described him as a good kid, “My grandson never even got into a fight. He was just looking forward to getting on with his life. He was on his way.” The unidentified officer who shot him, who has been on the force for six years, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The community and victim’s family are calling for him to be fired and charged with murder.

In response to the riots, Michael Brown’s family and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles urged rioters and protesters to stop the violence.

Death of a black teenager sparks riots in Missouri

The shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police over the weekend prompted riots in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, on Sunday.

Brown was shot by police Saturday after what many sources are saying was a struggle between an unnamed officer and Brown.

St. Louis police chief, Jon Belmar, spoke at a news conference Sunday, saying Brown, another unnamed civilian, and the officer in question had met on the street outside of an apartment complex in Ferguson.  Brown then reportedly had pushed the officer back into his patrol car, according to a CBS News report from Sunday.

The officer and Brown fought inside the patrol car, and according to the New York Times, the office’s firearm came into play around this time as the two began to fight for possession of it.  Chief Belmar continued, saying at least one shot was fired inside the patrol car before the fight spilled into the street where more shots were fired, resulting in Brown’s death.

The number of shots fired has not yet been released by the police, but this same report says all shots were fired from the officer’s gun and “it was more than just a couple” shots, according to Chief Belmar.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Brown was unnarmed throughout the entire confrontation.

The second civilian who accompanied Brown has not been charged or arrested as of right now.

After the shooting Saturday, people from the surrounding area confronted police who had arrived on the scene, shouting “kill the police,” according to the AP.

On Sunday, mourners came to the site where Brown was killed and held vigils for the slain and protested what they viewed as an unjust use of force.  As the protests went on, officers showed up in riot gear in anticipation of potential violence, and people became angered at this and began to riot.

Thirty-two people were arrested over night, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, all charged with either assault, theft, burglary, or a combination of the three.

Cleanup of the incident has started this morning, but some don’t believe the rioting is over just yet.

According to the BBC, Deandre Smith, 30, of Ferguson, has said, “I don’t think it’s over honestly… I just think they got a taste of what fighting back means.”

The St. Louis Police have given all investigative information of the shooting over to the FBI, who are now in charge of determining what happened Saturday night.

The officer involved is now on paid administrative leave.