After Making Their Case at the UN, Michael Brown’s Parents Return to Ferguson

The mother Lesley McSpadden (2nd L) and father Michael Brown Sr. (R)
The mother Lesley McSpadden (2nd L) and father Michael Brown Sr. (R)

The parents of the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson,Missouri, said on Friday they hoped their meeting with a United Nations committee would help to improve the tone of race relations in the United States.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, whose 18-year-old son Michael Brown Jr. was killed on Aug. 9, provoking weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations in Ferguson, spoke to reporters at a St. Louis airport after returning from Geneva, where they met members of the U.N. Committee on Torture.

“We were able to let the United Nations know that in the United States we were being treated unfairly and just basically expose that something should be done because this is not a year or two years, this is hundreds of years,” McSpadden said. “I hate what happened to my son but it must stop with my son.”

Officials and residents around Ferguson are waiting for a report from a grand jury, which has been meeting in secret for weeks and is expected to decide before the month’s end whether to charge officer Darren Wilson.

Many in the St. Louis area fear that another wave of rioting could follow the grand jury’s report, particularly if it decides not to bring criminal charges.

Pedestrians walk past a business boarded up in preparation for the verdict from the grand jury on th …

A suburban St. Louis school district told parents that it would dismiss students early if the grand jury report comes on a school day and said prosecutors had promised to provide the district at least three hours’ notice if the decision comes on a weekday, with 24 hours’ notice if it is made on a weekend.

“The three-hour window will allow us enough time to transport students home safely,” said Superintendent Grayling Tobias of the Hazelwood, Missouri, school district, which is adjacent to Ferguson.

The Ferguson-Florissant School District has received no such assurances that it would receive an early warning when the grand jury decides, said spokeswoman Jana Shortt.

A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch did not respond to a request for comment.

Police in Clayton, Missouri, where the grand jury is sitting, told residents they had learned that protesters were planning demonstrations for the first business day after the news breaks of whether Wilson is indicted.

A man works on the exterior of a business in Ferguson, Missouri, November 13, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Youn …

“Numerous demonstrations have taken place in our city related to the events that began in Ferguson over the summer. To date they have been largely peaceful, with few arrests,” Police Chief Kevin Murphy said in a statement on Friday. “We continue to be open to working cooperatively with organizing groups.”


Brown’s father told reporters he had welcomed the invitation to speak to the United Nations.

“I think the world understands my pain,” Brown said.

Signs of preparation for the grand jury’s decision could be seen around the area, with businesses along the Ferguson street that saw the worst of the August unrest keeping boards on their windows and some shops near the Ferguson Police Department also beginning to board up their fronts.

A worker boards up a business in preparation for a verdict from the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri …

On Thursday, private pathologist Dr. Michael Baden testified to the grand jury. Baden, hired by Brown’s family in part to try to determine whether Brown was trying to surrender when he was shot, has said Brown was shot at least six times, twice in the head.

There have been conflicting witness accounts of the shooting. Some described a struggle between Brown and Wilson and others said Brown put his hands up.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its website on Friday that Brown was shot to death less than 61 seconds after a dispatcher acknowledged a radio call from Wilson saying he had stopped Brown and his friend.

The newspaper based the finding on an analysis of emergency dispatch records and a Twitter post by an eyewitness, assuming the time on dispatcher records agreed with the witness’ smartphone clock or Twitter’s time system.

Source: Reuters
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bill Trott, Eric Beech and Paul Tait)

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