As a grand jury deliberated Friday whether to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., a growing chorus of top officials and community and religious leaders called for calm.
At least one school district canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of the imminent grand jury decision, and leaders including President Obama and U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. again called for peace.
One of the more poignant calls for restraint came this week from Michael Brown Sr., whose 18-year-old son Michael died on Aug. 9 in a volley of shots fired by Officer Darren Wilson.
“No matter what the grand jury decides, I don’t want my son’s death to be in vain,” he said in a video this week. “I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”
On Friday, Obama called for demonstrators in Ferguson to “keep protests peaceful.”
Speaking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, “This is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble, to protest actions they think are unjust, but using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”
Officials said Friday that they have been having discussions with some protest groups in an effort to minimize any difficulties once the grand jury decision is announced. Officials said there was unison on some general approaches, but no formal agreements.
“We have been dialoguing with various people in the community,” Daniel Isom, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, told reporters. “I believe we have some understanding on how we’ll act.”
To demonstrators who want to be heard, he said: “We hear you. We are listening.” To property owners: “We are going to protect your businesses” so they can keep communities strong.
Source: The LA Times |