Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Fresh unrest in riot-hit US town

Ferguson unrest: New clashes as Obama urges calmA new poll by the Pew Research Center has found US reaction to the police killing of Michael Brown falls along distinct racial lines.
  • Timeline of shooting
US police fired tear gas to disperse protesters and made several arrests in another night of unrest in the town of Ferguson in the state of Missouri.
Unrest flared hours after President Obama called for calm following the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on 9 August.
The US attorney general is due to visit Ferguson on Wednesday to meet federal officials investigating the killing.
The National Guard has been deployed to support police operations.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced the deployment on Monday, in addition to lifting a night-time curfew imposed on the weekend.
Police and protesters clashed again, 10 days after an officer shot dead an unarmed black teenagerThe killing of Mr Brown by a white policeman in a street has inflamed racial tensions in the largely black community of Ferguson.
Officer Darren Wilson shot the teenager last week after reportedly stopping him for walking in the street.
‘Stir chaos’Police captain Ron Johnson, who runs the operation in Ferguson, said officers were forced to move in on Tuesday after demonstrators threw bottles and two people were injured by gunfire.
Security forces also ordered the media to leave when the protesters refused to clear a main road.
Footage showed police arresting several protesters, as lines of armed officers faced up to crowds of protesters.
A photographer working for Getty Images agency was among those detained, though he was freed after a few hours.
Officers made several arrests on Monday night as the violence escalatedA protester had milk poured over his face to counter the effects of tear gasThe killing has exposed racial tensions in the majority-black suburb of St LouisIn an earlier statement, US Attorney General Eric Holder said he would “personally travel” to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet FBI investigators and prosecutors.
“I realise there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public patience as we conduct this investigation,” Mr Holder said.
And he stressed that the investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Mr Brown was “a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond”.
Separately, President Barack Obama said he understood the “passions and anger” provoked by the death of the teenager.
President Obama: Looting and attacks on police “undermine rather than advance justice”
But he said giving into anger “by looting or carrying guns and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos”.
Mr Obama said he recognised that in many communities in the US a “gulf of mistrust” existed between local residents and law enforcement.
“In too many communities, too many young men of colour are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” he said.
  • 6% Police officers are black
  • 9% Unemployed
  • 21% Families living below the poverty line
US Census, American Community Survey, Ferguson City PoliceGettyPathologist Dr Michael Baden indicates where a gunshot struck Michael BrownEarlier, a former New York pathologist hired by Mr Brown’s family performed an independent post-mortem examination.
Dr Michael Baden said he believed six bullets struck the teenager, two of which may have re-entered.
“All of the gunshot wounds could have been survivable, except the one at the top of the head,” he said.
Dr Baden said there were no signs of a struggle, as abrasions around the teenager’s face were likely from falling to the pavement after being shot.
He also believed Mr Wilson did not shoot him at close range as there was no gunpowder residue on his body, suggesting the officer was more than 2ft (60cm) away.
Family lawyer Benjamin Crump said autopsy results backed up the witness accounts
Witnesses have said Mr Brown was shot as he held his hands up in a position of surrender, while the police and supporters of Mr Wilson have said he fired during a fight with Mr Brown.
The officer who shot Mr Brown, Darren Wilson, has been suspended with pay since the shooting.
Mr Brown’s family have called for the officer to be arrested and prosecuted.
Another post-mortem on Mr Brown will be conducted by the US justice department, in addition to examinations by Dr Baden and St Louis county officials.
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