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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Obama plans meeting on Ferguson

A clergy member assists a protester as he is taken to the ground on Sunday at Kiener Plaza. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Laurie Skrivan)
A clergy member assists a protester as he is taken to the ground on Sunday at Kiener Plaza. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Laurie Skrivan)

President Barack Obama planned to hold meetings Monday on the Ferguson situation, and a few members of the St. Louis Rams football team showed their support for protesters who have been rallying in the streets and at retail stores since a grand jury’s decision a week ago not to indict the white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old.

Here’s a look at the latest developments in the response to the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case:



Obama was convening his Cabinet on Monday to focus on his administration’s review of federal programs that provide military-style equipment to law enforcement agencies, which drew attention after the police response to the protests since Brown’s death on Aug. 9.

The White House said the president also was hosting two other meetings, one with young civil rights leaders to discuss the challenges posed by “mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color,” and another with government and law enforcement officials and community leaders to discuss how to strengthen neighborhoods.



During the first Rams’ home game since the grand jury’s decision, five players stood with their hands raised before trotting on to the field for Sunday’s pregame introductions — an apparent show of compassion and solidarity for Ferguson protesters.

Some witnesses had said Brown had his hands up before being fatally shot by Wilson, but Wilson told the grand jury that he feared for his life when Brown hit him and reached for his gun.

“I just think there has to be a change,” tight end Jared Cook said after the Rams’ 52-0 rout of the Raiders. “There has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.

Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, followed by Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens. All stood together with hands raised in fog created by a smoke machine.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he’d not been aware the gesture had been planned by the players, all of them black.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association said in a statement, posted by St. Louis TV station KSDK, that it was “profoundly disappointed” with the players for “a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.” The association also called on the players to be disciplined and for the NFL to apologize.



Mayor James Knowles told reporters Sunday that Wilson received no pay or benefits after resigning.

Wilson wrote in his resignation letter that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”

Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, told The Associated Press that Wilson decided to step aside after police Chief Tom Jackson told him about the alleged threats Saturday.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown’s family, said the family is still considering civil litigation, “but don’t let that get confused with the fact that they really wanted the killer of their child to be held accountable.”

Wilson, 28, had been with the department for less than three years.



Brown was unarmed when he was killed by Wilson following a confrontation in a Ferguson street.

The shooting stirred racial tensions and led to numerous protests in Ferguson, a predominantly black community patrolled by a mostly white police force. A grand jury was assembled to investigate the shooting, and its nine white and three black members spent three months hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses. Their decision not to indict Wilson was announced last Monday night, prompting violent protests and looting that resulted in at least a dozen commercial buildings being destroyed.



The U.S. Justice Department has its own investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges, but investigators would need to satisfy a rigorous standard of proof. The federal agency also has launched a broad investigation into the Ferguson Police Department.


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