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August 21, 2014

Ferguson residents speak up about protests

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Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have urged for peace in their town following weeks of protests over the killing of an unarmed teen by a police officer.

Eyewitnesses say 18-year-old Michael Brown was unarmed and had his hands in the air when officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him. An autopsy report suggested that Brown was in a position of surrender when he was shot six times.

The incident ignited racial tension in a community where the majority population is black and 50 out of 53 police officers is white. But many have urged for calm after days of unrest.

George Paige, a Ferguson resident, said it was important to him to set a good example for the community’s young people.

“Some days, I can’t be mad because somebody’s got to have structure for those young people. We have got to have a level head for them young people,” he said.

Cheryl Frager said that peace is necessary for justice. “Rioting and justice cannot go hand-in-hand,” she said. “We have to have peace. And police have to go home to their families and be able to protect and serve everybody, not just one race.”

Angelique Kidd, who participated in street protests for five days, described the community as “heartbroken.”

The incident has raised questions about the role of the police who used tear gas to control protests and arrested several journalists.

“It bothers me, you know, since the police feel like they can do whatever they want, because that’s not true,” Ahyria Butler, a 23-year-old Ferguson resident, said.

Coverage of the events also raised questions about the role of social media to spread information and misinformation.


Warm up questions
  1. Where is Ferguson, Missouri?
  2. What have you heard so far about the Michael Brown shooting?
Critical thinking questions
  1. How does freedom of the press play a role in an event like Michael Brown’s shooting? How does it affect freedom of the press to detain or arrest journalists?
  2. What should the police do during protests? What is their responsibility to the community, and how can they fulfill it?
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