A policeman’s fatal shooting of a black teenager 115 days ago made a St. Louis suburb a national epicenter of racial hostility, law enforcement frustration, outsider agitation — and yes, peaceful protest.
And now all involved are bracing for the aftershock: a decision from a grand jury’s closed-door investigation of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s actions on August 9 when he shot and killed Michael Brown.
For protest organizers who have been on the ground since August 10, there will be a coordinated response, whatever the decision.
DeRay McKesson, an online organizer, has issued a “No indictment” planning site, including a recruiting page for “all lawyers, legal workers and law students of conscience in anticipation of a major reaction to the (non or under) indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.”
McKesson, who has managed a centralized communication site and social media in the past 115 days of demonstrations, “die-ins,” and a campus rally at St. Louis University, insists that most of their activities have been peaceful.
“There is a community that has been formed in the past 100-plus days that knows how to manage itself, ” he told Missourinet. “I believe in that community to maintain peace whether we are celebrating or protesting in frustration.”
McKesson says he is worried about the law enforcement response.
“I think that the police can do whatever they want and they’ve shown that they will, so I can see there being a dangerous situation, but not because of the protestors.”
And what about the looters and vandals that damaged businesses and caused distrust of protestors early on?
“I can’t give away our strategy,” McKesson retorted, “But there are plans in place for people who want to exploit the movement.”
“We don’t support riots,” he added. “There are people out there who want to exploit pain and suffering, and that is real. What is different about this movement is that this is a community, this is no longer strangers who went outside and said this is unacceptable–which is what happened August 9.
“I believe in the strength of the protestor community to withstand people coming and potentially exploiting this movement and the moments around this movement for their own personal gain.”