Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen, was fatally shot on Aug. 8, 2014, during an altercation with police

By Steve Helling
August 10, 2020 06:01 PM

Protests in Ferguson, Missouri, turned contentious on Sunday night when police charged the demonstrators, using batons and pepper spray to subdue them.

According to Newsweek, a large crowd gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department headquarters to protest the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old who had been shot and killed by an officer in 2014. The protests came on the sixth anniversary of Brown's death.

According to a tweet by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Rachel Rice, protestors blocked traffic and danced in the street in front of the headquarters. Some demonstrators may have moved a temporary gate from the front of police headquarters. Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., was on the scene, according to Rice.

Police officers in full riot gear later faced off against protesters. Eventually, they advanced towards the crowd.

"Police just told protesters to move back, and then police advanced and sprayed pepper spray," Rice tweeted, along with a video of the scene. "Bottles were thrown after the advance."

One of the protestors posted a video on YouTube showing the chaos of the scene.

Brown was fatally shot on Aug. 8, 2014, during an altercation with the police. His body was left in the street for four hours.

The incident sparked protests in the city and led to nationwide discussions over systemic racism and police brutality. At the time, critics called the slaying an act of racial prejudice, but Wilson — who resigned from the force in November 2014 — said he acted in self-defense.

In late 2014, a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson. The following year, the U.S. Department of Justice found insufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson and formally closed the investigation it conducted, stating in an 86-page report: “Wilson fired at Brown in what appeared to be self-defense and stopped firing once Brown fell to the ground.”

Brown's family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson under Missouri's wrongful death statute in 2015. The family settled with the city two years later for $1.5 million.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.