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Ferguson: One year later

August 9, 2015

A moment of silence has marked the anniversary of the killing of black unarmed teenager Michael Brown in the US town of Ferguson. A year on, the event has galvanized a national movement against police brutality.

USA Gedenken an Michael Brown in Ferguson Schweigemarsch
Image: DW/G. Schließ

A march began late Sunday morning where 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black resident of Ferguson, was fatally shot by city officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.

The police killing of Brown, who was unarmed, sparked a wave of unrest with nights of protesting and clashes with the city police department and Missouri national guard troops.

A grand jury and the US Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November, but the shooting touched off a national "Black Lives Matter" movement.

"I hurt every day. But I'm trying to make it uncomfortable to people that think this is OK to do this stuff," said Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr. "It might help other families out."

One year ago, on 09 August 2014, a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. His death and subsequent killings by police around the country of other unarmed blacks triggered riots, protests and outrage over police brutality.
Brown's death and subsequent killings by police around the country triggered riots and protestsImage: picture-alliance/dpa/L.-W. Smith

While Wilson was exonerated in the shooting, a separate report by the US Justice Department cited racial bias and profiling in policing as well as a profit-driven municipal court system that often targeted black residents, who make up about two-thirds of the city population.

Ferguson's embattled city manager, police chief and municipal judge resigned within days of that report. All four were white.

The new judge, interim city manager and interim police chief are all black.

National backlash against police

But the story in Ferguson goes beyond one city's heavy-handed police department and an institutionally racist city administration that bilked its residents. The killing of Michael Brown - and others like him - has led to a nationwide movement questioning the use of deadly force, especially against ethnic minorities.

Organizers of Sunday's march say the near-universal outrage has been fueled by Brown's death, and the killing of other unarmed black men in US cities like New York, Cleveland and Baltimore at the hands of police.

"There are so many killings going on around the country. People are mad, here and everywhere," said Yvette Harris, a black woman who founded the St. Louis-area nonprofit Mothers Against Senseless Killings after her 17-year-old son died in 2001 in a gang-related shooting. "It will be a long time before there is a healing," she told Reuters.

Unarmed teen shot in Texas

Another name was added to the count Friday when 19-year-old Christian Taylor, a black college student, was shot by a white police officer in Arlington, Texas. The young man was unarmed.

A police officer in suburban Dallas shot and killed Taylor, a Angelo State University football player during a struggle after the unarmed 19-year-old crashed a car through the front window of a car dealership, authorities said Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.
Taylor was shot and killed after he crashed a car through the front window of a car dealershipImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Arlington police said Taylor was shot during a burglary investigation; the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the probe.

But the focus of Sunday's events is largely on Brown, who graduated from high school weeks before the shooting and who friends and family said planned to study heating and air conditioning servicing.

jar/cmk (AFP, Reuters)