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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Two officers shot in Ferguson

Two police officers were shot during a rally in Ferguson, Missouri just after midnight, where the resignation of the police chief – and his hefty severance package – sparked protests anew amongst the community.
One officer, described by authorities as a a 41-year-old man and 14-year veteran of law enforcement from the St. Louis County Police was shot in the shoulder. The second officer, a 32-years-old and 7-year veteran from Webster Groves, was shot in the face. Both officers have sustained non-life threatening injuries, but “are in serious condition,” St. Louis police said in a statement early Thursday morning.
MORNING JOE, 3/12/15, 6:07 AM ET

Sharpton: No protester I know would condone this

The shootings come on the heels of a scathing Justice Department report, which found that the police and justice system in Ferguson disproportionately targeted blacks and engaged in abusive behavior. The city manager, a judge, and police chief have resigned, but Police Chief Thomas Jackson received a year of pay in his severance and many protesters felt more people should have lost their jobs.

St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) to address the shooting of the two officers.
Ferguson eyewitness Ivory Ned, 24, told NBC News that “tensions were running high” and there was an “aggressive atmosphere” before the shootings, as police tried to push protesters back onto the sidewalks. 
“That’s when I heard the shots ringing out,” he said, adding that he heard four shots fired. “I got down on the ground when the shots were fired. It sounded like it was around 30 feet away, coming from behind me up on the hill. I believe it was directed at the police.”
Freelance photographer Bradley Rayford said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday he saw the muzzle fire coming from the hill, as well, confirming what other witnesses told the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal that the shots did not come directly from the roughly 50 protesters.
Rayford said the protest was “pretty textbook as far as Ferguson protests go” so it was “completely unexpected how it ended.”
The latest incident comes after eight months of on-and-off protests and unrest in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year old who was shot and killed last August by a white police officer. Since his death—and the subsequent investigation and acquittal of the officer who shot him—Ferguson has become both an icon for the national protest movement against racism and police brutality. 
The events in Ferguson helped spark a protest movement across the country – often under the slogan “black lives matter,” as activists list Brown’s name with many others who died at the hands of police, like Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by police who placed him in an apparent chokehold. 
“I don’t think that is typical of what happens across the country, but it’s not an isolated incident,” President Barack Obama said last week of the Justice Department’s findings in Ferguson. “I think there are circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have broken down, and individuals or entire departments may not have the training or the accountability to make sure that they’re protecting and serving all people and not just some.”

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