In Ferguson, demonstrations over black youth’s slaying by police officer peter out
FERGUSON, Mo. — Business owners and residents boarded up windows and cleared away debris Wednesday as Ferguson sought a tentative return to normal after two nights of unrest over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown slaying case.
Protesters continued to hold scattered demonstrations, including a group that rushed into St. Louis City Hall screaming, “Shame! Shame!” Police locked down the building and called in more than 100 extra officers. Three people were arrested.
About 200 demonstrators marched through downtown St. Louis and held a mock trial of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Brown, who was black, during the Aug. 9 struggle.
An influx of guardsmen helped make Tuesday night much less tense, though there were 58 arrests, and demonstrators in Ferguson set fire to a squad car and broke windows at City Hall.
On Wednesday, many residents hoped that the relative calm of the daylight hours would last through the night and into Thanksgiving.
A few hours after nightfall, National Guard troops with rifles were posted at intersections and in several parking lots in the area where stores had been looted and burned for two days.
There were no protesters in sight.
About a dozen people painted over boarded-up windows on businesses in the St. Louis suburb’s historic downtown, where National Guardsmen were stationed.
“This is my Ferguson, you know?” said Kari Hobbs, 28, as she watched 17-year-old Molly Rogers paint “Love Will Win” in bright pink on a board that covered a smashed window at Cathy’s Kitchen, a restaurant not far from the Ferguson Police Department.
Cities across the nation — including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland and Dallas — recovered from largely peaceful demonstrations.
But the war of words escalated.
Wilson said in an interview that aired on ABC on Tuesday that Brown charged at him. There was nothing he could have done differently, the officer said.
In appearances on NBC and CBS on Wednesday, Brown’s parents sharply disagreed with Wilson’s version of his confrontation with her son.
“I don’t believe a word of it,” Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said on “CBS This Morning.”
“I know my son … far too well to — he would never do anything like that. He would never provoke anyone to do anything to him, and he wouldn’t do anything to anybody. I don’t believe a word of it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Wilson’s attorneys told The Washington Post how the officer has lived in hiding for nearly four months, bouncing from house to house and rarely going out in public.
Although the Ferguson Police Department has not officially made a determination about Wilson, the decision makes little difference, his lawyers said. Wilson won’t be returning to that department or any other.
“At first (his thinking) was, ‘I want to go back. I’m a cop,’ ” lawyer Danielle Thompson said. “It took some time for him to realize that wasn’t exactly going to be what happened.”
Attorney James Towey added: “I think I expressed to him, ‘Do you realize your first call (back on the job) will be to a blind alley where you’re executed?’ ”