Calls for an independent probe of the shooting death of an unarmed, African-American teenager in suburban St. Louis have been heard. The FBI is launching an investigation into why a police officer pulled a gun on Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was supposed to start college today.
Brown’s death has sparked anger and frustration in Ferguson–a working class, largely African American suburb–which erupted with rioting over the weekend. As one witness put it, “Police shot this man for no good reason.” NBC News spoke with an eyewitness. Watch:
It’s an issue that hits close to home in Chicago where African Americans are 10 times more likely to be shot by a Chicago police officer than a white person. In May, police accountability activists met at President Obama’s home church in Chicago to highlight what they say is “a period of crisis” for police abuse across the country. Activists in Ferguson are following their lead, circulating a list of demands for more transparency by local law enforcement agencies.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch echoed those concerns over the weekend calling for a federal investigation to help “instill the sort of trust that might calm some of the justified anger over the shooting,” which the paper points out comes amid an ongoing federal complaint of racial profiling by the department.
“Michael Brown didn’t get due process,” the editorial board wrote. “The still unnamed police officer who shot the 18-year-old black teenager dead in Ferguson will get plenty of it.”
“This is the root of the frustration that is driving the African-American community to the streets in north St. Louis County over yet another senseless killing of a young black man.”