Sunday, Aug. 9, 2014 marked a day that would change lives and history. Ferguson, Mo. teen, Michael Brown, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson. Brown was unarmed and the circumstances surrounding his death sparked national cries for investigation and justice. Some say his death also strengthened a renewed civil rights awareness and movement, shedding light on hundreds of other cases and a pattern of law enforcement practices that have disenfranchised people of color for generations.
According to reports yesterday, organizations and activists hosted peaceful vigils in remembrance of Brown’s death across the country, from Ferguson to the west coast, but in the very area where he died, peace turned into chaos after gunfire was exchanged between a teen and police.
Police indicate, Tyrone Harris, 18, of St. Louis used a stolen handgun to fire shots at police officers. Harris is being charged with four counts of first-degree assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action and one count of discharging a firearm at a motor vehicle. As of this afternoon, Harris is in a hospital in critical condition and is being held on a $250,000 cash-only bond. Authorities say he was not a protester and was being tracked by police as the anniversary activities were happening after he opened fire on police.
In another incident, close to 40 protesters, including prominent activist Cornel West, were arrested during the rally in front of the federal courthouse in St. Louis. The rally, part of the ‘Day of Civil Disobedience’ march, began at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in St. Louis and ended at the Thomas F. Eagleton federal courthouse, where dozens formed a living chain.
After those arrests, state officials have also called a state of emergency in St. Louis County.
Despite these incidents, activists and community leaders are calling for peace and more focus on driving change that will unify citizens and ensure equal and fair treatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement. Also, women’s rights activists seek to ensure that female cases are remembered, especially in the aftermath of Sandra Bland’s recent arrest and death after being in police custody in Texas.