ST LOUIS, MO, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - The policeman who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teen in Ferguson, Missouri, was doing a “thankless job” and faced violence daily, activist Kelly Arnold told RIA Novosti during a Saturday rally in support of police in St Louis.
“I’m here support all the officers in all the surrounding counties. They’ve got a thankless job. They face the community, the unknown, not knowing if you’re going to be able to clock out at night, go home and see your family,” said Arnold, an archaeologist from Illinois.
“There are armies on the street – gangs and drug dealers – who have the same philosophy that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. If the case determines it, and you need to fire, you need to fire. It’s either you or them.”
Supporters of Darren Wilson, 28, the white policeman who killed an unarmed African-American teen and sparked a wave of protests, rallied in St Louis on Saturday as online donations for the law enforcement officer topped $300,000.
Ferguson, a mostly African-American suburb of St Louis with some 21,000 residents, has been shaken by often violent protests since Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown, an unarmed teen, as he walked with a friend on a leafy backstreet on the afternoon of August 9.
A grand jury of three African-American and nine white members began hearing the evidence on the shooting on Wednesday and is expected to decide whether to charge Wilson by mid-October. The inquiry hinges on whether Wilson fired in self-defense.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon withdrew National Guard troops on Thursday as protests calmed in recent nights. Police have been criticized for using military tactics, toting assault rifles and using tear gas, rubber bullets and other heavy-handed measures.