WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The latest protests in Ferguson, Missouri erupted because people do not believe justice will be reached when anyone is shot by police, Action Council member and University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Anthropology Sarah Lacy told Sputnik.
“We need an independent investigatory board… but we do not have that,” Lacy stated on Monday. “The people do not believe justice will ever be served… especially when men and women of color are the victim.”
On Sunday, police shot and critically injured an 18-year-old African American man, Tyrone Harris, in an exchange of gunfire during demonstrations marking the killing by police of another African American man, Michael Brown, a year ago.
“I think the vast majority of the protestors behaved in a way that did not warrant riot gear, tear gas and tanks,” Lacy said.
The Ferguson police had needlessly escalated the situation in their attempts to prepare for violent behavior, the activist added.
“People in our community are tired of being occupied by a militarized police force,” Lacy explained. “Of course they are going to push back.”
Lacy also charged that Monday’s protests had turned violent because the militarized police had provoked them.
“Many people choose peaceful methods, but it is not surprising that young people here would use the same methods utilized across the global in situations of state occupation: returning violence with violence,” she noted.
A year after Michael Brown’s death, the Ferguson police still badly lacked sufficient training in de-escalation tactics, Lacy pointed out.
“They use the training they have,” she said.
On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot dead unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Sarah Lacy also claims that local police provoked the latest violent clashes in Ferguson, Missouri by over-preparing for violent behavior.
“I cannot say that I am surprised, but it is nonetheless devastating,” Lacy said on Monday. “Any protestor that stepped out [on] Sunday night, knew they would be met with riot cops. This is not conditions for a quiet night.”
Lacy said the police had come to the streets prepared for a confrontation and violent clashes, not for peaceful demonstrations.
“The hard cold stares the Ferguson police were giving peaceful protestors earlier in the day did not bode well for what would occur after dark,” she noted.
The activist also criticized Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for signaling that he supported a confrontational policy by the police.
“Governor Nixon has already stated that the state police were ‘very prepared’ for Sunday and any protestor that stepped out Sunday night knew they would be met with riot cops,” Lacey said.