FERGUSON, August 21 (RIA Novosti) – Ferguson police need to hire more African-American officers to reduce racism fears in the wake of protests that sparked over the recent police killing of an unarmed African-American teenager, resident Cassandra Barton told RIA Novosti.
“I wanna see more black police officers in black communities. They try to keep black men down at a low level where opportunities are limited. Black males are harassed, so they don’t take that route and join the police,” said Barton, 50, a student of business in Ferguson.
“I don’t think there’s ever gonna be many black officers cos they’re constantly intimidated. Black man have no opportunities here. Police do racial profiling and intimidate kids to think the police are superior, rather than working with the youth trying to get something started in their community,” Barton said.
Ferguson’s population is 65 percent African-American, but its police force is mostly Caucasian. The suburb of some 21,000 people has been rocked by protests since the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, as he walked with a friend on a residential street on the afternoon of August 9.
Protests eased on Wednesday night as rainclouds sprayed the streets and following the visit of America’s top lawman, Attorney General Eric Holder, who promised a thorough federal probe to complement local investigations.
Missouri National Guard troops were deployed to staunch the violence. Law enforcers have been criticized for using military tactics on civilians, toting assault rifles and firing tear gas, rubber bullets and other heavy-handed measures.