FERGUSON, August 21 (RIA Novosti) – The police and court system are stacked against African-American residents of Ferguson, the suburb that has been riven by protests since the police killing of an unarmed black teen, resident Webster Morris told RIA Novosti.
“Once upon a time the law said you’re innocent until proven guilty. Today you’re guilty and you have to prove yourself innocent. There are people in Ferguson who cannot afford attorneys and may not have been taught how to talk to a police officer,” said Morris, co-owner of a clothing store.
“So they talk in their own language, even if that’s not the smartest way to be. So the police need to be trained so that they understand the community they are working in, so that they understand these young people are not being hostile.”
Ferguson, a predominantly African-American suburb of St Louis of some 21,000 residents, 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 thanks to the effects of rain and a visit by 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 bringing military tactics to civilian protests, toting assault rifles and using tear gas, rubber bullets and other heavy-handed measures.