People in Ferguson, Missouri, are commemorating the first anniversary of the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
On the eve of Sunday’s anniversary, several hundred marched through Ferguson in his honor, led by his father.
The shooting of Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson sparked demonstrations across America.
Along with killings of unarmed black men elsewhere in the US, it also fuelled a national protest movement against racial bias by the police.
Activists and religious figures from across the country are among those who have gathered this weekend in Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis, Missouri.
Saturday’s rally was peaceful and heavily policed.
Michael Brown’s father, also called Michael, said: “Some families got justice through Michael Brown’s legacy, and that helped them. But I’m still trying to get through.”
On Sunday, a march is planned from the site of the shooting to a local church.
Participants are expected to observe a four and a half minute silence to reflect the approximately four-and-a-half hours that Michael Brown’s body lay in the street.
The protests, which sometimes involved violent clashes between demonstrators and police, continued in Ferguson for weeks after the killing.
The protest movement gained fresh impetus in November, when a grand jury decided not to charge Darren Wilson.
Officer Darren Wilson, who argued that he was acting in self-defense, resigned from the police force in November.
In March, a justice department investigation found evidence of widespread racial bias in the Ferguson police department.
The report led to several high profile resignations, including the chief of police.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement that emerged in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death has focused attention on the troubled relationship between black communities and police forces in a number of US states.
Ferguson police have stopped protesters angry over the shooting of Michael Brown last month from trying to block a nearby highway.
Police said 35 people were arrested as they tried to reach the Interstate 70 highway, but added that the protest was largely peaceful.
Many in Ferguson, Missouri, have demanded the arrest of white police officer Darren Wilson who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.
Officer Darren Wilson has been on administrative leave since last month.
Police said 32 people were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly, with four people arrested on assault charges.
Organizers said the protest was specifically held in the same location as a similar demonstration in 1999.
On September 9, city leaders, mostly white, were heckled by the largely black crowd of residents at Ferguson’s first city council meeting since the shooting.
Ferguson police have stopped protesters angry over the shooting of Michael Brown last month from trying to block a nearby highway
“You’ve lost your authority to govern this community,” said St Louis activist John Chasnoff.
“You’re going to have to step aside peacefully if this community is going to heal.”
Many of the audience held up their hands in a gesture that has been used to protest at Michael Brown’s killing.
Michael Brown’s supporters say the teenager was trying to surrender when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson after being stopped for walking in the middle of the street.
Ferguson, which has a population of 21,000, is a majority black city. Many residents questioned why the mayor, James Knowles, and five of the six city council members were white.
“I heard the mayor say Ferguson doesn’t have a race problem,” said resident Taurean Russell.
“There must be two Fergusons.”
Before the meeting, council officials announced proposals to reduce the revenue collected from court fines.
Critics have said this discriminates against low-income defendants who cannot afford private attorneys and who are often jailed for not paying the fines quickly enough.
However, the proposals were drowned out by anger from the audience who said nothing had changed since Michael Brown’s shooting.
There were demands for the arrest of Darren Wilson who is currently on administrative leave from the Ferguson Police Department while a grand jury determines whether charges should be filed against him.
Last week, the US Justice Department announced it was launching a broad investigation into whether there was racial discrimination in the department.
This is separate from a federal inquiry and the grand jury investigation into Michael Brown’s killing.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has formally lifted the state of emergency that he had declared in Ferguson last month.
Jay Nixon had declared state of emergency on August 19, following demonstrations against the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead after being stopped for jaywalking.
Jay Nixon said people were “getting back to their normal routines” and the order was no longer needed.
“This progress is a testament to the efforts of community and faith leaders, working alongside state and local law enforcement officers, to bring peace to the streets of Ferguson and much-needed stability to its citizens,” the governor said in a statement.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has formally lifted the state of emergency that he had declared in Ferguson last month (photo Reuters)
Michael Brown was killed on August 9 after white police officer Darren Wilson stopped him and a friend for walking in the middle of the street.
Eye-witnesses have said Michael Brown raised his hands in a gesture of surrender before he was shot multiple times by Darren Wilson.
Police accounts have disputed this, saying there was a struggle between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson which led to the shooting.
Many local residents saw the crime as an example of white police brutality.
Ferguson’s police force is more than 90% white, while its population is more than 60% black.
Protestors say police officer Darren Wilson, who has been place on administrative leave, has not been adequately punished.
A St Louis County grand jury has begun hearing evidence about the killing and will decide whether or not to charge Darren Wilson with a crime.
The US Justice Department has opened its own investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown.
Last week, the Ferguson police began using body cameras to record interactions with the public.
Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, are now wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over Michael Brown’s killing.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot multiple times by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, sparking nearly three weeks of angry protests in the St. Louis suburb and drawing global attention to race relations in the US.
Law enforcement and witnesses gave differing accounts of what transpired before Michael Brown was shot, with police saying the teen had struggled with the officer. Witnesses say Michael Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.
The discrepancy has revived calls for officers across the county to be outfitted with body cameras to help capture an accurate record of police-involved incidents.
Police officers in Ferguson are now wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over Michael Brown’s killing (photo AP)
The policy has the support of scores of law enforcement agencies and the American Civil Liberties Union. Opponents say the cameras could be an invasion of privacy and deter people from approaching police with a tip.
During protests on Saturday, Ferguson officers began wearing small body cameras clipped to their uniforms that recorded crowds, conversations and even some taunts by demonstrators, a police official said on Sunday.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the cameras have been well received by officers.
The cameras were donated by two video surveillance companies, Safety Visions and Digital Ally. In a statement on its website, Safety Vision said it donated the cameras in the hopes that they could bring transparency to future investigations.
“The city of Ferguson has gone through an unfortunate series of events and Safety Vision body cameras and flashlight DVR will assist in capturing prima facie evidence for investigations involving vandalism, looting, and shots fired,” the statement said.
Some stores were looted in nightly protests, and police responded with riot gear and moved in military equipment to try to quell the turmoil.
A St. Louis County grand jury has begun hearing evidence about Michael Brown’s killing and the US Justice Department has opened its own investigation.
Vigils have been held across the US in honor of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by police in Missouri.
Moments of silence and protests were held in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and elsewhere, five days after Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot.
After four nights of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown died, state police took charge of security.
In contrast on Thursday evening, state troopers and local police walked with protestors, shaking their hands.
Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, an African-American who grew up nearby, was named as the new head of the operation.
As he walked at the front of a march through the streets, he was seen hugging people he met.
“We all want justice. We all want answers,” Ronald Johnson said.
For the first time, the reverberations from this Midwest town were felt nationwide with dozens of vigils organized by a social media campaign.
Vigils have been held across the US in honor of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by police in Missouri
The event in Washington DC was attended by hundreds of people in Malcolm X Park, many holding placards saying: “Hands up. Don’t shoot”.
Similar vigils were held in New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and many other cities.
They came at the end of a day when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had likened the scenes of violence in Ferguson to a “war zone” and the police conduct was questioned.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the use of military equipment and vehicles in Ferguson had sent a “conflicting message”, while President Barack Obama said there was no excuse for police using “excessive force”.
Governor Jay Nixon then announced that the state highway patrol would direct the security operation.
Hours later, reporter Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post summed up the change in atmosphere on the streets of Ferguson.
“At this time at night on Monday, residents were in real fear for their lives,” he said.
“Tonight they’re taking selfies with cops.”
The tension in Ferguson had been sparked by the death of Michael Brown on Saturday afternoon.
Details about the incident have been disputed but eyewitnesses said the unarmed teenager had his arms raised when he was shot multiple times by a police officer.
Police say there was a struggle and the officer suffered facial injuries.
The authorities are under pressure to release the officer’s name, but they say they are worried that his life and that of his family could be in danger.
Four nights of violence have seen heavily armed riot police firing tear gas at demonstrators and looting, arson and the throwing of bottles and Molotov cocktails.
Protesters and police have clashed again in Ferguson, Missouri, during a fourth night of unrest since black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by police.
Crowds gathered in the St Louis suburb on Wednesday night despite a police order to leave by the end of the day. Tear gas was fired at angry protesters.
Eyewitnesses have said Michael Brown, 18, had his arms raised when he was shot dead by an officer on Saturday.
Police say there was a struggle and the officer suffered facial injuries.
Earlier on Wednesday, the St Louis County Police Department asked protesters to gather only in the daylight hours and to disperse “well before the evening hours” for safety reasons.
The plea came after three nights of tense, sometimes violent protests that resulted in dozens of arrests, looting and the burning of a shop.
Protesters and police have clashed again in Ferguson, Missouri, during a fourth night of unrest since black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by police (photo AP)
Despite this appeal to stay away, and an earlier call for calm from President Barack Obama, the anger seemed as palpable as ever on the streets of Ferguson on Wednesday night.
Heavily armored vehicles blocked off streets and protesters linked arms defiantly as they were told through loudspeakers to leave the area or face arrest.
Molotov cocktails were thrown at lines of police and they launched smoke bombs and fired tear gas.
Two journalists were briefly detained by police earlier on Wednesday while working inside a McDonald’s restaurant.
One of them, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, later tweeted: “Apparently, in America, in 2014, police can manhandle you, take you into custody, put you in cell & then open the door like it didn’t happen.”
Civil rights activists and Michael Brown’s family and friends have called for an end to violent clashes with the police, while also demanding the Ferguson police department release the name of the officer who shot and killed the teen.
Police say the officer has not been named because his life would be in danger.
President Barack Obama has promised a full investigation by the US Department of Justice into Michael Brown’s death, and the FBI has launched its own inquiry.
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