Local News

St. Louis, Durham and the country rally for peace

Posted August 14, 2014
Updated August 17, 2014

— In front of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, outside the old courthouse in downtown Durham and throughout the country, groups large and small assembled Thursday night for one purpose – peace.

The effort – part of the Nationwide Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality – comes after days of rioting and looting in Ferguson, Mo., the St. Louis suburb where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager on Saturday.

The incident incited racial tensions in the small city. While Ferguson is nearly 70 percent black, the police department is nearly all-white.

Images of police in riot gear pointing assault rifles at protesters and crowds being diffused with tear gas filled television screens and news sites across the country this week. The incident has also spawned international interest, including coverage from BBC News and Al Jazeera.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri State Highway Patrol to oversee police operations in the city instead of the St. Louis County police.

On Main Street in Durham, hundreds observed a moment of silence at 7:20 p.m. Attendees were asked to wear a red ribbon to show solidarity.

Stacy Scott attended the event with her two daughters, ages 4 and 6.

“I wanted to come out tonight so my children could see this is what America is right now,” she said. “For it to be happening again 50 years later, it’s like wow, we are living in the same time as our parents and our parents’ parents grew up in.”

Michael Brown, 18, was with a friend when confronted by a Ferguson police officer for walking in the middle of the street. What happened next is under dispute – witnesses said Brown’s hands were in the air when he was shot. Police said Brown was shot during a scuffle over the officer’s gun.

The officer’s name has not been released, which some say has helped fuel the violent protests. CNN reports that the officer's name may be released Friday.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said federal officials, including the FBI, are investigating the incident with local authorities. He added there’s “no excuse” for violence from police or protesters.

“We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” he said. “Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

During the Durham event, attendees raised their arms in the air – witnesses said Brown's arms were in the air when he was shot. They also brought signs that read “don’t shoot.”

Rachel Storer wrote the phrase on her upper chest.

“Hopefully we can make a change not only in NC, but around the country,” she said.

Lamond Lilly, a local activist who was first to speak at the event, mentioned Durham protests earlier this year that resulted in tear gas and officers sporting riot gear. Jesus Huerta, 17, died in Nov. 2013 after shooting himself while handcuffed in the back of a police car. The incident led to multiple marches ending in arrest and causing damage to police cars and a police building.

Darrell Johnson, who organized Thursday's event, said what happened in Ferguson ignited a call to action.

“We are grateful that we could collect a number of people that are all about the same cause, but we just hope the work doesn’t stop here,” he said.

For Scott, the Durham mother, she hopes police and race relations improve across the country.

“I want to help,” she said. “What can I do as a black woman, as a mother, three daughters, who wants to see her children grow up and not have to worry about being shot?”


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • ptrrrk1 Aug 15, 2014

    I'm leaving America…. Why live here when a thief, that has provide nothing to the community, is considered a victim… Good luck become sub-sahara Africa….

  • 1biblethumper Aug 15, 2014

    To put things in perspective, it was only in 1995 that the Southern Baptist Church apologized for it's support of slavery. " Slaves, obey thy master" was frequently shouted from Baptist pulpits and Baptists were also staunch pro-segregationists. Want to know what there is still bad blood? Look at the facts.

  • welfarequeen Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    No, Laughs on YOU. I don't waste my time, day in - day out. online 24/7, every week, every month commenting on local events. I'm out actually at the protests, I'm out at the events, and I'm out trying to make a difference, not just complain and point fingers. You may want to try that sometimes!

  • 50s Child Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Laugh's on you, because I've been retired for several year now and there's going to be a six-figure surplus in my bank account when I kick at 97.

  • disgusted2010 Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Unfortunately NOT. They will say he was a victim of poverty, a poor disrespected black child whose great-great-great-great-great grandparents were enslaved, he was influenced by a gun, he was acting out, he was disadvantaged and only took from a rich person who preyed off poor people, he made a bad decision and any of the myriad other excuses that liberals put up rather than holding someone responsible for his/her own actions.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    or supported a LIAR during the Duke lacrosse thing...

  • ptrrrk1 Aug 15, 2014

    How stupid all of these people must feel today. Supporting a thief, they never knew….

  • Coach K is still GREAT Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Because they're "Uncle Tom's"???

  • John Jones Aug 15, 2014
    user avatar

    If most blacks think that their own people are oppressed, why is it that some excel in life, doctors, lawyers, successful business people, professional athletes, etc? Why is it? I am looking for a honest answer?

  • Coach K is still GREAT Aug 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yeah... I support cops who rape and murder, that's it!

    "Why are these heroes killing a dog every 90 minutes in America? So brave."
    I dunno... to help control the pet population...????