Ferguson protests, riots hit home for Triangle residents
Posted August 18
Durham, N.C. — The protests, the riots, the looting – they are more than 800 miles from the Triangle, but for some, Ferguson, Mo., feels much closer.
There are conflicting reports about what exactly happened on Aug. 9 when 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb.
But no matter what led to his death, the series of events that have followed have struck a cord with many black Americans, including locally.
"It's anger with the police departments here in Durham and Raleigh and all over the country," Irving Joyner, a law professor at North Carolina Central University, said Monday. "It is an ongoing fuel that can ignite any time."
With cases like the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., and the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died last month while in police custody, Joyner says the tension continues to build.
Licensed psychologist Tonya Armstrong says many African-Americans see such cases as proof that their community has much to overcome – a particularly hard reality for youth.
"Some of the behaviors we are seeing are as a result of their responses and their shock that racism is still alive and well in America," Armstrong said.
Armstrong says she believes frustration and anger are the reason for the looting and violence in Ferguson. She says it's easy for people to turn to negative behaviors to cope.
"I really encourage our communities of color as well as Americans at-large to think about what leads to healing in our country," she said.