Ferguson protests: Attorney General arrives in St Louis vowing to carry out 'thorough' investigation into shooting of Michael Brown - Americas - World - The Independent

Ferguson protests: Attorney General arrives in St Louis vowing to carry out 'thorough' investigation into shooting of Michael Brown

Pressure for charges to be brought against Officer Darren Wilson shows no sign of letting up

Ferguson, Missouri

Straining to put a lid on more than 10 days of rioting in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson that has drawn the attention of the world, local and national officials have taken steps to demonstrate a shared determination to get to the bottom of what triggered the violence: the 9 August shooting of Michael Brown.

As Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, arrived here for briefings from local leaders and members of his own investigative team on progress made so far by a Department of Justice human rights probe into the killing of 18-year-old Mr Brown, a St Louis County grand jury was due to meet for the first time to hear evidence in the case.

But tensions remained high after further, sometimes chaotic, clashes erupted in downtown Ferguson on Tuesday night and into the early hours of Wednesday, marring what had been a fairly peaceful evening. Police made 47 arrests and seized three loaded firearms and other projectiles including bottles filled with urine. No shots were fired, however, and, in contrast to Monday’s night’s confrontations, no tear-gas was deployed by the police.

 

In a message to the residents posted on the website of the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Mr Holder said he was committed to grasping the exact circumstances of the shooting of Mr Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, which remain in dispute. “At a time when so much may seem uncertain, the people of Ferguson can have confidence that the Justice Department intends to learn – in a fair and thorough manner – exactly what happened,” he said.

The Attorney General noted that trust between the community and police is “all-important, but it is also fragile”. Restoring it “requires that force be used in appropriate ways,” he said, an apparent jab at police for what some have a seen as a militarised response.

Attorney General Eric Holder arriving at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Attorney General Eric Holder arriving at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (AP)
Arguably the worst racial unrest seen on American soil since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the protests and the police response has opened the US to charges of hypocrisy on human rights, including from critics in Russia and Iran. “They call on others countries to guarantee free speech and not to suppress anti-government protests, while the US authorities do not stand on any ceremony at home with those who actively express their discontent with persisting inequalities,” said Moscow’s human rights chief, Konstantin Dolgov.

Video: Clashes continue in Ferguson

Fresh controversy was already threatening the grand jury process in St Louis with African American leaders calling for the dismissal from the case of chief county prosecutor Robert McCrumb, accusing him of pro-police bias. Mr McCrumb’s father was killed in the line of duty by an African-American suspect.

Mr McCrumb meanwhile warned that the grand jury might not conclude its work until mid-October, a long timeline. “On one side, people are saying you’re rushing to justice, and on the other side, they’re saying you’re dragging this thing out,” he said at a news conference. “We’re going to present this as expeditiously as possible, but we are not going to present it in a half-hearted manner.” The panel will determine if there is sufficient probable cause to file charges against Officer Wilson, as members of the Brown family and their supporters have demanded.

Michael Brown was shot and killed in a confrontation with police, sparking the riots in Ferguson Michael Brown was shot and killed in a confrontation with police, sparking the riots in Ferguson
The next possible flashpoint may be the funeral of the young man set for Monday. “I think all of us see a tinderbox of emotion and energy out there,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said in an interview with the St Louis Post-Dispatch. Among those expected to speak at the funeral is the civil rights veteran, Reverend Al Sharpton.

Sharply different versions of what happened between the officer and the teen before he was shot have emerged. Two autopsies have now shown Mr Brown was struck by six bullets and there is no debate that it was Officer Wilson who fired them and that the victim was unarmed.

But critical now is whether Mr Brown was in a posture of surrender when he was struck as some witnesses have asserted, or one of aggression towards the officer.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Programme Test Manager

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush, London

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week