Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson falls quiet as race campaigners rally across the US

Tensions ease after responsibility for security handed from local to state police

A tentative calm took hold in Ferguson, Missouri on Thursday night, as police in the St Louis suburb shed their riot gear to walk alongside demonstrators after a week of violent clashes. Hundreds of campaigners took to the streets there and in cities across the US in remembrance of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a Ferguson police officer last Saturday.

The peaceful protests came after four straight nights in which heavily armed officers had fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators, leading to widespread condemnation of their aggressive tactics and calls for the demilitarisation of police in the US.

On Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon turned over responsibility for security in Ferguson from the local police to the State Highway Patrol, led by Captain Ronald Johnson, who is both black and a former Ferguson resident. Johnson told demonstrators on the street that they could remain there peacefully for as long as they wanted, and that his officers were there to “protect the safety of the community”.

Johnson told the Washington Post he was troubled by the breakdown in relations between police and residents. “When I see a young lady cry because of fear of this uniform, that’s a problem,” he said. “We’ve got to solve that.”

Capt. Ronald Johnson walks among demonstrators last night Capt. Ronald Johnson walks among demonstrators last night Thousands attended vigils and protests on Brown’s behalf in New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta. The details of the 18-year-old’s death remain disputed. Ferguson police have so far declined to name the officer involved, but insist there was a struggle which left him with facial injuries. Other witnesses said Brown had his arms raised when the officer shot him multiple times.

Video: Police and protesters clash

The incident has inflamed existing racial tensions in a town with an overwhelmingly African-American community, but where only three of 53 police officers are black.

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama appealed for “peace and calm” in Ferguson following the unrest. Speaking from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where he is on holiday, the President condemned the looting and violence reportedly directed at police, but said there was “no excuse” for the excessive force used by law enforcement.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police He also urged the police to be “open and transparent” about the facts of Brown’s shooting.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
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

Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Back End Web Developer

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£36500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenan...

The Jenrick Group: Multi Skilled Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Multi Skill...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'