More than a hundred protesters gathered at the same location where riot police looking more like soldiers than cops had fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd Monday night. The crowd chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which has been a rallying cry since Saturday when some witnesses said the unarmed Brown put up his hands before being gunned down by an as-yet unnamed officer of the 50-member Ferguson police force, which has just three black officers in a town that is 69 percent black.
Large gatherings took place at two churches. A racially mixed crowd of some 400 heard Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III, among others, speak at Christ the King United Church of Christ. Nixon told the crowd: “Justice must not simply be pursued, but in fact achieved. Instead of burning bridges in anger, we must rebuild them with love.” Jackson said: “I want what you want. I want the truth and I want justice and I want it as soon as possible.”
At the greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, a standing-room-only crowd chanted and cheered as they waited for the Rev. Al Sharpton to speak:
When he took the pulpit, he led them in a thunderous chant, “No justice, no peace.” He noted that Ferguson has only a few black police officers and that most of the arrests are of black people.Owners of several gun stores in the region reported higher sales for firearms than usual.
“You’ve got issues in this city,” Sharpton said. People jumped to their feet when he spoke of seeking the truth and said, “As soon as you turn on the lights, the roaches start running.”
Outside the church on Chambers, several hundred people marched back and forth, their leaders urging everyone to be peaceful. A man yelled into a bullhorn, “The whole world is watching... We are going to do this the right way. No violence, just justice.”
Meanwhile, St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt said another witness has come forward. Pruitt said the unnamed person “did not see Michael Brown struggling with the police officer inside his car at any point. They did witness the incident from the time it started from the time of the initial stop by the police car.” Pruitt has set up an interview with the witness with the FBI, which is investigating the shooting together with local police.