Ferguson Community Continues Calls For Answers In Shooting
ARUN RATH, HOST:
It's been several months since the community of Ferguson, Missouri, was rocked by the killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer. Nearly two weeks of rioting and demonstrations followed that killing. And long-standing racial tensions between the mostly white police force and the African-American community there sparked a national conversation.
This weekend, activists planned new protests, calling for justice in the case that is still being reviewed by a grand jury. St. Louis Public Radio's Camille Phillips was at today's march in downtown St. Louis and joins me now. Camille, organizers were hoping to get people from around the country to come support demands for justice in the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown. How did things go today?
CAMILLE PHILLIPS: Well, they did have a good turnout. There were people from New York. There were people from Chicago. Lots of people coming in from out of town. But there was a lot of people from the St. Louis area as well. I counted at least a thousand. There could've been upwards of 2,000. It's hard to say. But a lot of people out there, enthusiastic, wanting justice for Michael Brown, as lot of side-causes as well. But the main cause was, you know, police, racial profiling and justice for Michael Brown.
RATH: Was it mostly peaceful out there today?
PHILLIPS: Oh, yes. It was definitely peaceful. There - it was animated. There was a lot of energy. There were some people with some angry signs and some angry things to say. But it was definitely peaceful.
RATH: Where do things stand right now with the investigation and the grand jury proceedings into the case?
PHILLIPS: Well, the grand jury is still hearing evidence. There's been some expectation that there will be a decision made on whether or not they will indict in November. But we're not sure yet. And Bob McCulloch, who's the St. Louis County prosecutor, has said that he will allow all the evidence to become public as long as a jury OKs that.
RATH: The community in Ferguson saw a lot of raw emotion over the last few months and concern that racial tensions between African-American and white communities there would change Ferguson. You've been covering this story for months. What's changed?
PHILLIPS: I'm not sure much has changed yet except that some things that were in shadow have become in the open, both in Ferguson proper and the larger St. Louis community. It's made the St. Louis region have a conversation about race that has only been spoken in smaller circles before. There's still a lot of anger and a lot of disconnect, I think, between some largely white communities and some largely black communities not quite understanding each other. And I think that if there's not an indictment, we could see some major protests again. And there will be a lot of angry people.
RATH: Camille Phillips reports for St. Louis Public Radio. Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.