Activists renew urgent call for Ferguson police chief’s resignation after cops attack protesters again

Five activists remain jailed without charges; one activist taken to hospital after release for injuries sustained in custody

by Mervyn Marcano and Kawana Lloyd, www.fergusonOctober.com

Ferguson, Missouri – A broad coalition of activists and local organizations are calling again for Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign after a new round of police attacks on peaceful protestors last night.

In a story headlined, “Ferguson Police Chief March Backfires,” The Daily Beast reports: “Hours after issuing an apology to the family of Michael Brown, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson attempted to march with protesters, many of whom are calling for his resignation. … ‘I don’t think he was marching with the protesters more than 30 seconds before the riot cops came out into the crowd and tried to get themselves closer to him and protect him, said Antonio French, a St. Louis elected official.” Brutal arrests ensued. – Photo: Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In a story headlined, “Ferguson Police Chief March Backfires,” The Daily Beast reports: “Hours after issuing an apology to the family of Michael Brown, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson attempted to march with protesters, many of whom are calling for his resignation. … ‘I don’t think he was marching with the protesters more than 30 seconds before the riot cops came out into the crowd and tried to get themselves closer to him and protect him, said Antonio French, a St. Louis elected official.” Brutal arrests ensued. – Photo: Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Following a statement made by Jackson to protesters gathered in front of the police department, the chief attempted to march alongside protesters. Officers, gathered in disproportionate numbers, then proceeded to shove their way into the crowd, causing several injuries.

They hogtied one protester, whose body was limp as she was carried off. Other protesters were shoved and slammed into the ground by baton-wielding officers. Video and photo evidence of this violent, unprovoked assault on peaceful protesters was quickly made available on social media as it happened.

“Last night’s events were a return to business as usual for the Ferguson Police Department,” said Tef Poe, activist with Hands Up United. “The chief’s poor decision-making last night proves he has never been able to guarantee the safety of Ferguson residents, no matter what he says his intentions are. He must resign immediately.”

After the arrests, some protesters attempted to negotiate a release of detainees. The police agreed to release the detainees if the group moved onto the sidewalk. However, after the group moved onto the sidewalk, officers took the seven activists to jail in St. Ann.

A broad coalition of activists and local organizations are calling again for Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign after a new round of police attacks on peaceful protestors last night.

The police detained seven activists, including St. Louis independent journalist Umar Lee. One activist was released early this morning after being taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained after being beaten by the police. He was not charged.

The New York Times reports: “The Justice Department on Friday pressured the Ferguson Police Department to stop its officers from wearing bracelets stamped with the message ‘I am Darren Wilson,’ in solidarity with the police officer who is being investigated for shooting an unarmed Black 18-year-old, and from covering up their name plates with tape.” This photo has been tweeted around the world.
The New York Times reports: “The Justice Department on Friday pressured the Ferguson Police Department to stop its officers from wearing bracelets stamped with the message ‘I am Darren Wilson,’ in solidarity with the police officer who is being investigated for shooting an unarmed Black 18-year-old, and from covering up their name plates with tape.” This photo has been tweeted around the world.

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment has run a jail support line since the beginning of the Ferguson protests. They have confirmed that five activists are still in jail in St. Ann, where they have all been put on a 24-hour hold without being charged.

“Never before have we encountered a police department with such a reckless disregard for the safety, health and wellbeing of protestors or a blatant unwillingness to cooperate and release them,” said MORE Executive Director Jeff Ordower. “We call for the immediate release of those unjustly arrested last night.”

Activists contend that the chief’s attempts at videotaped apologies do not amount to meaningful changes in the Ferguson Police Department’s handling of protesters and the broader Ferguson community.

“Chief Jackson continues to pander to the cameras, throwing out empty promises of accountability that conveniently don’t include any action steps,” said Montague Simmons, founder of Organization for Black Struggle. “He is a charlatan in uniform and must resign.”

Over 200 activists have been arrested in conjunction with protests calling for justice for Mike Brown. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, still walks free.

Over 200 activists have been arrested in conjunction with protests calling for justice for Mike Brown. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, still walks free.

Mervyn Marcano in Ferguson and Kawana Lloyd of PICO National Network can be reached at klloyd@piconetwork.org.