Ferguson shooting: Calm returns on snowy Thanksgiving

There were a handful of protests and a heavy police presence, but no major incidents as Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday began, marked by snow and rain.

A jury’s ruling not to charge a police officer for killing a black teenager sparked violence in Missouri’s St Louis suburb, and protests across the US.

Michael Brown’s family have said they felt “crushed” by the decision.

Their son was killed after being shot six or seven times by Officer Darren Wilson in August.

The policeman said he feared for his life but some witnesses said Mr Brown, who was unarmed, had his hands up when he was killed.

The decision by the grand jury not to press charges and bring the case to trial has triggered a nationwide debate over relations between black communities and law enforcement.

Wednesday night’s protests in Ferguson were peaceful, with about 100 people marching as the snow fell.

The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan said the weather could have been a factor in keeping the numbers down.

There were, however, more than 100 people arrested in demonstrations in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

Police said protesters vandalised businesses in Oakland and refused to disperse in Los Angeles, where most of the arrests took place.

And in Portland, Oregon, police used pepper spray and made arrests after about 300 people interrupted public transport routes.

Earlier on Wednesday, protestors had tried to storm City Hall in St Louis.

Some US celebrities are reportedly calling for a boycott to take place on Black Friday – one of the country’s busiest shopping days after Thanksgiving – over the grand jury ruling.

Police officer Darren Wilson has told US media that he had a “clean conscience” over the killing on 9 August.

Mr Brown’s mother said the officer had been “disrespectful” in his comments and that she did not believe his account of events.

In separate comments, the teenager’s father, Michael Brown Sr, said his son’s character had been “crucified” by prosecutors, but also urged protesters to remain peaceful.

Mr Wilson said that before the shooting, Mr Brown had pushed him back into his car, hit him and grabbed at his drawn gun, and said that he felt “like a five-year-old holding on to [US wrestler] Hulk Hogan”.

Mr Brown’s supporters said he was attempting to surrender to Mr Wilson when he was shot.

However, the state prosecutor said physical evidence had contradicted some of the witness statements.

Many in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American community had called for Mr Wilson to be charged with murder, but the grand jury – of nine white and three black members – decided not to charge him.

The decision means Mr Wilson will not face state criminal charges over the shooting.

A spokesman for Missouri state governor Jay Nixon said he would not entertain the idea of bringing in a special prosecutor to present the case to a new grand jury, the St Louis Post reports.

However, the US Justice Department has also launched a federal investigation into whether Mr Wilson violated Mr Brown’s civil rights.




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