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Ferguson Day 12: Mostly Calm For A Change; Grand Jury Opens Investigation

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 21, 2014 2:00PM

With the exception of a couple incidents, there was a sense of calm on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri Wednesday night between demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, and the cops who have responded to the protests with excessive force for over a week.

Crowds were smaller and, except for a couple of incidents, there were no clashed between protesters and police. One of the incidents involved a man and a woman who came to Ferguson in support of Wilson, whose whereabouts are unknown since he was revealed to have been the officer who killed Brown Aug. 9. Demonstrators linked arms and formed a circle around the pair to keep them away from other protesters, who reportedly tried to rush them. The two were eventually led away by police.

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, the officer in charge of the security effort in Ferguson, said Wednesday was the second night where skirmishes were at a minimum, a trend he hopes will continue. Rain and thunderstorms may also have been a contributing factor for the smaller crowds of demonstrators. One protester, 18-year-old Terrell Wilheight, told The New York Times, “I feel like (the demonstrators) are giving up.” Six people were arrested Wednesday, a far cry from the 47 who were arrested Tuesday. Ferguson police said one officer was hit with a bottle of frozen water.

Protesters and Brown’s family have called for Wilson to be charged in Brown’s death. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson Thursday, promised “change is coming,” met with Brown’s family and assured students at a nearby college a thorough investigation into the shooting was his top priority.

"I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man ... I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over," Holder told a community meeting in the St. Louis suburb.

President Barack Obama announced Monday the Justice Department would conduct a federal civil rights investigation into Brown’s shooting death. A grand jury opened an investigation into the case Wednesday, prompting calls from critics that a special prosecutor be appointed.