Calm prevails in Ferguson after shooting of police officers
FERGUSON, Missouri (AP) — Protesters called for calm but vowed to keep pushing for change in Ferguson a day after two police officers were shot in the Missouri city where racial tensions have flared since the police killing last year of an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday night, where they expressed sympathy for the wounded officers. They also prayed for peace as Ferguson moves forward in the wake of a scathing Justice Department report on racial bias in its law-enforcement practices.
The two officers were shot in front of the police department amid protests demanding more change following the resignation’s Ferguson police chief.
A crowd of about 200 protesters gathered again outside the police department Thursday night, but the scene was a marked contrast to the previous night, when fights broke out before the shootings.
Some called for specific changes: the resignation of Ferguson’s mayor or the disbanding of the police department. Others were there to remember 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting death by a white Ferguson police officer in August made the city a national focal point.
Officers from the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol were summoned to bolster security but largely stood idle in the distance. The protesters had largely disbanded by 11:30 p.m. No arrests were made.
Both wounded officers were released from the hospital Thursday, but St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar — who called the attack an ambush — said they could have been killed.
Several people were taken in for questioning but were later released, and no arrests were made by late Thursday.
The calls for healing and reconciliation weren’t received favorably by all. As participants gathered before the prayer vigil Thursday night, shouts of “white power” came from a passing pickup truck.
Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at http://twitter.com/azagier