On the Ground in Ferguson: “It’d Be Better If They Treated Us Like We Didn’t Exist”

On the Ground in Ferguson: “It’d Be Better if They Treated Us Like We Didn’t Exist”

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It’s been nearly a week since Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by a police officer in the town of Ferguson, Mo. Since then, residents have taken to  the streets each night to rally and voice their displeasure. Tensions quickly grew as police militarized themselves with armored vehicles, automatic assault rifles, and tear gas. 

Complex News went to Ferguson, Mo. to see exactly what was going on in the town that has the world’s attention. Upon our arrival, what we found on the fifth night of protests was a large group of exasperated, sad, and angry locals who were in surprisingly good spirits following the removal of  the local police force. Throngs of people occupied Ferguson’s main boulevard, Florissant Road, less than a mile away from where Brown was gunned down after an alleged scuffle with an officer who has been identified as Darren Wilson. 

"It's crazy to see all these people out here," said Namon "DJ CJ" Jones Sr., a former resident of Ferguson who now resides in University City. "You never see this many people congregating like this peacefully. They thought we were going to start clownin' when the police left, but look: it's all peace."  

Many walked around with t-shirts and bandanas wrapped around their faces and signs reading “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”—a reference to what Brown allegedly said before he was fatally shot—and “No Justice No Peace.” Others drove up and down Florissant playing music, while passengers hung out of windows and sat atop the cars invariably telling others to “keep their hands up” and “fuck the police.” The scene was a stark contrast to the images presented by major news stations. We spoke with a number of protestors about the week’s demonstrations, what they hope to accomplish, and what this all means for the residents of Ferguson.

Stay tuned to Complex News for further developments. 

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