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NAACP Leader Calls for Restraint in Ferguson, Demands "Unfiltered" Truth in Teen's Shooting

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Theo Welling
NAACP President Cornell Brooks called for a halt to looting in Ferguson at yesterday's press conference.
The Murchison Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Normandy was built to sit 600, and it overflowed yesterday evening during an NAACP-led press conference that seemed to alternate between righteous hope and fever-pitch anger.

"We're talking about somebody's son, we're talking about the sons of our community," said NAACP President Cornell Brooks, who spoke at length on the virtues of non-violent justice while police and protesters continued to clash in Ferguson, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed on Saturday.

"We want no more and we want certainly want no less than the truth, unfiltered, un-manufactured," spoke Brooks, referring to the disputed circumstances surrounding the unarmed teenager's death. "We want the truth for his family, for this young man and for this community. We deserve that."

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Theo Welling
A full house showed up to listen to the NAACP, but some audience members criticized community leadership for not engaging directly with the protesters.
See also:
- Peaceful Protest for Mike Brown Before Riot Police and Looting Takes Over
- Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas on Protesters Standing In Their Own Backyard

But beneath Brooks' call for truth lay the mounting tension of the past three days.

Following Brown's death, peaceful protests in Ferguson exploded into mayhem -- literally, in the case of a QuikTrip gas station that's now a burned-out husk on West Florissant Avenue. More than a dozen area stores have been vandalized or looted since Sunday. At times, police presence in Ferguson has verged on martial law.

During his speech, Brooks attempted to walk the line between the frustration of Ferguson's African American community -- about 60 percent of the population -- and the widespread chaos and looting on the streets.

"Now I wish I could say to you...that you should not be angry. I can't say that," said Brooks. "My dear brothers and sisters, let us be clear: To sneak around under the cover of darkness, to loot, to steal, to burn down your own neighborhood, this does not require courage. Courage is required when you stand up for justice."

The high note of Brooks' speech came as he issued a plea to those youth plundering on the streets of Ferguson.

"Martin Luther King did not live and die that we might steal in the name of justice in the middle of the night. He lived and died that we might see justice in the middle of the day!"

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Theo Welling
Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins unloaded his anger at the Ferguson Police Department.
But over the course of the two-hour press conference, Brooks' message of unyielding hope became increasingly undercut by an audience clearly anxious over the protests and the future of their own communities. News of the lock-down at the Galleria Mall had broken, and the prospect of another terrible night of looting and police retaliation clearly affected those gathered in the church.

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins gave voice to that unease, declaring, "You don't forgive this. Because if you forgive this, you are next."

"We're going to let the preachers get us to heaven," he continued, drawing murmurs of approval from the crowd. "I can understand turning the cheek and all that. But this is 2014. All we want is justice. We don't want to talk about nothing else!"

"All we want to talk about now -- is Michael!"

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com


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23 comments
Janeyre Bronte'
Janeyre Bronte'

Those who are stealing, vandalizing, are a minority. They don't represent the General Population. They should be arrested and given jail time, fine, etc... There is no connection to seeking Justice and Stealing, Looting...

Roy Johnson
Roy Johnson

The black community is demanding the laws change for their own personal agendas. The leaders are the worst inciters. NAACP, Al Sharpton and even the pastors are lending their approval. On one hand they say peace the other they SCREAM give us this give us that or else. They are now targeting to kill cops and kill white. This isn't racism and ranting, that is EXACTLY WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN SAYING AND SPRAY PAINTING ALL OVER. Random white people where shot at last night in NC and not ONE media outlet either knows about it an dnot reporting, or doesn't even know. Listen to the police scanners and follow twitter, more real news there.

Tiffany J Williams
Tiffany J Williams

Mary, I definitely feel that the looting should stop. Anyone with an ounce of common sense believes that. And I do hope the investigation is more thorough than swift. My comment was only to address yours that "these folk" wouldn't be able to deal with the truth if Michael Brown had been a "thug". If in fact he was a thug and it's proven true that he was unarmed and shot from almost 30 ft away, his thug image means NOTHING in a court of law. This is about excessive force. Too many have experienced it at the hands of police officers in this city and this situation turned fatal. Just sad for all involved.

Mary Watson
Mary Watson

Well Tiffany, if this young man did something wrong he has paid the ultimate price which is very sad. If the police officer has done something wrong, he should be brought to justice. At the moment too many people are jumping to conclusions. This will take a while to resolve and the outcome should be accepted by all. In the meantime a family should be given space to grieve, the rioting, looting lowlifes should stop and the investigation should progress rapidly....what do you think?

Tara Lynn
Tara Lynn

Either way it is horrible when someone dies, however the truth will come out and hopefully justice will prevail. I personally still don't understand nor agree how recently a rabbi was shot to death while walking on the street here in St.Louis by 2 young African American men and there wasn't even a post on it....yet where is HIS justice or justice for his young children?!!! This is becoming ridiculous that one person's death is more important or valuable then another?? We need to get real and live up to equality for once! Nothing in this state or the Country for that matter will NEVER change until WE ALL act civil, show respect to each other, act grown, godly and most of all fare!!! It needs to start with young people.....arson/looting with or in front of your children- NO, smoking meth/drinking in front of your children-NO or any other unbecoming acts of a parent/adult!

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

Depends if the truth fits the ACLU/NAACP victimization narrative or not.

Evin Isar
Evin Isar

The Assassination of MLK had Two Ministers(one in town)who closely assisted in its execution and cover-up.Children of GOD are" in the streets",like King was,NOT in"PEWS" 'critiquing' their actions..Revolution takes place in The Streets,and the actions of The Protestors were Only misguided because You HYPOCRITES weren't There to Pass The Baton"correctly",..If Young Black Males,were taught of Their Rights As American Citizens and Quote Them to Law Enforcement,Less would die.Anyway,even Jesus was A Radical,during his time

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Da troof, da hole troof and nuffin but da troof. prayse Gawd!

John Marco
John Marco

God I wish Martin Luther King was here today instead of Rev. Al Sharpton.

James Knight
James Knight

The only thing I want to know is if all these terrible media outlets (yea, you too RFT) and angry people who are demanding the unfiltered truth would even believe the unfiltered truth if it was anything but what they wanted to hear. I expect the investigators will have evidence...will you follow the evidence or do "he said she said" junk? My guess is that they've already decided, so it won't matter.

Noah Leitch
Noah Leitch

Plus the editor needs to proof read better.

Danielle Grasso
Danielle Grasso

Hey RFT...sit down and shut up just like everybody else should do!! I've been seeing rediculous posts from this "publication" all day and it's laughable.

Tiffany J Williams
Tiffany J Williams

And let me clarify that i don't mean ALL police...lest the trolls get riled up. \U0001f612

Tiffany J Williams
Tiffany J Williams

Yikes, Mary. I don't think a lot of people can deal with that fact that *gasp* maybe this guy did NOT do anything AND...there is a police culture of bullying and excessive force regardless of the color of those involved. There are enough stories and proof of it across America. Anyone who doesn't recognize it is dense or willfully ignorant.

Mary Watson
Mary Watson

I don't think these folk will cope with the truth if it turns out that MB was just a low life trouble making thug assaulting a police officer.....

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

RFT just stirs the pot. No credibility what so ever.

Kelly Reed-Burke
Kelly Reed-Burke

Right..look at all the great hair n flossing kicks in that audience....smh

Josh Hall
Josh Hall

The best part tho was the end when the mother told the leaders how well they were leading and not helping to guide the youth who are the ones mostly involved in everything recently!!!!

Becky Phillips
Becky Phillips

RFT, I am loving your coverage of this entire incidents unfolding. Thank you!!

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

dear RFT... can you PLEASE stop pretending to care.

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

they are trying to get to the bottom of this and get unfiltered truth,,,,but some people don`t understand it takes time,,,you do not get unfiltered truth in 5 days,nobody does,,,,,the american justice system does not work that fast,,,sorry Ferggyson

pinkspryteproduction
pinkspryteproduction

61% of the population in Ferguson are in fact African American. So the minority would be Asian, White, and Indian. So your first sentence makes no sense. If you think that the 61% African American population should be treated as a minority that is the problem . .

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