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New Black Panther Party Maintains Peace in Ferguson, Directs Traffic During Protest

Categories: Michael Brown

blackpanter.JPG
Danny Wicentowski
In the absence of police, members of the New Black Panther Party directed traffic and kept the peace during last night's Ferguson protest.
For the first time this week, St. Louisans didn't wake up to pictures depicting riot police aiming sniper rifles at nonviolent protesters, arresting journalists or blockading residential streets in Ferguson.

Instead, today's photos showed thousands parading down West Florissant Avenue under the watchful gaze of the black-clad members of the New Black Panther Party. And not a cop in sight.

Local media reports earlier this week warned that the New Black Panthers were coming to town and could incite violence against police officers. Last night, Daily RFT observed something very different.

Read all Riverfront Times coverage of the unrest in Ferguson and the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting

With the occasional help from Anonymous members in Guy Fawkes masks, roughly half a dozen Black Panthers directed cars through the traffic-choked street in front of the burned out QuikTrip -- the same street where officers commanded by the St. Louis County Police Department dispersed protesters with flash-bang grenades and tear gas just the night before.

"We want to show Ferguson and the world that we can govern ourselves," said Chawn Kweli, the national chief of staff for the Atlanta-based New Black Panther Party. Kweli had just been windmilling his arms to spur on the sluggish line of cars moving past the QuikTrip. Passengers leaned out of windows and even climbed on top of moving cars. On any other day, in any other town, police would have ticketed -- and likely arrested -- many drivers.

But Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson chose to pull nearly all of his officers from the immediate area of the protest, leaving the mile strip of West Florissant to the people of Ferguson and their supporters.

blackpanter2.JPG
Danny Wicentowski
Daily RFT did see one potentially serious injury -- a woman appeared to hit the ground hard after attempting to leap onto the back of a moving vehicle. When police cruisers inched their way across West Florissant to retrieve the woman, it was the New Back Panthers who cleared a path for the officers and urged the crowd to resist attacking the police.

"We're taking charge of the streets, making sure that the traffic is flowing, making sure that there's peace here," Kweli said. He was dressed in a simple black button-down shirt with gold stars on the collar, a sign of his rank in the party. Other members sported military-style tactical vests and masks.

Before the Thursday night's protest-turned-parade, the presence of the New Black Panther Party in St. Louis caused worried reactiond from local media, as well as a warning from the FBI. On Wednesday, KTVI (Channel 2) reported that the FBI had issued an alert that Kweli and other members of the New Black Panther Party had arrived in St. Louis and were advocating violence against police officers. (The report starts at 2:46 in the video below.)

Then, early Thursday afternoon -- prior to Governor Jay Nixon's announcement that the Missouri State Highway Patrol would take control from the St. Louis County Police Department in Ferguson -- KTVI reported the New Black Panthers joined with other protesters in crashing a press conference delivered by Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson.

Indeed, the New Black Panther Party has been linked with voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 election, and more recently offered a $10,000 bounty for the citizen's arrest of Trayvon Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman.

It also worth nothing that the New Black Panther Party isn't affiliated with the Civil Rights-era Black Panther Party. The Huey Newton Foundation -- which counts many original Black Panthers as members -- condemned the New Black Panthers for advocating hatred and violence against whites.

However, we didn't spot any New Black Panther members targeting or harassing white protesters or police officers.

For all the optimism generated from Thursday's cop-less gathering in Ferguson, it hasn't lessened the unrest surrounding the shooting death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday. Many residents and protesters reject the police's narrative -- that an unarmed Brown attacked a Ferguson Police Department officer, who then shot the teen multiple times in the street. The vast majority of residents interviewed by Daily RFT expressed hope the officer will be charged and tried for murder.

When asked about the possibility of violence returning to the streets of Ferguson, Kweli answered, "It's all in the hand of the people. Until justice is served, until black people and people of color get justice, this type of stuff is not going to stop."

This morning's official announcement of the name of the officer who shot Brown -- a six-year veteran of the Ferguson police force named Darren Wilson -- threatens to derail the progress made last night. Police say Brown robbed a convenience store before Wilson shot him dead. For more on that story, check out our continuing coverage.

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


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80 comments
steplyk
steplyk

I guess the 2 members arrested today 11/22 didn't feel the same.

markie19
markie19


11 days ago

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DeleteShareLikeReplymarkie19Jul 20, 2014

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markie1918 hours ago


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Carol Fortune Quigley Young
Carol Fortune Quigley Young

what's the difference of the black panthers helping in ferguson,and the white militia helping in nevada?

Donny Cox
Donny Cox

Question:: what was the strong armed robber going to do with those cigars?? Him and his thug friend, was they gonna roll them some mowey wowey blunts and get HIGH!!

Michael Crecelius
Michael Crecelius

Ya right! While they directed traffic they let there fellow man loot, steal, vandalize!! Bullshit

Rick Tharp Jr
Rick Tharp Jr

Nobody needs to be out after 10:00 in this area. Let Ferguson get back to normal. Get the kids in school

Martin Patrick
Martin Patrick

Did you actually read the article or just stop at the title?

Martin Patrick
Martin Patrick

Did you even read the article, or just stop at the title? Anyone who can bring peace and order to the city right now is most welcome. Fear mongering by the police has only been making matters much worse.

starksyaj
starksyaj

@D_Towski what's wrong with governing self? Goal # 1is to better the blks so they don't to depend on other races.

Verna R. Klein-Curtis
Verna R. Klein-Curtis

Nope wasnt all peaceful like they say trust me throwing rocks at cars is not

Rachael Cailliach
Rachael Cailliach

Yes only racist thug policemen should be allowed to direct traffic.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

someone call the hippies in to pass out granola...

sybil10
sybil10

Be careful what you wish for. The NBPP is run by a muslim extremist, Shabazz.  This may not be the peace you really need;


Minister King Samir Shabazz (chairman of NBPP’s Philadelphia chapter) intimidated white voters with racial slurs (e.g., "white devils") and threats of violence. “You are about to be ruled by the black man [a reference toBarack Obama], Cracker!” they yelled at voters. Samir Shabazz, who brandished a police-style nightstick, was eventually led away by police.


On September 21, 2010, NBPP members dined with Louis Farrakhan and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at New York City's Warwick Hotel.


"


  • "[I]f you are having any doubt about getting suited, booted, and armed up for this race war that we’re in that has never ended, let me tell you somethin…the thing that’s about to happen these honkies, these crackers, these pigs, these people, these motherf***er[s]…it has been long overdue.”

  • "[W]e got to suit up and boot up…and get prepared for the war that we’re in…this stuff got to boil over, and all your greats talked about that happened to be bloodshed involved with revolution -- true revolution means some bloodshed, so there‘s blood being spilled because there’s a new life that is beyond this bloodshed."

  • “And there are those who wish they could stand in this hour, to see the destruction of the devil‘s world and the devil’s society -- and I‘m ain’t talking about no dude underneath the ground with a pitchfork and pantyhose. I’m talking about that blonde-haired, blue-eyed, sometimes brown-eyed, Caucasian walkin' around with a mindset, a demonistic mindset, and a nature to do evil and brutality.”

Also on April 6, 2012, an NBPP leader called for "the complete removal of capitalism," on grounds that it "sets up a class structure and a class society" founded on "racism" and the exploitation of the "have nots."

In May 2012, NBPP's national field marshal, King Samir Shabazz, made a number of incendiary statements, including the following:

  • “I love white-on white-crime, because that is the best crime, and we‘re going say ’black power’ to that. You understand what I mean?”

Tim Hasenstab
Tim Hasenstab

Now that there is peace more criticism follows. It's a no win situation for the people of Ferguson in the eyes of some people. No matter what... loud or peaceful, certain white folk will always see them as bad.

Valerie Joy Muti
Valerie Joy Muti

Good. Maybe they can get their community together before they're outta here to the next publicity crawl.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

lexus... to the right, ford focus... to the left, corvette... to the right, benz... to the right,...

Jeremy Colton
Jeremy Colton

Media reports, that's their job. What are "these groups" and on what grounds do they "not belong"?

Megg Ray
Megg Ray

Chris Bergh Wow, I love your assumptions on people. Idiot.

John Dorian
John Dorian

Right... they were saying Whites this way behind the fence....... blacks get in there free tv

Danie Greenlee
Danie Greenlee

A lady named Marquisha wrote me and told me she was a leader in the new blank panthers. If they believe in what she believes in, I wouldn't want any part of them in my area. She told me my children should be slaughtered for being "mixed blooded". I hope she was claiming something she knew nothing about and that they're peaceful.

Rocky Alan
Rocky Alan

Might be the dumbest story I've heard

David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

Extreme groups are never the right answer regardless of race, religion, or situation.

Autumn Boucher
Autumn Boucher

This white girl can do the same! Haha I talked to a few who shook my hand and they were very sweet! Everyone did a great job out there last night, it was wonderful to witness.

Erik Olsen
Erik Olsen

They stole the name of a civil rights organization that fought for all power to all people that I would have been welcomed in.

Erik Olsen
Erik Olsen

Very little in the NBPP is a positive message.

Erik Olsen
Erik Olsen

Glaring at folks who live in 63136 and came out to show support who are white wasn't positive.

Erik Olsen
Erik Olsen

They did not seem to like the fact that myself and my family drove through and participated. I guess they still hate whites as much as I hate that Betty lost that Intellectual Property suit against their co-opting the Black Panther Party for Self Defense's name and using it to spread a message of hate.

Bernadette Cooper
Bernadette Cooper

Why did they put out this tape. If the officer did not know he robbed the store. Also the chief said they sat on information then under duress put them. out together cmon na.

Cory Mortensen
Cory Mortensen

They "maintained peace" so they could work on recruiting some new kids.

Brian Conley
Brian Conley

"I'm sorry I ruined your Black Panther party" (Forrest Gump).

AnnieRiceStL
AnnieRiceStL

@D_Towski @RayDowns Gentleman on the right was calming, focusing people as they approached the protest, then managing all over. Much respect

Anna Mann
Anna Mann

They're too dumb to understand.

Jon Hiltz
Jon Hiltz

The black panthers are the black version of the kkk

Bart Sinnett
Bart Sinnett

You people or idiots ! Wait till all the truth comes out ...YOU WEREN'T THERE !!!

Paul Roper Sr.
Paul Roper Sr.

wrong Chris I knew he wasn't innocent from the get go why because he was a gang member are you to dumb to realize it that's whats wrong with STL its the black on black crime that should be highlighted here criminals are gonna be criminals period.

JimFak
JimFak

@SullinsSybil DiscoverTheNetworks is a terrific website, started by Horowitz, child of socialist party parents.

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