If America Reacted to Keene Pumpkin Fest Rioters Like They Were Ferguson Protesters

Categories: Ferguson

Keene State students start to get rowdy before violence and rioting breaks out at the Keene Pumpkin Festival.
Clouds of tear gas. Cars overturned. Street signs torn down. Fires in the streets. Helicopters circling. Scores of arrests and injuries -- It all sounds a little like a Ferguson protest.

But it's not. While Ferguson and Shaw demonstrators made it through the weekend without any massive disruptions, the mostly-white (and claerly drunk) students at Keene State College in New Hampshire lost their shit Saturday night at violent parties near an annual pumpkin festival where families try to set a world record for the largest number of lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place.

The Keene Pumpkin Fest riot and the weekslong demonstrations in Ferguson and St. Louis don't have much in common: Ferguson protesters say they're organizing against institutionalized racism and police brutality and won't stop until demands -- like the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson -- are met, while Keene students seemed to just jump on a wave of destruction that probably smelled like a popular spiced latte.

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"This Is What Jim Crow Looks Like": A Day in North St. Louis County Courts

Categories: Ferguson

Better Together
After visiting courts in north county, where cities can earn more than 30 percent of budgets through court fines and fees, a Brooklyn lawyer calls St. Louis County's courts system "the new Jim Crow."
David Menschel, a criminal defense attorney and criminal justice activist from Brooklyn, New York, spent Wednesday visiting municipal courts in north St. Louis County. What he found, he says, was "the new Jim Crow."

Menschel tweeted what he saw: predominantly black defendants, most without defense attorneys, arguing against dominant prosecutors in front of deferential judges on minor charges, such as sleeping in an apartment without an occupancy permit.

The effectiveness of north St. Louis County municipal courts was thrust into the spotlight in August, when a police officer from Ferguson, a north-county municipality, shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown. Protesters who took to the streets in Ferguson say Brown's shooting was the ultimate expression of the contemptuous, preying nature of criminal-justice systems there.

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St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay Agrees to Meet Protesters, Address Demands [UPDATED]

Categories: Ferguson

Danny Wicentowski
On Monday, Young Activists United organizer Kennard Williams (holding a megaphone) sent a list of demands for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay.
After days of symbolic demonstrations and civil disobedience against police brutality, one group of protesters can now boast of nabbing a more tangible victory: Landing an appointment to meet St. Louis mayor Francis Slay.

Today's 5 p.m. summit will include a contingent from Young Activists United, the same group that led around 60 protesters to rally and hang banners inside the City Hall rotunda on Monday, which resulted in one arrest. Organizers of that protest issued a list of demands to Jeff Rainford, Slay's chief of staff, and promised future disruptions in City Hall until the mayor addressed those demands.

The group wants Slay to force police officers who have "any interaction with the public" to wear body cameras, establish a civilian review board and independently investigate all fatal police shootings. The group also asked Slay to break ties with the federal government's 1033 program, which sends military hardware to police departments. Maggie Crane, the mayor's chief spokesperson, tells Daily RFT that the city has no relationship with the program.

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Michael Brown's Mother: Do Not Write in My Son's Name for St. Louis County Executive

Bryan Sutter
Lesley McSpadden, center, Michael Brown's mother.

Yesterday, the family of slain teenager Michael Brown and their attorneys incorporated a new organization: the Michael O.D. Brown We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation. The group's first order of business came today in the form of a plea from Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and was titled "Regarding Unauthorized Use: Name and Likeness of the Late Michael O.D. Brown":

"I am asking all well-intentioned family members, neighbors, businesses, associations, organizations or individuals associated with social media or any activists or affiliated groups, and any and all Missouri politicians NOT to add any additional drama into our lives," she wrote in a statement. "We ask that no flyers, wearing apparel, print or video usage of Michael's name, image or likeness, be used in connection with a WRITE-IN candidate campaign."

The statement refers to the upcoming November 4 St. Louis county executive race between Rick Stream and Steve Stenger. Some activists feel that neither Stream, who is Republican, nor Stenger, a Democrat who's publicly stood by County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, will address their concerns about racial injustice in Ferguson and the county. For many weeks, calls to "write in Michael Brown" have been heard at marches and county board meetings.

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Police: Gunshot Residue Proves Vonderrit Myers Jr. Shot at St. Louis Cop

Categories: Ferguson

Danny Wicentowski
St. Louis cops in riot gear guard a QuikTrip in the Grove on October 12. Three days before, an officer shot and killed eighteen-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr.
Forensic evidence collected from the scene of the fatal shooting between Vonderrit Myers Jr. and a St. Louis cop last week reveals Myers' right hand and clothing were covered in gunshot residue, police officials said yesterday.

Along with ballistics evidence, the lab tests appear to confirm Myers fired a gun during a confrontation with an off-duty St. Louis metropolitan police officer on October 8. Police say the 32-year-old officer and six-year veteran of the force who has not been named, chased the eighteen-year-old Myers down the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard before the shootout. Preliminary autopsy reports show that Myers, a resident of the 4200 block of Castleman Avenue, was hit six to seven times in the lower extremities and died from a shot to the front of the head.

Following the shooting last week, Myers' parents claimed their son was unarmed and only carrying a sandwich. Many who doubted the police narrative of the shooting latched onto the fact that Myers did, in fact, buy a sandwich at a nearby food mart minutes before the shooting.

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15 Signs You're a Ferguson/Shaw Protester

Steve Truesdell via
You might be a Ferguson or Shaw protester if...
The last two months have brought wave after wave of protests and demonstrations to the city of St. Louis. What started as an outpouring of grief and anger over the death of one black teen has grown into a movement known around the world.

But as the protests move from Ferguson to Shaw (to South Grand to political fundraisers to Walmart stores), Daily RFT has noticed a few overlapping consistencies among protesters young and old.

See also: PHOTOS: Ferguson Protesters Hit Rams Game, Steve Stenger Rally, Walmarts: 50+ Arrested

Want to know if you're a *real* Ferguson or Shaw protester? Here are fifteen tell-tale signs:

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PHOTOS: Ferguson Protesters Hit Rams Game, Steve Stenger Rally, Walmarts: 50+ Arrested

Categories: Ferguson

Danny Wicentowski
A woman protests in front of the Ferguson Walmart yesterday, one of a string of locations protesters targeted.
Don't say they didn't warn you, St. Louis.

As promised, protesters engaged in a dizzying tour of civil disobedience Monday, capping off a weekend of demonstrations, sit-ins and various disruptions to what organizers call St. Louis' "business as usual" attitude toward police brutality. A recent police-involved shooting -- not to mention the death of Michael Brown in August -- drew thousands of activists to St. Louis over the past four days.

"This is about being visible, this is about being heard, and this is about reminding people that we will continue to disrupt the way people experience things in this city until there's justice," said Deray McKesson, a Minneapolis public school employee who's been shuttling between his home and St. Louis to organize demonstrations.

"This should be a wake-up call that people struggle at the hands of a system that doesn't always value black life," he said.

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The 13 Most Powerful Signs Protesters Brought to Ferguson October

Categories: Ferguson

All photos by Theo Welling
Protesters brought handmade and printed signs to the Ferguson October protest march on Saturday, October 11, in downtown St. Louis.
Thousands of people from all over the country descended on St. Louis the weekend to commemorate Ferguson October, a four-day demonstration against police brutality and racism in America.

The gathering solidified St. Louis' position as an epicenter of racial tension and unrest after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown last month in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. Since then, two more officer-involved shootings, especially the death of teen Vonderrit Myers, have spurred further anger and protests.

On Saturday about 3,000 people marched through St. Louis in a peaceful protests. Police reported no arrests or property damage.

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Protesters Occupy Saint Louis University, Promise Further Civil Disobedience After Shaw Shooting

Categories: Ferguson, News

Photos by Danny Wicentowski
On Monday morning, hundreds poured into Saint Louis University's Frost Campus to stage a sit-in and to protest police brutality.
Acts of civil disobedience took center stage in St. Louis this weekend, as youth organizers wrangled local activists and out-of-state visitors in town for "Ferguson October." The event has drawn thousands to St. Louis to publicly oppose police brutality.

"We're here to destroy systemic racism and white supremacy!" shouted one organizer at the crowd surrounding the clock tower in Saint Louis University's midtown campus around 2 a.m. Monday morning. Most of the group had marched from a rally in the Shaw neighborhood, the scene of last week's police shooting that left eighteen-year-old Vonderitt Myers dead.

Myers' death ignited a new round of protests over law enforcement's treatment of young black men, and organizers tell Daily RFT that the shooting, along with an influx of activists from all over the county, laid the perfect groundwork for so-called "direct action."

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Activist Cornel West Arrested During Ferguson Protests (UPDATE)

Steve Truesdell
Dr. Cornel West speaks at a five-hour #FergusonOctober event at Fubar on October 12, 2014. Dubbed "Hip-Hop 4 Justice," the event also featured Dead Prez, Dr. Cornel West, Jasiri X and Talib Kweli.
Dr. Cornel West got what he said he wanted.

West, a prominent author, activist and the keynote speaker at Sunday's mass meeting at Chaifetz Arena, was arrested Monday morning during protests in front of the Ferguson Police Department.

Update, 3:50 p.m.: Read below for an update from St. Louis County Police about West's arrest.

West told supporters during Ferguson October, a four-day protest against police brutality sparked by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, that he wanted to be arrested.

Read more Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson.

"It's a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn't come here to give a speech," he said Sunday night. "I came here to go to jail."

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