Here's the Agreement that Ended the Occupation of Saint Louis University

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Danny Wicentowski
Hundreds of protesters swarmed the Saint Louis University campus last week, demanding action. It seems the university's president listened.
The sit-in dubbed Occupy SLU ended quietly this weekend. By Saturday afternoon, not a tent could be found near the clock tower where protesters massed during the early morning hours of October 13, waving upside-down American flags, raising fists in the air and calling to Saint Louis University students -- "Out of the dorms, into the streets!"

The movement to occupy the private, Jesuit institution kicked off last week's "Moral Monday," and by that day's end more than 50 people had been arrested in a series of protest events around St. Louis. On October 18 protesters and school officials agreed to end the sit-in. In a written statement, SLU president Fred Pestello attributed the end Occupy SLU to "many intense hours of outreach and conversation" with protesters and other community activists.

However, it seems that those intense conversations yielded more than just a broadly worded statement from SLU's president. Shortly after protesters left the campus, a photo of a printed agreement between the school and three protest groups began circulating on social media and right-wing blogs.


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Darren Wilson Tells Why He Feared For His Life Before Shooting Michael Brown: NYT

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Jessica Lussenhop
Michael Brown Sr., far left, visits the spot where his son died.
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson testified to investigators that Michael Brown pinned him in his police vehicle and struggled over his gun before Wilson shot Brown six times and killed him.

That's according to the New York Times, who quote "government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation" and FBI reports in the first public account of the altercation from Wilson's perspective. Wilson has already testified to the St. Louis grand jury investigating his case, and the FBI is running a concurrent criminal investigation while the department of justice performs a civil rights investigation.


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

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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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Ferguson Authorities: There Is No "Evacuation" Plan for Residents [UPDATE]

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Jessica Lussenhop
Outside the Ferguson Police Department.

Update: Daily RFT just spoke with Mustafa Hussein from Argus Streaming News. He takes exception to Devin James' claim that the two have never spoken. Post updated with his remarks.

Throughout the day on Thursday, rumors rippled on Twitter that Ferguson authorities were formulating an "evacuation plan" for residents. The origin point seemed to be a tweet by the account @argusnewsnow or "Argus Streaming News."

"BREAKING: #Ferguson residents told to 'Create an evacuation plan or hunker down,'" the account posted at 11:25 a.m. "We will keep you posted as more details emerge."

About two hours later, the account tweeted again saying the information came from Devin James, the city's PR representative. Late yesterday afternoon, however, Daily RFT spoke to Ferguson police information officer Tim Zoll, and he told us he'd been asking around about the alleged "evacuation plan."

"Everyone looks at me like I'm on crack or something," he said.

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ACLU: Police Used "Five Second Rule" to Arrest Ferguson Protesters at Random

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Danny Wicentowski
Officers arresting protesters the night of August 18. Nineteen people were charged with failing to disperse that day.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri argued to a federal judge Monday that St. Louis County and Missouri State Highway Patrol are enforcing an unconstitutional "five second rule" that allows cops to arrest protesters at will.

Known as either the "five second rule" or "keep moving rule," the controversial police tactic was sprung on protesters August 18, nine days after Ferguson cop Darren Wilson shot and killed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown. Police threatened protesters with arrest if they stopped moving, forcing crowds into grueling marches to avoid violating the ill-defined rule.

According to the witnesses brought by the ACLU, police used the tactic arbitrarily, harassing some protesters and letting others go. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar admitted yesterday the rule even confused officers, who misinterpreted his orders and used the "five second rule" to arrest protesters during the peaceful daytime hours.

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Gun Incident at Faraci Pizza Leads to Confrontations with Protesters [Updated]

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Danny Wicentowski
Protesters claim the owner of Faraci Pizza pointed a gun at them Thursday night, but the restaurant owner's wife says that's a lie.
Tensions spiked in Ferguson this weekend following two officer-involved shootings Saturday night and early Sunday morning. However, the earliest signs of trouble perhaps began at Faraci Pizza, a few blocks south of the Ferguson police headquarters on South Florissant Avenue

When Daily RFT arrived at Faraci Pizza around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the pizza joint was being guarded by two police cruisers and officers near the door. Protesters chanted about "racist pizza" and demanded the officers investigate Jim Marshall, the eatery's owner. Many protesters claimed Marshall had pulled a gun on a group of non-violent demonstrators on Thursday night.

But Marshall's wife, Dawne, tells Daily RFT the protesters have it all wrong: She says her husband was afraid for his safety, so he cocked a pistol and placed it in his pocket while inside the store. She says he never aimed the weapon at anybody. She also says their business has endured days of harassment over a "lie that went wildfire" on social media.

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Ferguson Police Have Case File for Mya Aaten-White, Bullet's Location Still in Question

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Jessica Lussenhop
Mya Aaten-White, center, with her attorneys Verona Swanigan and Marwan Porter.

Just over a month ago, Daily RFT broke the strange story of Mya Aaten-White, the woman who was shot in the head as she left one of the first protests following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Aaten-White's shooting was characterized to media as a "drive-by," and a selfie she managed to take in the ambulance on the way to the hospital went viral.

The bullet pierced Aaten-White's skull but miraculously stopped about a millimeter from her brain. She was taken to a hospital where doctors extracted it -- and that's all the information anyone could get. As of our last report, no one from the police had interviewed Aaten-White, neither Ferguson nor St. Louis County police had case files about the incident, and most puzzling of all, the bullet seemed to have gone missing.

Now we have some new information, including that incident report. Other questions persist.

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Jennings Man Says St. Louis County Police Shot, Killed His Dog During Ferguson Protests

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Screengrab from YouTube user Umar Lee
Talal Ahmed says St. Louis County police shot his dog.
Talal Ahmed says he was just trying to get home one night last month during the height of the Ferguson protests.

He was riding his bike through the Family Dollar parking lot across the street from his house in Jennings, located just blocks away from the apartments where Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer, when he was stopped by four cops.

"'Get the fuck off the bike,'" he remembers an officer yelling.

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Michael Brown Memorial on Canfield Drive Burns to Ashes in Early Morning Blaze [UPDATE]

Categories: Michael Brown

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Courtesy Markese Mull
The remnants of the stuffed animal memorial.

Update 11 a.m.: Post updated with Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson's statement on the blaze.

Over the past 45 days, since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Canfield Drive, a huge memorial of stuffed animals, T-shirts, posters, photographs, cards and other items grew in two places -- in the middle of the street where Brown fell and died, and attached to a nearby electrical pole.

Early this morning, the tree of stuffed animals that sprouted at the pole went up in flames, eventually reducing the giant pile to black ashes.

"You got a lot of upset people right now," said neighborhood resident Markese Mull.

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St. Louis County Police Offers Class On How to "WIN WITH MEDIA" After Police Shootings

Categories: Michael Brown

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Lindsay Toler
Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson has bumbled his way through plenty of press conferences -- would a class help?
For police, Ferguson presents what's known as a "teaching moment."

Surely, there are lessons to be learned. But where to start? Perhaps a case study of the opaque investigation into the killing of an unarmed black teenager? Crowd control measures that don't deepen tensions between residents and law enforcement? A Ferguson-focused course on community policing?

Nah -- According to a recently posted (and utterly tone deaf) flier for a "continuing education" course from the St. Louis County Municipal Police Academy, officers will be able to enroll this October in a course titled "OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING -- YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA." Taught by a former broadcast journalist, the flier promises a "highly entertaining" three hour romp through such subjects as "Managing Media Assault and Battery," "Feeding the Animals" and "'No comment' is a comment."

"You will learn a lot, and you'll have fun doing it!" the flier says.

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