Fatal shooting of teenager sparks protests in Ferguson, Missouri

Associated Press
Fatal shooting of teenager sparks protests in Ferguson, Missouri

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To some, a makeshift shrine in the middle of the Ferguson street where Michael Brown was killed last summer is a hallowed symbol of a new civil rights movement over race and policing. To others, it has served its purpose and is now more of an eyesore and a road hazard.

Within hours of Brown's Aug. 9 shooting death by a white police officer, people began placing stuffed animals, candles and other tributes in the middle of Canfield Drive, where the unarmed black 18-year-old's body lay for about four hours before it was removed.

The shrine stretches several yards down the center of the two-lane road that bisects a housing complex, and city leaders are grappling with the thorny question of whether to remove or replace it and risk further inflaming racial tensions in the 21,000-resident St. Louis suburb, which is two-thirds black. Another section of the shrine sits along the curb a few yards away.

Brown's killing by Officer Darren Wilson, who left Ferguson's police force after a grand jury decided not to charge him, touched off weeks of sometimes-violent demonstrations and a national "Black Lives Matter" movement that only gained momentum with the subsequent police killings of unarmed black men in other U.S. cities.

Although Wilson wasn't charged, the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing report citing racial bias and racial profiling in the Ferguson Police Department and in a profit-driven municipal court system that frequently targeted blacks. (AP)

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