Skip to main content

What we know about Ferguson

By Greg Botelho and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 10:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests. Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests.
HIDE CAPTION
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A police officer is suspended for pointing an assault rifle at a protester
  • NEW: Attorney General Holder meets with residents, Brown's parents
  • NEW: Prosecutor: Grand jury likely won't get entire case until October
  • NEW: Backers of police officer who shot Michael Brown are confronted

Have you documented the protests in Ferguson? Share your photos, videos and opinions with CNN iReport. For local coverage of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and its aftermath, go to CNN affiliates KMOV, KSDK, KTVI and KPLR.

(CNN) -- Events continue to unfold at a rapid pace in Ferguson, Missouri. The city has been in turmoil since August 9, when white city police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

Protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets for several nights.

Here are the latest developments for Wednesday:

Officer Wilson's backers confronted

Two supporters of Darren Wilson took to the streets of Ferguson on Wednesday evening, saying they wanted to express their views just like those calling for Wilson's arrest.

They quickly had company, as dozens of Brown family backers quickly converged on them -- some of them angrily confronting them.

The commotion ended quickly, however, when police came and took the two Wilson backers away.

Police use force as tension grows
Police launch tear gas into crowd

Soon thereafter, strong thunderstorms rolled through the area and put a damper on the protests.

Officer suspended after threatening protester

A police officer was "relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely" Wednesday after pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a "peaceful" protester in Ferguson, St. Louis County police said.

Video showed the officer using vulgarity to threaten a protester, as the pointed his rifle at the protester. The officer -- from nearby St. Ann, one of many communities who have contributed officers to the force charged with keeping the peace in Ferguson -- was soon thereafter led away by a St. Louis County police sergeant.

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who is heading security in Ferguson, said he was "disturbed" by the video, adding that the officer's actions "disrespect" those officers who have shown restraint over the past two weeks.

Attorney General Holder visits Ferguson

The nation's top federal law enforcement official, Eric Holder, paid a visit Wednesday to Ferguson -- talking with community leaders, students, and the parents of Michael Brown.

The U.S. Justice Department, which Holder heads, is conducting a civil rights investigation into Brown's shooting. Dozens of FBI agents have interviewed witnesses. Authorities would have to prove some element of "racial hostility" to convict Wilson on a civil rights charge, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin notes.

Holder met with and complimented Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and also addressed students at a local community college. Holder he talked about his own experiences as a black man dealing with racial profiling as he told those in the crowd, "I understand that mistrust" of police.

Prosecutor: Grand jury won't be done for months

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch told CNN affiliate KMOV that his office would begin presenting its case on this matter to a grand jury on Wednesday. But the end is still far off: McCulloch estimated his office won't be done presenting evidence until mid-October.

Many Brown family supporters have asked that McCulloch be taken off the case, with St. Louis Alderman Antonio French saying that his "relationship with the African-American community has not been good for a long time."

Yet McCulloch has shown no sign of leaving his post. Gov. Jay Nixon could decide to appoint a special prosecutor in his place, but he hasn't given any indication he'll do so.

In fact, McCulloch went on the offensive after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon tried to deflect calls for the prosecutor's ouster by saying it was up to the prosecutor to recuse himself.

PREVIOUS DEVELOPMENTS:

Violence but no looting, no tear gas

As midnight approached late Tuesday, it looked like protesters and police had managed to pull off a night of peace, but officers donned riot gear and formed a line in front of local businesses, commanding a crowd in a parking lot to clear out.

A bottle flew at the officers, setting off a powder keg of tensions, with police sprinting after and arresting people and more bottles flying at them -- some plastic, some glass.

Highway patrol Capt. Ron Johnson told journalists that "criminals" had also thrown urine on police. Riot police presence ballooned, dogs and pepper spray came out briefly, and officers arrested 47 people.

Two guns were confiscated from a car.

But gone were the tear gas, rubber bullets, and Molotov cocktails that had marred protests overnight Monday.

Michael Brown's family:

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, told NBC's "Today" show that the only way to end the unrest is "justice" -- which her family and their supporters have repeatedly tied to the arrest of the police officer who killed Brown.

"Justice will bring peace, I believe," McSpadden said.

The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, also announced that Brown's funeral will be held Monday.

The police officer:

Darren Wilson, 28, who has six years on the force with no disciplinary issues on his record, is on paid administrative leave. If he returns to duty, he would have to undergo two psychological evaluations, authorities said.

Wilson has garnered more and more public support in recent days. That includes a rally held for him in St. Louis and a fundraising effort that had raised more than $36,000 from nearly 1,000 people as of Tuesday.

School closures:

The situation remains so unstable that the Ferguson-Florissant School District said it is canceling classes for the rest of the week. Two nearby districts -- Jennings and Riverview Gardens -- opted to remain closed again Tuesday as well, according to CNN affiliate KMOV.

In light of the closure, the Ferguson-Florissant School District is offering food assistance -- in the form of sack lunches -- to children and teenagers at five elementary schools between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Complete coverage of Ferguson shooting and protests

Magazine: The Aftermath in Ferguson

Read more about the flash point in the Heartland at CNN.com/US

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Follow our complete coverage of the protests and aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 3:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
The grand jury in the case of Michael Brown's shooting heard from witnesses who couldn't be believed at all.
updated 9:12 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Their sons have become symbols of a raging national conversation about police brutality and racial injustice.
updated 6:30 PM EST, Mon December 8, 2014
Charles Barkley -- who once said he doesn't create controversies, he just brings them to our attention -- is at it again.
updated 10:16 AM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
It's the picture we needed to see after a week like this.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Sun November 30, 2014
The resignation comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer for killing Michael Brown.
updated 9:32 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result.
updated 8:00 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Did Officer Wilson shoot Michael Brown dead as he staggered to the ground, hobbled by gunshot wounds? Or, did the 18-year-old aggressively charge at Wilson?
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson said that he's not tormented by that fateful encounter in suburban St. Louis last summer.
News about the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson spread quickly nationwide, spurring spontaneous rallies. See a collection of reactions from across the country.
If you are in Ferguson or have witnessed protests where you live, share your story with CNN. Personal essays and video commentary are also welcome.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Transcripts of testimony that jurors heard considering Michael Brown's death have been released to the public.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Photos of Officer Wilson taken after his altercation with Michael Brown have been released.
updated 7:34 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
His mother ran down the street, tears streaming down her face. His father said he was "devastated."
updated 7:13 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
All eyes and ears were on St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch when he announced there would be no indictment.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
As tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, have bubbled, one official after another has taken the lead, grappling to figure out how to stop it from coming to a boil.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
See images of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
"He was funny, silly. He would make you laugh. He'd bring people back together," his father, Michael Brown Sr., told reporters.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT