Approximately 150 protestors shut down Delmar and Skinker boulevards and Forest Park Parkway in St. Louis, Mo., this week to mark the 100 days since unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.
Two separate groups gathered at the Delmar and Skinker Metrolink stops at approximately 11:15 a.m. then marched on the sidewalks along Delmar and Skinker boulevards. At the intersection of Delmar and Skinker, the groups converged and continued to march westbound along Delmar, while chanting “indict, convict” in regards to Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is responsible for Brown’s shooting death.
“If we don’t get it, shut it down! If Mike don’t get it, shut it down!” they chanted, as they stopped outside the Tivoli Theatre and shut down the street. There, some protestors pretended to be police officers, who yelled for other protestors to “Freeze!”
The mock police then started pretend-shooting and yelling, “Get a job!” Some protestors fell to the ground and played dead, while others outlined their bodies with chalk.
“On Aug. 9 at 12:01, an officer by the name of Darren Wilson brutally murdered our brother Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” said Dhoruba Shakur over the bullhorn. Shakur is the “bishop of defense” for Tribe X, an organization whose mission is to “counteract global injustices and systemic racism.”
This latest direct action organized by Tribe X comes as a grand jury decision regarding the Brown case looms over the community. With a “mid-November at the earliest” prediction for the conclusion of the grand jury, an announcement on whether Wilson will be indicted for Brown’s death could come any day. Most protestors assume that the grand jury investigation will conclude with a non-indictment.
“Police brutality is happening all over the nation right in front of our faces, and some of us have the privilege of continuing on everyday life as if this isn’t our reality,” Shakur said. “This action is a demonstration. This is our way of showing this is something we can’t avoid.”
Shakur said Brown’s killing is something that will be on the forefront of their minds for a long time.
“It should be for you as well,” he said to those watching on the sidewalks.
In response, protestors chanted, “No justice, no peace!”
University City police officers blocked traffic for the protest and did not intervene. The protestors then walked down the middle of Delmar to Skinker and turned toward Forest Park Parkway, shutting down the southbound side of Skinker.
At the Skinker and Forest Park intersection, they formed a barricade of people in the crosswalks and demanded four and a half minutes of silence, representing the four and a half hours that police allowed Brown’s body to lay in the street. Brown was on his way to his grandmother’s house when he was stopped by Wilson for walking in the middle of the street.
After the minutes of silence, the protestors left the street and moved to the sidewalk. St. Louis City police allowed the protest and did not intervene.
“We are here disrupting the natural flow of business,” said Derek Laney, an organizer with the Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. “We want people to understand that as long as we have a climbing pile of dead bodies in our community at the hands of cops, then no one’s going to be comfortable. If we can’t be comfortable in our communities with the knowledge that we’ll be able to come home safe, then other communities don’t get to be comfortable.”