Several protesters carried out a peaceful demonstration and blocked a major intersection in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday to mark 100 days since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb. The city is awaiting a grand jury decision on whether the white police officer will be charged in the death of the black unarmed teen.
Protesters were reportedly seen lying down on chalk outlines of bodies, pretending to have been shot by police. Demonstrators also reportedly blocked an intersection near Washington University in St. Louis. The latest protest was reportedly sparked by Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson's announcement on Friday that Wilson would “immediately” return to duty if he was not indicted by the grand jury. Brown’s death on Aug. 9 triggered weeks of protests, which sometimes turned violent.
"This is a mature movement. It is a different movement that it was in August. Then it just had anger, justifiable anger," DeRay McKesson, a 29-year-old protest leader, told Reuters. "Now we are organized. We are strategizing. And we are going to bring our message to the power structure."
Jackson had told Yahoo News on Friday that if Wilson, who is currently on paid leave, is charged in the 18-year-old teen’s death, then he would “most likely” be terminated by the department.
Jose Chavez, a leader of the local Latinos en Axion group, told Reuters that “the entire community is going to be upset," if Wilson is not indicted.
An audio and video recording published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday indicated that the fatal shooting lasted less than 90 seconds.
The grand jury has reportedly heard several contradictory testimonies from eye witnesses. Some reportedly said that Brown had his hands up when he was shot by Wilson, while others testified that there was a scuffle between the white officer and the black teen. Last month, Wilson reportedly told investigators, during his first account of events, that Brown had attacked him and the two had struggled over the officer’s gun before he fired twice. Wilson also said that he feared for his life during the encounter.
The jury has been given until Jan. 7, 2015, to reach a decision, but officials expect a decision before that date.
"Rioting and looting are the tools of those without a voice. The rioting and looting, while I didn’t participate in it, was necessary. Without it we would not be standing here today," Rockit Ali, 22, an organizer of Sunday's demonstration said, according to Reuters. "There is no revolution without violence."