Reports vary as to the events that led to Brown’s shooting, but police violence, abuse of force and unchecked racism are longstanding problems in the majority black suburb of 21,000. In Ferguson, 94 percent of the police are white. According to Department of Public Safety data, black suspects were arrested at a rate about five times higher than whites.
Coverage of the protests have dominated social media and Twitter trends such as #iftheygunnedmedown ⏤ in which black youth post photos of themselves in positive and negative lights, asking which photo the media would use in reporting their deaths ⏤ have brought up questions of race portrayal in the media.
The new Captain America has a message: pic.twitter.com/FdEXNmUuxC
— The Nerdpocalypse (@ThoseNerds) August 17, 2014
The equipment and tactics being used by the Ferguson Police Department have sparked comparisons to the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq. Concerns over how and why local police forces are able to maintain a large armory have shed light on a congressional program known as Section 1033. Besides the usual riot gear, law enforcement agencies in St. Louis County have 12 5.56mm rifles and six .45-caliber pistols from the Department of Defense as well as seven mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicles, or MRAPs.
Amid a heavy media presence and ever-rising arrest count, everyone from President Obama to Reverend Al Sharpton to Anonymous has weigh in on the conflict. Explore the timeline below to see how the protests have escalated.