Events unfold in Ferguson

U-News Staff

This article details the writer’s personal account of the events occurring in Ferguson, Mo. following the Grand Jury verdict on Monday, Nov. 17. The following does not represent the views of University News.

Tension mounted in Ferguson, Mo. as the city awaited the grand jury verdict on whether to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In an effort to maintain control over Ferguson and the Saint Louis area, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the National Guard troops on Monday, Nov. 17. The city of Ferguson met this move with a series of protests leading to the arrests of protesters, clergy members, reporters and members of the hacker collective known as Anonymous.

It was an eventful week in Ferguson news despite the absence of a Grand Jury verdict until Monday, Nov. 24.

On Monday, Nov. 17, coinciding with Gov. Nixon’s declaration of a state of emergency for Missouri, the hacker group Anonymous hacked into the KKK’s twitter feed and website. This cyber attack occurred in response to the KKK’s threat of violence against Anonymous members at the Ferguson protests. Anonymous subsequently released pictures and links exposing KKK members. Among the unmasked members was an alleged leader of the Saint Louis area KKK, Frank Ancona, who retaliated with a threat to shoot anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Anonymous also leaked maps of the planned federal perimeter that the National Guard hoped to use after the verdict was made public.

On Thursday night, several protesters were arrested for demonstrating. Among them was Pastor Rebecca Ragland of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion. Although she was wearing a bright orange traffic vest marked as “clergy,” she was grabbed by Ferguson police and dragged along the ground until it was ripped off her body. Activist Bassem Masri was also arrested that night and later appeared on CNN defending himself against allegations of spitting on a police officer.

Meanwhile in Kansas City, a group of students from Lincoln Prepatory Academy protested the Ferguson response by Gov. Nixon by raising their hands in a surrendering motion during his speech to the school. They were quickly escorted out of the auditorium. As punishment for their silent protest, the 12 participating students will have to attend Saturday detention.

Among the responses by Ferguson police, Gov. Jay Nixon, the National Guard, the ATF, Anonymous, the KKK, the national media and the protestors, it is difficult to determine what the citizens of Ferguson think about this issue.

Local resident Mike – who declined to give his last name out of fear of retaliation – said “The town is tearing apart. If you believe the cop you’re a racist; if you believe in Mike Brown, you’re a thug.”

Protests continued in Ferguson after the grand jury decision last Monday.  Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges. Wilson has since announced his immediate resignation from the department. There is no severance package accompanying his resignation.