Things got out of hand at a Ferguson City Council meeting yesterday, when frustrated citizens erupted in anger.
Tuesday night was the first time that the council, a mostly White panel, have met since Michael Brown was gunned down by a White officer. Anyone that’s been following the story knows that racial tensions have boiled over in the city due to the unarmed teen’s tragic death, which caused rioting in the streets for days on end.
As the aggressive demonstrations gave way to more peaceful protests, it seemed that people in Ferguson had found a way to channel their feelings into combating the racism that facilitated Michael’s shooting death.
The Post-Dispatch reports that their reserved demeanor cracked during yesterday’s meeting as people began shouting during the Pledge of Allegiance, while reciting the line “and justice for all.” Shortly after that, angry citizens began hurling questions at the council members that were completely ignored.
Attendees refused to be deterred in their mission to call the council to task. “You are now on notice,” said Ferguson citizen, Shelly Gradford, The New York Times reports. “It is evident that residents of Ferguson have for a long time been harassed. This must end.”
“You’ve lost your authority to govern this community,” added John Chasnoff of University City, Ferguson’s neighboring town. “You’re going to have to step aside gracefully if this community is going to heal.”
New policy reforms were put on record later in the evening, once the crowd was brought under control.
Although it has been just over a month since Michael’s murder, it is still a relevant topic of conversation in the Black community. This week, kids from Ferguson schooled the world about racism, and yesterday, “Happy” singer Pharrell shared his thoughts on the fallout from the young man’s death.
“I’m disappointed in the way that it was handled from the government side. I think that officers should be punished, because that was excessive force,” Pharrell told CNN anchor Don Lemon, adding that Black people need to be more cautious. “At the same time, we gotta start looking at ourselves, too, because we are feeling hunted. And we need to be able to avoid these things. And sometimes it’s unavoidable.”
Pharrell also called on President Barack Obama to make his way to Ferguson because he believes that it would encourage the community as a whole to tighten up. This would also give media something else to focus on other than continuing to replay the initial rage throughout the city.
“I was disappointed that while we had so much peaceful protesting going on, what the media chose to cover most of all and highlight was the random few people that threw Molotov cocktails, [or] the random people that had guns on them,” Pharrell stated. Don tried to explain that while he agreed with Pharell’s assessment, that reporters are almost compelled to go for the more gripping imagery. That wasn’t a good enough answer for Pharrell, who continued to insist, “We’ve got to spend more time on the people that are doing non-violent protesting.”
He continued, “This is a deeper laceration in this country. If you think that this is going to blow over, this is going to be the longest hangover in race relations, ever.”