Demonstrators returned to a familiar locale last night in response to the U.S. Department of Justice reports on Ferguson – the street in front of the police department.
Standing in the cold street, about 50 people blocked traffic as two Ferguson police cars look on. They chanted the names of those who have died at the hands of area police in the last few months, and held an upside-down flag listing their names. Prominent on the list were Michael Brown, VonDerrit Myers and Kajieme Powell.
Demonstrator Gwen Stewart said she’s protesting because the Justice Department "pattern or practice" report only proves that Ferguson police discriminate against African Americans — the report doesn’t stop the problem.
“We have to stay on them because if we stop they’ll go right back to business as usual because unfortunately the majority of the American people are not interested,” Stewart, 69, said.
Stewart said that everyone who knew what was happening in Ferguson and did nothing should be fired–from police to public officials. She suggested that police should have an anonymous hotline to report poor behavior of other officers.
Clifton Kinnie, 18, said he continues to protest because he wants comprehensive criminal justice reform throughout the St. Louis region.
“We want genuine change. And if you’re going to implement legislation, don’t just implement it to appease us. Genuinely mean it. Genuinely enforce it. You say we’re a country of the free, right? Show that,” Kinnie said.
At one point, the protesters drew close to the only visible police presence on the scene—two Ferguson police SUVs blocking the entrance to the police department parking lot.
A police officer warned the protesters to move back, but made no other moves towards the demonstrators. Police on foot from various jurisdictions began gathering in a line behind the two cars, as two in the crowd shouted derogatory comments at the police.
Eventually demonstrators moved away from the driveway and back onto the street. The police presence remained low-key for much of the evening, though there were reports on Twitter of a few arrests as the night wore on.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.