BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Officials have released the name of the Ferguson, Mo. police officer who gunned down an unarmed black teenager. The shooting death of Michael Brown lead to nights of unrest in the St. Louis suburb, and protests across the nation, including here in Baltimore.
The Ferguson Police Department says Darren Wilson is the officer who fired multiple shots at 18-year-old Michael Brown. He has been on the force for six years and has had no previous disciplinary action taken against him.
Chief Thomas Jackson says Wilson was on duty hearing calls about a strong armed robbery when he confronted Brown.
It is unclear if formal charges have been filed against Wilson, who is currently on paid administrative leave.
Police say they waited to released Wilson’s name because they feared for his life. The shooting sparked four days of unrest. But Thursday night, demonstrations in Missouri were calm.
In Baltimore, hundreds of people took to the streets Thursday to rally for the 18-year-old victim.
On Thursday, protestors marched through the city from police headquarters, past City Hall to McKeldin Square, sending a powerful message beyond the signs they were holding. In a peaceful movement, demonstrators waved their hands in a mater in which witnesses say Brown did before he was shot.
Rep. Elijah Cummings released the following statement:
“The change in security tactics in Ferguson, and the intervention of Gov. Nixon has greatly improved a horrible situation. There is never an excuse for violence and aggression — on the part of the police or citizens — and the right to peacefully protest must be respected. This community has been rocked by the death of a young man with a bright future, and they deserve an opportunity to appropriately express outrage at this tragedy.
“Beyond the immediate challenge of restoring peace to Ferguson, we must ensure that justice is served in the death of Michael Brown. The Ferguson Police Department must conduct that investigation in an open and transparent manner that rebuilds the trust of this community and the release of the name of the officer involved later today will represent a critical first step.
“As a nation we must also address the deeper problems that created this conflict. We need police forces that reflect the communities they serve, we need to address the stereotypes associated with young men of color, and we need to find ways to prevent unnecessary escalations in situations like these. This case has the potential to be a turning point, and we must learn from it.”
In a statement released Friday morning, Sen. Ben Cardin said, in part, “Racial profiling is un-American. It has no place within the values of our country. It turns communities against the partnerships needed to keep our neighborhoods safe. As far too many of our communities have learned, people can be hurt.”
Cardin also encouraged peaceful assemble and says he supports measures to deescalate community tensions.
Baltimore minister Jamal Bryant, a friend of Brown’s family, spoke to the crowd and demanded accountability. He says Monday was supposed to be Brown’s first day of college.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the justice department will conduct a full independent civil rights investigation into Michael Brown’s death.
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