Police cite threats, won't name cop who shot teen
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton pressed police on Tuesday to release the name of the officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in suburban St. Louis, but he also pleaded for calm after two nights of violent protests.
The officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday after fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a predominantly black city of about 21,000 residents. Police say death threats prompted them to withhold the officer's name.
"The local authorities have put themselves in a position — hiding names and not being transparent — where people will not trust anything but an objective investigation," Sharpton, standing with Brown's mother and father, said during a news conference outside a St. Louis courthouse.
But he also echoed pleas by Brown's parents and the NAACP for peaceful protests in Ferguson, where the case has stoked racial tension, protests and looting.
"I need all of us to come together and do this right," said Michael Brown Sr., with Sharpton standing at his side. "No violence."
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said he had planned to release the officer's name Tuesday but changed course after death threats were called into the police department and City Hall, and posted on social media. He said it could be weeks before he releases the name.
"If we come out and say, 'it was this officer,' then he immediately becomes a target," Jackson said. "We're taking the threats seriously."
Jackson didn't disclose specifics but said the decision came after a stream of death threats against the officer and other officers. The race of the officer involved in the shooting also hasn't been disclosed, but witnesses said he was white. Brown was black.
Nearly three dozen people were arrested following a candlelight vigil Sunday night as crowds burned stores, vandalized vehicles, assaulted reporters and taunted officers.