Po­lice cite threats, won't name cop who shot teen

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

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.

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