Human RightsNorth America

US rights activists demand police reform, ending racial profiling

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Civil rights activists in the US are demanding nationwide police reforms and ending the racial profiling of African Americans following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri this past summer.

Dozens of angry protesters again gathered outside Ferguson police department on Saturday night despite the resignation of Daren Wilson, the white officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.

The demonstrators set US flags on fire and taunted police officers in this mostly black suburb near St. Louis, which is still grieving after a grand jury decided on Monday not to press criminal charges against Wilson for fatally shooting Brown.

“I’m mad as hell. Every night we’re going to be here,” one man who gave his name as “Kenny,” told AFP on Saturday.

Earlier Saturday, about 100 activists from across the US began a seven-day, 120-mile (193 km) march dubbed “Journey for Justice,” which starts from Ferguson and ends at the Missouri state capital of Jefferson City.

About 1000 people are expected to take part in the final leg of the march organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an African-American civil rights organization formed in 1909.

“We will fight until hell freezes over, and then we will fight on the ice,” NAACP president Cornell William Brooks told supporters at a St. Louis church before setting out to Ferguson to join the march.

“What we’re endeavoring to do here is seek justice for a grieving family as well as systemic, fundamental reform in terms of policing for an outraged community,” Brooks said.

The grand jury decision not to indict Wilson over Brown’s death reignited violent protests in Ferguson as well as demonstrations in several major cities across the United States.

Brown’s death sparked weeks of protest during the month of August and further fueled racial tensions in the United States. Ferguson’s local government and police force are mostly white, despite about two-thirds of residents being black.

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