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Killing of unarmed Missouri man draws criticism

Altercation Led To Shooting Of Unarmed Mo. Teen: Police

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - An 18-year-old black man shot multiple times by a suburban St. Louis police officer was unarmed when he died, police said Sunday, as hundreds of local residents protested and a civil rights leader expressed outrage at the killing.

Michael Brown had graduated from high school and was about to enter a local college, said his mother, Lesley McSpadden.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred after an officer encountered two people - one of whom was Brown - on the street near an apartment complex Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis.

Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer's gun inside the police car. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car. It was not clear if Brown was the man who struggled with the officer.

The struggle spilled out into the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn't known, but "it was more than just a couple." He also said all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer's gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.

Jackson said the second person has not been arrested or charged and was expected to be interviewed later Sunday. Authorities aren't sure if that person was unarmed, Jackson said.

McSpadden said she doesn't understand why police didn't subdue her son with a club or Taser instead of shooting him, and she said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.

"I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty," she said Sunday at the site of the shooting, fighting back tears.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, and they referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges, as well as the New York City man who died from a police chokehold.

"We're outraged because yet again a young African-American man has been killed by law enforcement," said John Gaskin, who serves on both the St. Louis County and national boards of directors for the NAACP.

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the shooting death "very disturbing" and the New York-based civil rights leader said he planned to go to Ferguson to meet with the family Monday night or Tuesday.

A few hundred protesters gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters about the time the news conference was to begin. At one point, many of them marched into an adjacent police building, some chanting "Don't shoot me" while holding their hands in the air. Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn't use force; the crowd eventually left.

Protesters outside chanted slogans - "No justice, no peace" and "We want answers" - and some carried signs that read "Stop police terrorism" and "Disarm the police."

Critics have contended that police in the St. Louis area too often target young black men. Statistics on police-involved shootings in the region were not immediately available.

St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation. County Executive Charlie Dooley, who showed up at the protest Sunday to urge calm, said he will request an FBI investigation. U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed attorneys in the department's civil rights division to monitor developments.

The race of the police officer involved in the shooting has not been disclosed. He has been with the Ferguson Police Department for six years, Belmar said, noting he wasn't aware of other issues involving the officer. He has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is a common procedure after police shootings.

Several protesters were angry that Brown's body remained on the street for hours after the killing. Belmar said that officers "had to practice our due diligence and that's why it took as long as it did."

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KristenKitty August 10 2014 at 4:10 PM

If you put your hands on a cop, you deserve what you get. I was raised to respect the police and would never fathom to get into a physical altercation with one. Obviously today's youth isn't being taught to respect authority amongst many other things. This young mans family failed him by not teaching him self control and respect. Sad.

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51 replies
larwilb60 August 10 2014 at 4:03 PM

If either of them put their hands on the office and "shoved him back in his car" as stated then he had a right to use deadly force! Where are all of these protesters when Blacks Kill Blacks!???

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49 replies
medic1306 August 10 2014 at 4:04 PM

Fight with the cop?..... Get shot...... Ok

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10 replies
knarfdr August 10 2014 at 4:15 PM

If indeed they assaulted the cop first he was justified in using his gun. He has no way of knowing if the punks were armed or not and has to make split second decisions. What are these punks doing assaulting a policeman anyway?

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13 replies
larwilb60 August 10 2014 at 4:01 PM

Jesse and Al are on the way to SAVE THE DAY! Cops maintain ORDER! Which is basically non existent in the HOOD!

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27 replies
gatr766 August 10 2014 at 4:10 PM

why on earth would you push a police officer knowing full well he carries a gun? a lot of missing details here but we ALL know that because the poor kid who got killed was black it was automatically because of his color.

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18 replies
Stangman2 August 10 2014 at 4:13 PM

The lesson to be learned here is don't "push an officer back into his squad car." If the boy hadn't done that, he would be alive today. When will people learn that a police officer is placed in a position of authority? If you resist arrest, you are always risking injury or death?

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14 replies
finance454 August 10 2014 at 4:05 PM

Another gutless cop. Take their gun away like in the UK and see how tough they are. As usual nothing will come of this.

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55 replies
hmdavis91 August 10 2014 at 4:07 PM

ALL officers should be wearing cameras, and all police cars should have cameras as well. Cops lie to protect themselves and each other. The violence has gotten out of hand. Not just violence against blacks, violence against all citizens. They police like to say "you'll be the first to call us when you're in trouble." No, it's now more dangerous to get the police involved. Leave them out.

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6 replies
anderson August 10 2014 at 10:51 PM

Black or white......... you push me back into my vehicle and go for my gun, I'm going to use ALL the deadly force on you that I can.......gun...mace.....stun gun........teeth.......anything I can........I't my life your yours A$$hole.........

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1 reply
mpunfun anderson August 11 2014 at 8:48 AM

Interesting how this detail has changed in about 6 posts from: one of them pushed the officer back into his car and now, one of them added AND "went for the officer's gun." Before they close comments on this, it will be a gang of rabid animals, who flagrantly attacked this poor defenseless police officer and of course, he had no other choice but to defend himself.

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