Protesters mark two weeks since police shooting in Ferguson

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Protesters mark two weeks since police shooting in Ferguson
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands as they gather on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (Front, 2nd R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, walks on West Florissant Avenue where demonstrators gather to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise gather at West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (3rd R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, is taken photo with a demonstrator on West Florissant Avenue during the protest over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, talks to police officers standing outside a market where Michael Brown allegedly stole some cigars before being killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators hold up signs as they gather at West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 15: Police Chief Ronald Johnson (C) speaks to media about the latest developments on killing of Michael Brown by police nearly a week ago in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, United States on August 15, 2014. Police in Ferguson have changed their procedure for dealing with the protests after being chastised for a heavy-handed approach which has resulted in four days of violence. Police cars and officers on foot led the way during a protest march. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Demonstrators raise their hands as they protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014, with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Attorney Daryl D. Parks speaks about the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown during a news conference as Brown's stepfather Louis Head (2nd-R/blue shirt) and cousin Eric Davis (3rd-R/orange shirt), a cousin of Michael Brown, look on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014 , with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014, with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Stills from camera http://t.co/FEcmKc3oGr
More from report http://t.co/7OyD2fgrI2
Page from police report http://t.co/xcz6nUKqY2
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators take part in a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators take part in a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks, raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder leaves a news conference after announcing the Justice Department will launch a 'patterns and practice' investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department at the department's headquarters September 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. Holder announced a federal civil rights investigation of the Furguson, Missouri, police department after white officer Darren Wilson from shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michale Brown last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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By NICK CAREY and EDWARD MCALLISTER

(Reuters) - Demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, gathered in intense heat on Saturday to mark two weeks since a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager, while supporters of the officer said in a separate rally miles away the shooting was justified.

No arrests were recorded overnight, marking three consecutive relatively calm nights for the St. Louis suburb following daily unrest since Michael Brown, 18, was shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

Authorities had logged dozens of arrests nightly as police clashed with demonstrators in unrest that has focused international attention on often-troubled U.S. race relations.

Police came under sharp criticism, especially in the first days of demonstrations, for making mass arrests and using heavy-handed tactics and military gear widely seen as provoking more anger and violence by protesters.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police out of concern over how such equipment has been used in Ferguson, a senior administration official said on Saturday.

About 70 people marked the two weeks since Brown's death by praying at a makeshift memorial where he was shot and launching into a rendition of "We Shall Overcome" at the time when the fatal encounter began.

Tracey Stewart-Parks, 52, who works in accounting for a health care firm, carried a sign that read "Mike Brown was someone's son - I walk for their son." She said something similar could have happened to any of her four sons.

"All of them have had to learn the rules of driving black and they're lucky it wasn't them," she said. "This has been a long time coming and I do believe we shall overcome. It's time to rip the Band-Aid off this old wound. It's time for change."

Hundreds of people marched Saturday afternoon in a St. Louis County NAACP-led rally wearing brightly colored T-shirts, many holding umbrellas for shade as temperatures hit 98 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius).

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, commander of the police response to the demonstrations, who is black, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who is white, joined the head of the march.

About 14 miles (22 km) away in St. Louis, dozens of supporters of the officer gathered at Barney's Sports Pub to raise money for Wilson's family. Some held signs that said "innocent until proven guilty" and asked drivers to honk their car horns as they passed in support. Many did honk.

"We are here to support you, Officer Wilson, and we've got your back. He has been vilified in the news but his story is coming out," St. Louis resident Mark Rodebaugh said.

A statement from rally organizers said in part, "Our mission is to formally declare that we share the united belief that Officer Wilson's actions on Aug. 9 were warranted and justified and he has our unwavering support."

Little information has been released about the investigation of the shooting. A grand jury of three blacks and nine whites began hearing evidence on Wednesday in a process the county prosecutor has said could run until mid-October.

On Friday night, groups of protesters marched up and down the streets of Ferguson and about 100 demonstrators, marshaled by volunteers from the clergy, held a peaceful protest across from the town's police station.

The National Guard began a gradual withdrawal from Ferguson on Friday, but authorities remain braced for a possible flare-up of civil disturbances ahead of Brown's funeral on Monday.

The violent clashes have tapered but demonstrations continue. Local activists, clergy, U.S. civil rights workers and community activists from around the country have set up shop in Ferguson and say they plan to stay for an extended period.

In part they want to work on ways to improve Ferguson, a community of 21,000 that is about 70 percent African American but where almost all the police and local politicians are white.

Civil rights activists say Brown's death followed years of police targeting blacks in the community. The suspension of two area police officers in recent days highlighted the divide.

A St. Louis County officer, Dan Page, on Friday was placed in an administrative position pending an internal investigation after a video surfaced in which he boasted of being "a killer," made disparaging remarks about Muslims and expressed the view that the United States was on the verge of collapse.

Belmar said the comments by Page, a 35-year force veteran and former U.S. serviceman, were "bizarre" and unacceptable.

Two days earlier, an officer from the town of St. Ann was suspended indefinitely for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful demonstrator and yelling obscenities.

(Reporting by Nick Carey and Ed McAllister; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Edgartown, Massachusetts; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)

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