TIMELINE: The Death of Michael Brown and Unrest in Ferguson
Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014
- 18-year-old Michael Brown, a recent high school graduate about to start college, is shot and killed by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer. Brown was unarmed.
Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, AM
- Hundreds of people march to the Ferguson Police Department demanding answers for the teen’s death. Some have their hands up, as Brown reportedly did before he was shot, some chanting “Don’t shoot me.” They are met by police officers at the station and there is no violence.
- At the same time, St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar holds a news conference at another location. Belmar says the incident began when the officer encountered two individuals on the street near an apartment complex Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb. Belmar said as the officer tried to get out of his patrol car, one of the subjects pushed him back in and began assaulting him. “It is our understanding, at this point in the investigation, that there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon,” Belmar said. At least one shot was fired in the patrol car, he said, and the remaining shots that ultimately killed Brown were shot on the street. “It was more than just a couple,” Belmar said, regarding the number of times Brown was shot.
Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, PM
- A Twitter post is made warning that the Internet hacker group “Anonymous” is prepared to make internal emails and other private police documents public if it deems police act inappropriately.
- Looting, property damage and rioting take place in North St. Louis County. A QuikTrip gas station is looted and set fire after looters leave with merchandise. SWAT teams and police in riot gear were called to the scenes of violence. About 20 businesses in the county were looted and 32 people were arrested.
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, AM
- The neighboring city of Jennings, Mo., cancels its first day of classes.
- It is announced that the FBI is opening a parallel investigation to that of the St. Louis County Police Department concerning possible civil rights violations.
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Afternoon
- Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson meets with protestors, trying to ease tension. A crowd of about 200 demonstrators march peacefully while police look on.
- A press conference is held by Brown’s family and their lawyer, Benjamin Crump who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen shot and killed by George Zimmerman.
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, PM
- The St. Louis Archdiocese holds a prayer vigil at 6:30 p.m. in Ferguson to pray for those involved in and hurting from the recent shooting in the community.
- The NAACP meets with an over-capacity crowd of community members at the Murchison Tabernacle CME Church in Jennings.
- Unrest in Ferguson continues, one spot being at the destroyed QT, and riot squads use tear gas and rubber bullets to restore order after a large crowd reportedly threw rocks at police. The unrest is quieted by midnight after up to 15 arrests are made. County police chief Belmar says demonstrators appear to be taking advantage of social media to organize some events.
- Looting spreads to a Shoe Carnival store about 10 miles southeast of Ferguson just before midnight. Looters arrived in a group of cars, smashed windows and made off with shoes and other merchandise. It is not clear whether the hit-and-run style looting was related to the looting in Ferguson.
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, AM
- Peaceful protestors chanting with their hands above their heads took to the Clayton streets demanding that the investigation be impartial and that the prosecutor files charges as soon as possible. The protest deviated into traffic, and there was no violence.
- The name of the officer who shot and killed Brown is said to be released at noon. It is later announced that the officer’s name will not be released, at least until either county police chief Belmar is compelled to by a judge, or if there are charges filed against the police officer, because of death threats called into the department and posted on social media.
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Afternoon
- The Rev. Al Sharpton travels to Ferguson to meet with the parents of Michael Brown, and holds a news conference calling for people to stop rioting. “Some of us are making it about how mad we are, instead of how promising he was,” he said.
- Lambert Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says at the urging of police, the FAA ordered no flights over Ferguson as a precaution after there was a shot in the air sometime Sunday evening. The order was lifted shortly after.
- President Obama issues a statement on the fatal shooting of Brown, urging everyone in Ferguson and across the country “to remember this young man through reflection and understanding.”
- The first nine people who allegedly looted in Ferguson on Sunday night are charged by St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch.
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, PM
- St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley spoke at the first county council meeting since the shooting and the outbreak of riots that followed. “The world is watching, and we need to get it right the first time,” Dooley said.
- Community members and leaders, including county police chief Belmar, prosecuting attorney McCulloch, and Gov. Jay Nixon, meet in Florissant for a forum about the shooting. Attendees were able to submit questions for answers.
- Protests continue Tuesday night into early Wednesday, and authorities report several new arrests. Officers respond to a report of four men wearing ski masks armed with shotguns a block or two east of Ferguson, as well as reports of shots fired in the area. Officers found more than two dozen suspects fleeing on foot when they arrived. An officer shot and critically wounded a suspect who pulled a handgun. A woman is shot in an apparent drive-by shooting on Chambers Road during protests.
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, AM
- Passage Community Church in Ferguson organizes a group to assist those area businesses that need help cleaning up. The group also plans to pick up trash on streets and sidewalks left from looting. Dozens of volunteers take part in the clean-up effort.
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Afternoon
- Ferguson police chief Jackson is peppered with questions from reporters during a 3 p.m. news conference. Jackson said the anger and the fact that people want answers is understood, “but we’re asking people to be peaceful, and we are working to actively solve this situation and get justice.”
- Ferguson-Florissant School District officials make the decision to cancel school Thursday and Friday in response to concerns about the continuing unrest in the community. The first day of school is planned for Monday.
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, PM
- St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch says during a news conference to not expect any details on the Brown case any time soon. There is no timeline for when the investigation will be complete, he says, but it will definitely be more than two weeks.
- Britton Esreal, 19, is charged with second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action in Tuesday night’s officer-involved shooting during more unrest in Ferguson.
- Another night of unrest in Ferguson. Two reporters, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post, are arrested while working at the McDonald’s in Ferguson, and St. Louis city alderman Antonio French also is arrested. Lowery, Reilly and French are later released. While the sun was still up, gospel singers invaded the street in front of the burned-out QuikTrip.
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, AM
- The St. Louis County government websites are taken down, and the cause is unknown. The hacking group Anonymous tweets Thursday morning the name of the alleged officer it says fatally shot Brown. The St. Louis County Police Department responds that the name posted is false.
- The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri reportedly files the first lawsuit in the Brown case, seeking police records under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
- Sen. McCaskill is in Ferguson, speaking with constituents. She releases a statement stating, “We need to de-militarize this situation—this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution.”
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, Afternoon
- Gov. Nixon speaks during a news conference in Ferguson, addressing the ongoing protests in the area. He says an “operational shift” will be made to handle the ongoing Ferguson protests.
- President Obama speaks shortly after Nixon during a news conference in Edgartown, Mass., about the death of Brown and the protests and violence in Ferguson for the first time publicly. “There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” he says.
- Nixon announces that Ferguson security will be overseen by Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson after the local police response drew heavy criticism. Johnson says there will be no more armored trucks, tear gas and riot gear – he wants to establish a rapport with the protestors face-to-face.
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, PM
- About 800 cyclists plan to ride to the Arch grounds for a moment of silence. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers prepare for a vigil and march underneath the Arch.
- There is a dramatic shift in the mood during Ferguson protests Thursday evening- almost jubilant. Several people stop to shake hands with police and troopers, and some stop to hug and chat with highway patrol Capt. Johnson. The streets were filled with music, free food and even laughter.
Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, AM
- Ferguson police chief Jackson says officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown last Saturday following a convenience store robbery call. Wilson has been with the Ferguson Police Department for the past six years and previously had no disciplinary action taken against him. Jackson also reveals that Brown was a suspect in a convenience story robbery over a $48.99 box of cigars. The full police report also is released, as well as surveillance video of the robbery.
- Brown’s family and their attorneys release a statement responding to the police report identifying Brown as a suspect in a strong-arm robbery. The statement includes: “The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.”
Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, Afternoon
- During a news conference, Ferguson police chief Jackson says the officer who shot and killed Brown was not aware of the robbery. Jackson says Darren Wilson stopped Brown because he and a friend were walking down the street blocking traffic.
Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, Late Evening into Early Morning Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
- More looting takes place in Ferguson. Convenience store where strong-arm robbery allegedly involving Brown is hit.
- Some in Ferguson try to stop looters, form human walls to protect local businesses. Others stand guard outside stores with guns.
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, Afternoon
- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson address media, angry crowd of community members.
- Many gather to pray in Ferguson during a peaceful march from the site of teenager Michael Brown’s shooting along West Florissant to a local church.
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, PM
- Despite heavy rainfall and lightning, hundreds of protesters gather at a busy thoroughfare that has been the site of previous clashes with police. Members of various black community groups, including the New Black Panther Party, urge people to abide by the curfew, which runs from midnight to 5 a.m. Sunday. Hundreds of protesters leave peacefully before the first 12 a.m. curfew goes into effect.
- Remaining protesters chanting “No justice! No curfew!” refuse to leave the area, and police begin firing canisters into the crowd of protesters.
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, AM
- Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson tells reporters at a 2:30 a.m. news conference that seven protesters were arrested and charged with failure to disperse in Saturday night’s protests. Johnson also reports that one protester had been shot and taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Sunday, Aug. 17 2014, Afternoon
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asks the Justice Department to arrange another autopsy on the body of Michael Brown, citing the “extraordinary circumstances” of the case.
- The Rev. Al Sharpton tells a rally at Greater Grace Church that Brown’s death is a “defining moment” on how the United States “deals with policing and the rights of its citizens.” Martin Luther King III also speaks, and calls for the county prosecutor to recuse himself from the case.
- About 150 people gather to show support for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who authorities say fatally shot Michael Brown. Many say they wanted to make their voices heard amid what they have seen as unfair media coverage.
Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, PM
- A preliminary private autopsy, as reported by The New York Times, shows Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Dr. Michael Baden, who flew to Missouri on Sunday to conduct the separate autopsy, says one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting that his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury. Baden says Brown was also shot four times in the right arm, and that all the bullets were fired into his front.
- Peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson quickly deteriorate when marchers push toward one end of a street and are met by police firing tear gas. Police say they acted in response to gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails.
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, AM
- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announces he has signed an executive order deploying the Missouri National Guard “to help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”
- Jennings, Ferguson-Florissant and Riverview Gardens school districts cancel classes due to the growing unrest in Ferguson.
- During a news conference, forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells said a graze wound on Brown’s right arm could have occurred in several ways: Brown may have had his back to the shooter, or he could have been facing the shooter with his hands above his head or in a defensive position in front of his face. “But we don’t know,” Pacells said. Baden said one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he suffered the fatal injury. All Brown’s gunshot wounds were survivable except the one to the top of his skull, Baden said.
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, Afternoon
- Gov. Jay Nixon issues a statement regarding the ongoing situation in Ferguson, announcing there will be no midnight curfew Monday.
- President Barack Obama speaks from the White House about both the situation in Iraq and in Ferguson. He announces that Attorney General Eric Holder will be traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday.
- A group marches to Nixon’s downtown St. Louis office to protest his deployment of the National Guard to Ferguson. Eight people are charged with failure to disperse, including Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and political activist.
Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, PM
- Ferguson-Florissant School District announces all their schools will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 19 through Friday, Aug. 22 due to continued unrest in and around Ferguson.
- Police and protesters collide in the streets of Ferguson again late Monday. Officers use bullhorns to order protestors to disperse. Police deploy noisemakers and armored vehicles to push demonstrators back, and during one confrontation, fire tear gas and flash grenades.
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, AM
- During a media briefing around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson announces that two people were shot and 31 were arrested during Monday night protests in Ferguson. He says four county police officers were hit by bottles and rocks, but not one bullet was fired by police. Johnson urges protestors to take the streets during the day so they won’t be confused with those seeking violence.
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, Afternoon
- A 23-year-old man is dead following an officer-involved shooting in North St. Louis, a few miles north of Ferguson, Mo. According to St. Louis police, the man walked into a convenience store, stole merchandise and when police arrived, he pulled out a knife. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the man said, “Shoot me now! Kill me now!” He was shot by two officers after he came within 3 to 4 feet of them, holding the knife.
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, PM
- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that he will not seek the removal of Bob McCulloch, the county prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. McCulloch’s deep family connections to police have been cited by some black leaders who question his ability to be impartial.
- A night of protests that started out peacefully ends with 47 arrests. Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson says no smoke bombs or tear gas was used by police, but they did use mace. There were no shootings, but a threat was made against officers.
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, AM
- Attorney General Eric Holder flies to St. Louis to visit Ferguson and meets with law enforcement officers and federal investigators. He sought to reassure the people of Ferguson about the investigation into Michael Brown’s death and said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police.
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, PM
- Only six people are arrested in Ferguson on Wednesday night. Capt. Johnson starts off a 1:15 a.m. Thursday press conference by stating, “Tonight was a very good night in Ferguson.”
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, Afternoon
- Gov. Jay Nixon orders the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson.
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