Michael Brown’s family has condemned the criminality that followed his shooting by a police officer, but some activists view the looting near St. Louis as a “wake-up call.”
“And we in some way have to thank them for giving us a wake-up call,” community activist James Clark told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Monday night. “And now that we have the wake-up call, we must mobilize and go into our neighborhoods and offer them a sense of hope and a sense of purpose.”
Two nights of looting, arson, vandalism and other criminal behavior followed Brown’s shooting on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses say Brown was unarmed when a white police officer shot him multiple times, killing him under circumstances that are still unclear. Witnesses have said that Brown had his hands raised when the unidentified officer approached with his weapon drawn and fired repeatedly.
As of Tuesday morning, President Obama had not yet commented on Brown’s shooting or the violence, but Attorney General Eric Holder promise a “fulsome review.” Holder announced that the FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations.
“At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own rights,” Holder said. “I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Clark told MSNBC that Brown’s shooting and violent aftermath offer the opportunity to “learn something.”
“We have been very, very neglectful of the St. Louis community, as in communities all over America, when you look at the urban core. There is an obvious disconnect where we have allowed a subculture to grow and fester within our neighborhoods.
“And so we have learned that we cannot shut people out. we cannot disregard people’s need to be welcomed into society because it means that the individuals are now angry, and they have the right to be angry.
“So–so, and we in some way have to thank them for giving us a wake-up call. And now that we have the wake-up call, we must mobilize and go into our neighborhoods and offer them a sense of hope and a sense of purpose.”
But Michael Brown’s grandfather, Les McSpadden, says there’s “no sense” to people who are trying to burn their own neighborhoods. McSpadden said his grandson’s legacy “shouldn’t be about looting, stealing, kicking police cars.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he plans to be in Ferguson Tuesday morning to meet in person with Brown’s family and then hold a news conference. Protesters, meanwhile, plan to gather outside the office of St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch on Tuesday, St. Louis television station KSDK reported.