As if Michael Brown’s killing at the hands of a police officer weren’t tragic enough, new reports have drawn attention to the continued indignities inflicted upon mourners by Ferguson police.
Police not only gunned down an unarmed teenager, but they also disrespected the makeshift memorial for the teen on more than one occasion.
MotherJones reports that after Michael Brown’s mother and others left flowers at the memorial, Ferguson police drove over them:
Missouri state Rep. Sharon Pace, whose district includes the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, told me she went to the scene that afternoon to comfort the parents, who were blocked by police from approaching their son’s body. Pace purchased some tea lights for the family, and around 7 p.m. she joined Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, and others as they placed the candles and sprinkled flowers on the ground where Brown had died. “They spelled out his initials with rose petals over the bloodstains,” Pace recalled.
By then, police had prohibited all vehicles from entering Canfield Drive except for their own. Soon the candles and flowers had been smashed, after police drove over them.
Police also allowed a dog to urinate on the memorial, according to the report:
Several officers emerged with dogs. What happened next, according to several sources, was emblematic of what has inflamed the city of Ferguson, Missouri, ever since the unarmed 18-year-old was gunned down: An officer on the street let the dog he was controlling urinate on the memorial site.
The incident was related to me separately by three state and local officials who worked with the community in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. One confirmed that he interviewed an eyewitness, a young woman, and pressed her on what exactly she saw. “She said that the officer just let the dog pee on it,” that official told me. “She was very distraught about it.” The identity of the officer who handled the dog and the agency he was with remain unclear.
From the beginning of this incident, police in Ferguson fanned the flames, then brought out the dogs and militaristic equipment once people in the community had had enough.
And as BreakingBrown posted on our Facebook page, a photo from NPR shows that some members of the mainstream press haven’t done much better at respecting the memorial. Pay careful attention to the cameraman’s feet: