A Day in August
This interlude details the death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown Jr., who was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. Several witnesses of the shooting claim that Brown had had his hands above his head at the time he was shot. For over an hour, Brown remained uncovered with an increasing trail of blood moving down the street as his body bled out. As time went on, more people began arriving at the scene from across the St. Louis region, as did law enforcement officials. The Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments struggled to secure the area, and many people later reported that it was unclear who was in charge. Continued protests, arrests, and militarized police responses, which included repeated use of tear gas and the firing of rubber bullets into the crowd, escalated over the following days. Many people who witnessed Brown in the street recalled specific ways in which the image of his body conveyed their own vulnerability—as people out of place. Most viewed his death as a lynching. Residents also spoke of a disturbing irony they had long felt but saw play out before them on that day: their experience of being targeted, harassed, and regarded as less than human by those who simultaneously practice a most extreme inhumanity.
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