Residents worry about situation unfolding in Ferguson

Aug. 14, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.

Violence and protests in a St. Louis suburb are triggering sharp reactions from Crossroads residents. An unarmed black teen was fatally shot by a police officer, and residents in the Missouri town are outraged. They wait for answers, and so do many in the Crossroads.

Here are some thoughts of residents about the events unfolding:

"If you aren't outraged and disgusted by this, you're part of the problem. Educate yourself and realize that we are not past racism in this country by any means. If the races in this scenario were reversed, it would be called terrorism, not crowd control. Racism thrives on the imbalance of power, and the police force in Ferguson are abusing their position of authority to trample over the innocent and silence anyone who tries to do anything about it."

Paige Guerra, 21, of Victoria; student in Georgetown

Art Conaway, 42, a resident of Ferguson who grew up in Victoria

"I grew up in Victoria but have been living in Ferguson for 12 years. This is where we have been raising our family. This is a very community-active town. I have never lived in a more diverse area with such minimal racism. Being white, I do not pretend to know the anger and frustration of the black community, but I do understand it. The Ferguson law enforcement was not prepared or never imagined these events could unfold like this. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, although there are great examples from great people in our history, there is no one to lead the black community into proper protest. The younger generation is making mistakes that have diminished the cause and tainted the name of Michael Brown and his family. Peaceful options are now unfolding. I can't imagine how we look to the nation through the eyes of the mainstream media."

Brittany Wolfe, 24, Victoria

"Police brutality is getting way out of hand. A badge is no exception for the law. If another person had shot the poor kid, then they would be taken to prison for murder. But a cop does it, and he's protected? He was just doing his job? The kid was unarmed. It doesn't matter if he was threatening the officer. Police are supposed to be trained to handle all types of situations and diffuse crime and violence. Not create more. I don't care what skin color you are; too many people are getting beaten and killed by police for the tiniest things. Honestly, nowadays, when I see officers, I don't feel more safe and secure. I feel threatened and intimidated regardless of if I'm following the law or not. I get it's a stressful job and having my life threatened every day would definitely set me on edge, but something has to be done about all the killing and assaults done at the hands of police."

Travis Smith,31, Victoria

"Two points: First, this is an excellent example of why cops should wear cameras. It removes the one person's word against another's situation. Secondly, and more broadly, there is growing tension with the justice system. America incarcerates too many people (many in for-profit prisons). America incarcerates a disproportionate number of African-Americans, many of whom are non-violent offenders. And the militarization of local police forces during the failure that is the drug war makes the police look like the enemy instead of being there to help. Who is being protected and served with Humvees and armored personnel carriers?"

Clay Foster, 19, Victoria

"Wait until the facts are out. Ninety-nine percent of cops are good, honest people who have no bad intentions. No cop goes to work with the hopes of killing someone. The protesters are out of hand, and the Ferguson Police Department went wrong with the overagressive approach. Prayers for the community that the new commander on the ground can get the protests calmed down so that local, state and federal officials can investigate and the people can voice their concerns, and the Ferguson community can move forward."

Beckey Gooden,50, Seadrift

"I know police must be careful. But these things seem to be happening much too often now. Police are trained to seek protection. Observe the surroundings, hands and actions of people. They wear vests. If they can't actually see a weapon; they should not be able to shoot. If we citizens shoot unarmed people, we are jailed. I have a precious biracial granddaughter. I pray that she's never hurt just because of her skin color. I pray that officers assess situations accurately that she might be found in and seek answers before she is choked, tazed or shot. The riots are not helping matters. But I understand their pain and frustration. Being held to different standards because of your skin color was supposed to cease in the '60s. Police are stressed but apparently, need better training on stressful situations out in the field. Enough children are dying at the hands of ignorant people. It should not be at the hands of the men and women sworn to protect and serve us."



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