Parents demand justice after unarmed son killed by police - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Parents demand justice after unarmed son killed by police

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Attorney Benjamin Crump (right) and parents of Michael Brown who was killed by St. Louis area police. Attorney Benjamin Crump (right) and parents of Michael Brown who was killed by St. Louis area police.
ST. LOUIS, MO (KCTV/AP) -

A black teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer had his hands raised when the officer approached him with his weapon drawn and fired repeatedly, according to two men who said they witnessed the shooting, which sparked a night of unrest in suburban St. Louis.

The FBI opened an investigation on Monday into the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times Saturday after being confronted by an officer in Ferguson, a 21,000-resident suburb that's nearly 70 percent black.

Authorities were vague about exactly what led the officer to open fire, except to say that the shooting was preceded by a scuffle of some kind. It was unclear whether Brown or a man he was with was involved in the altercation.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, who referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.

Benjamin Crump, who is the plaintiff's attorney for Martin's family, is now representing Brown's family.

Violence continued Monday night. The Galleria mall in suburban St. Louis was shut down due to fights. And tear gas was unleashed on protesters in Ferguson who called for violence, according to KMOV-TV reporters.

Earlier, during an emotional late afternoon news conference, Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, collapsed in tears. She spoke about her pain and loss.

She said she did not understand why police did not subdue her son with a club or stun gun. She said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted, adding that "I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty."

Michael Brown Sr. said his son was fun and silly, adding that he loved to make people laugh.

"He was a good boy. He didn't deserve none of this," he said. "We need justice for our son. We need justice for our son."

He said a proper investigation needs to occur.

"We are going to do this right," he said. "We don't want no violence."

"Michael wouldn't have wanted violence," his mother said.

"He wouldn't have wanted none of this," his father added. "We need justice for our son."

Investigators have refused to publicly disclose the race of the officer, who is now on administrative leave. But Phillip Walker said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot and saw a white officer with Brown on the street.

Brown "was giving up in the sense of raising his arms and being subdued," Walker told The Associated Press on Monday. The officer "had his gun raised and started shooting the individual in the chest multiple times." The officer then "stood over him and shot him" after the victim fell wounded.

Dorian Johnson offered a similar account when he told WALB-TV that he and Brown were walking home from a convenience store when a police officer told them to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Johnson said they kept walking, which caused the officer to confront them from his car and again after getting out of his car.

Johnson said the first time the officer fired, he and Brown got scared and ran away.

"He shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air, and he started to get down," Johnson said. "But the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots."

"We wasn't causing harm to nobody," Johnson said. "We had no weapons on us at all."

Walker acknowledged that he did not see a scuffle or the circumstances surrounding the first gunshot.

The St. Louis County Police Department refused to discuss Johnson's remarks, citing the ongoing investigation. But county Police Chief Jon Belmar previously said that an officer encountered Brown and another man outside an apartment complex, and that one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car and they struggled over the officer's weapon.

The FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations arising from the shooting, said Cheryl Mimura, a spokeswoman for the FBI's St. Louis field office. She said the FBI would be investigating regardless of the public attention surrounding the matter.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that the case deserves a thorough review.

Nearly three dozen people were arrested following a candlelight vigil on Sunday night after crowds looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles, assaulted and threatened reporters, and taunted officers who tried to block access to parts of the city.

St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said 32 people were arrested for various offenses, including assault, burglary and theft. Two officers suffered minor injuries, and there were no reports of civilians hurt.

Several businesses were looted, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store. People also took items from a sporting goods store and a cellphone retailer and carted rims away from a tire store.

The second person has not been arrested or charged, and it was not clear if he was armed, Jackson said. Blood samples were taken from Brown and the officer who shot him for toxicology tests, which can take weeks to complete.

Crump said Brown's parents shouldn't be in this situation.

"Instead of celebrating his future, they are having to plan his funeral," he said.

While he said this is about anger and not justice, he also offered incendiary words.

"I don't want to sugarcoat it," Crump said about Brown. "(He) was executed in broad daylight."

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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