Violence returned on Sunday night to Ferguson, the Missouri town observing the first anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, a black unarmed teen by a white police officer.
A young black man was shot and critically wounded by police officers towards the end of a largely peaceful day of observance, protests and prayer service for Michael Brown.
Shootings were reported on Monday morning also around the place Brown was killed last August by Officer Darren Wilson. But the police said they were not connected to the protests.
“The weekend’s events were peaceful and promoted a message of reconciliation and healing,” US attorney general Loretta Lynch, an African American, said in a statement. “But incidents of violence, such as we saw last night, are contrary to both that message, along with everything that all of us, including this group, have worked to achieve over the past year.”
Local police and authorities have said that the Sunday night violence was started by criminal gangs, who exchanged fire near the place of the protests late into the evening.
Brown’s death last August had triggered protests then that had turned violent soon prompting a police response that was later found, and condemned, as excessive.
Violence continued sporadically and on a much lower scale, but exploded in full force in November after a grand jury declined to indict the white officer Darren Wilson.
Protests spread to other parts of the country, feeding on other such incidents such as the death of African American man Eric Garner at the hands of police officers in New York.
The anniversary of Brown’s death on Sunday had remained largely peaceful most par to the day, with his father leading a march to a church for service after the morning protests. htc