Southeast Missouri State University students who gathered Tuesday on campus to protest Monday’s grand jury decision in St. Louis County, Missouri, said they wanted an indictment of the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and denounced the related violence and destruction in and around St. Louis.
Kimisha Robinson, a junior at Southeast, organized the protest by reaching out to the campus via social media. About noon Tuesday, about 50 people began a protest in front of Kent Library in the center of campus, where they chanted Michael Brown’s name and, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
Students walking by and cars traveling the street in front of the library signaled approval of the protest by raising their arms or honking horns.
St. Louis native Jonetta Alexander, a Southeast senior, was among the protesters.
“The decision to not charge Darren Wilson doesn’t make sense,” she said. “Everything’s been sketchy from the go. A man lost his life, and somebody has to pay for it.”
Alexander said she believes Brown, who was suspected by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson of a robbery when he was stopped and the shooting took place Aug. 9, according to court documents, could have been subdued in a way that didn’t result in his death.
“He could have shot him in the legs,” she said. “It’s just unjust, that’s what it is.”
Several students who watched the protest shared similar sentiments or said they were glad to see the activity happening in Cape Girardeau.
“Even though there was a grand jury, it should have been taken to trial. There are so many questions,” said Brittney Cullen, a student from Creve Coeur, Missouri.
“I definitely think it’s warranted to have these protests,” said Katie Smith, a Southeast junior from Catlin, Illinois, “I think all of the racism and racial tension is a huge issue, and it needs to be addressed.”
Though the students holding the protest disagreed with the grand jury’s decision, they said looting and other rioting in Ferguson and other St. Louis-area communities Monday is unacceptable.
“I understand that people are upset,” Alexander said. “But [a peaceful protest] is all we have the right to do. We do not have the right to break the law. That’s ignorance, and it’s making everything in a negative light.”
The group planned to end the protest with a prayer.
***This protest took place on Tuesday November 25, 2014 the following day after the Grand Jury decision was announced) ***
Source: Southeast Missourian