Key Ferguson protester facing assault charge
A prominent Ferguson protester has been charged with misdemeanor assault for brief contact with police officers while attempting to access city hall while it was closed.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department this week convinced the local prosecutor’s office to charge Rasheen Aldridge because he allegedly made physical contact with an officer who was blocking access to St. Louis City Hall during a demonstration last month, the Huffington Post reported.
The 20-year-old activist has been protesting in and around Ferguson, where unarmed African American 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death in August by a white police officer named Darren Wilson.
Aldrige, along with a number of other demonstrators tried to enter the city hall on Nov. 26, less than 2 days after the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson was announced.
According to video footage evidence, Aldridge — who is just 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds — was pushed by a large city marshal who shoved Aldridge, and the protester’s hand touched and perhaps pushed the official.
“The contrast that we see … between the actions of police that are caught on camera versus the actions of protesters that are caught on camera, how and whether these things are prosecuted — the disparity is remarkable,” Rev. Starsky Wilson, the co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.
“I’ve had a team of my church members who have been involved in actions, including being present for some of those actions downtown last Wednesday, and they were concerned about the level of aggression that they saw from police out on those lines, particularly from City Hall,” Wilson said.
Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon named Aldridge to the Ferguson Commission, a task force created to address problems in the St. Louis region in the wake of Brown’s death. On behalf of the commission last week, Aldridge met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the relationship between the police and local citizens of color. He said he left the meeting “disappointed” with Obama, whom he once considered his “idol.”
Thoughts on the police charging Aldridge? Does this appear to be a targeted attack?
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