The parents of slain teen Michael Brown Jr. on Tuesday joined national civil rights leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, to appeal to the community for calm following two nights of clashes with police — and to demand that authorities release the name of the officer responsible for Saturday's fatal shooting.
"The law says within 72 hours they are supposed to release the name of the shooting officer, but now they say for safety concerns, even though they haven’t released evidence of any direct threats against this officer," said attorney Benjamin Crump, who is based in Tallahassee and now represents Brown's parents.
Crump previously represented the parents of Trayvon Martin, the black teen who was killed by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012.
"We want to know why they felt the need to execute Michael and Leslie (McSpadden)’s child," said Crump, referring to Brown's parents.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson had originally said he planned to release the officer's name on Tuesday but backtracked after threats were called into the police department and City Hall and posted on social media.
"If we come out and say, 'it was this officer,' then he immediately becomes a target," Jackson said. "We're taking the threats seriously."
The officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday after fatally shooting 18-year-old Brown.
Civil rights advocate and MSNBC host Reverend Al Sharpton also stood with Brown's parents on Tuesday, and called for cooler heads in the community after riots and looting broke out late Sunday night and unrest continued to simmer on Monday night.
"To become violent in Michael Brown's name is to betray the gentle giant that he was," said Sharpton, whose National Action Network will be paying for Brown's funeral. "Don’t be so angry as to distort the image of who his mother and father tell us who he was."
"Some of us are making the story how mad we were, rather than how promising he was. Don’t be a traitor to Michael Brown in the name of 'you're mad.'"
Michael Brown Sr. also made a plea for peace in the streets saying, "I just want justice for my son, I really do ... I need everybody to come together so we can do this right, so we can get something done about this. No violence."
First published August 12 2014, 12:29 PM