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As the nation awaits a grand jury decision on whether a white police officer should be charged in the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the youth’s father on Thursday urged supporters to work toward "positive change" and not to engage in violence.
Michael Brown, Sr., made the appeal in a video ahead of the decision in the Aug. 9 shooting death of his son in the St. Louis suburb that triggered riots and protests and led to a national debate about race relations, police brutality and civil rights.
"My family and I are hurting. Our whole region is hurting. I thank you for lifting your voices to interracial profiling and police intimidation. But hurting others or destroying property is not the answer," he said. "No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone."
Officials, business owners and local residents are worried that protests over Brown’s death could resurface with renewed fervor and turn violent if the grand jury decides not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, 28. That decision could come any day.
"We live here together, this is our home, we are stronger united," Brown, Sr., said in the video. "Continue to lift your voices with us and let’s work together to heal to create lasting change for all people regardless of race."
The video was published by STLForward, which described itself as an information portal made by a diverse group of St. Louis-area volunteers aiming to help the region "move forward through the creation of a new standard of inclusion for all residents."
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