Residents in north county vent frustration over police stops

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – About three hundred people gathered at the Greater St. Mark’s Family Church to talk about the level of frustration with what should be routine police stops.  But these encounters can easily turn into anything but routine encounters.   At a community meeting last night, Rev. Al Sharpton asked the group to become what he called D.J's. or disciples for justice.

The media was not allowed inside the church, but organizers tell me it was a chance for people to express their frustration with negative police encounters and how young people are reacting to Michael Brown death.  Akbar Muhammad helped organized the event.  'They don`t know how to say an injustice has been done,   let me go get legal counsel.  They were angry. And their anger was reflected in what they did.    But if they had not said one word, and we just looked at it as another thug shot in the street trying to take a police weapon, in two weeks it would have been forgotten.'

People have told us they want the world to know that policing in Missouri has a questionable history for African-Americans.  Zaki Baruti another organizer of Wednesday`s meeting has tracked the numbers that support that thinking.  'Every year, for about ten years, it has come out that there are racial disparities as it relates to traffic stops. Yet no enforcement or change in that particular policy is occurring. '

Anthony Shahid was also instrumental in breaking down the impact on African-Americans when encountering police.  'Systematically when they see them red lights, they don`t think those are some Christmas lights behind them.   They don`t think it`s anything good happening.'

And Akbar Muhammad ties it all together with Michael Brown`s tragic death.  'We didn`t start this we didn`t say we`re going to make it a problem in St. Louis, but it was started by the reckless policeman according to what I heard , it may be seven bullets, in a young black man.  And quite naturally we`ve been this before. '  Now this group will meet again to continue the conversation on Saturday at 10 am at Greater St. Mark’s Family Church.

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