Activist Priest Warns Ferguson Police: Protesters Who Chanted Burn it Down “Still Might Do That”
On November 24, 2014, at least 18 Ferguson businesses were torched to the ground and several more were looted and vandalized after a jury announced it would not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of robber Michael Brown.
On Sunday, Rev. Gerald Kleba, a Catholic priest, warned Ferguson police that protesters still might burn down their police department headquarters.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:
About 25 civic leaders, members of the clergy and residents stood in front of the Ferguson Police Department on Sunday afternoon, calling for wholesale leadership changes.
They said they were motivated by the recent Department of Justice investigation that reinforced what many of them had suspected: unfair policing that targeted minorities.
“We implore the Ferguson municipality to eliminate these patterns and practices immediately by firing and finding a new police chief and rehiring all police officers in order that this city may be liberated,” the Rev. Spencer Booker, pastor of St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, said at the news conference…
…The Rev. Gerald Kleba, a Roman Catholic priest, said that the newly remodeled police department headquarters and jail, the red brick building behind the group, was tainted because it was partially paid for with overly aggressive ticketing and fines.
“The building is worthless and a sham and a shell unless an equal amount of time, energy and money is spent to bring a new culture and new police department to Ferguson, where officers truly serve and protect all the people,” Kleba said. “Otherwise the protesters who chanted ‘Burn it all down’ might just still do that.
“I say this with fear, but conscientious people have to be concerned and cannot be surprised if there are outbreaks of violence in response to the daily violence of a culture of injustice that leads to a new Jim Crow, prisons overcrowded with young people of color.”
Who needs radical protesters when the local clergy is threatening to torch government buildings.