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Kansas City Response to Ferguson Orderly, Thoughtful

Julia Davis

From the Country Club Plaza to the federal courthouse to a church at 46th and Benton Boulevard, activists in Kansas City, Mo., protested passionately, but generally with civility Tuesday in the wake of the controversial decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

Four people were arrested for blocking traffic and one for assaulting a Kansas City police officer's horse, according to Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp.  Otherwise, peaceful marches took place around Westport and the Plaza.  

On a day when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon tripled the National Guard presence in and around the St. Louis suburb and angry protests occurred nationwide, in Kansas City, the atmosphere was relatively calm.

In the afternoon, about 30 civil rights leaders and clergy marched to the federal courthouse at 9th and Locust Streets in Kansas City, Mo.

The President of the local NAACP, Anita Russell, said the rally reflected the disappointment and frustration over what she called “the senseless death of yet another African American at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the communities where they live.”  

Russell said the NAACP will continue to fight to outlaw racial profiling.

As the sun was setting , protesters at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain on the Plaza raised signs saying “Theft Don’t Mean Death” in response to allegations that Brown robbed a convenience store before his killing.

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR
At St. Andrew Methodist Church a crowded hall participated in a dialogue about why their communities are at risk.

Later at the St. Andrew United Methodist Church on 46th Street and Benton Boulevard, a diverse crowd listened peacefully to impassioned speeches about the Brown incident and the current state of Kansas City’s own urban communities.

An ad hoc group, 1StruggleKC, organized the effort to “harness the energy of Ferguson, Mo., to connect the struggles of many communities.”  

The Rev. Antonio Settles of St. Andrew recently moved to Kansas City from St. Louis.  

He said the organizers came to him to ask for his support.

“Even though I’m new to the community,” Settles said,  “I think this is very important for people to have the opportunity to express, and to heal through that expression. “

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