WASHINGTON,D.C. – In the aftermath of the St. Louis County’s grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on charges related to the Aug. 9 shooting death of Mike Brown, local community activist Rocky Twyman and several county residents, including Christine Jenkins, Pastor Andy Johnson, and Hikeen Falden, joined other protesters in D.C. this week hoping to force a change in the system.
While others stopped traffic during morning rush hour at several locations, Twyman and his group gathered in front of the White House to ask President Obama to invite former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, his wife, and Mike Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Mike Brown Sr., to the White House for a racial summit of healing.
Twyman said the racial summit of healing will help ease racial tensions and riots across the country and in Ferguson. There have not been any protests held in Montgomery County, although many county residents, including Twyman, have participated in protests held in the district. Twyman is also calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores because of donations he says were made to Wilson’s defense fund.
“It looks like we’re reviving that movement and we got things done by boycotting calling attention to racial profiling its very counterproductive to burn things in your neighborhood, it puts people at a disadvantage. It’s a terrible thing and it needs cease,” said Twyman.
Protests against the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson erupted nationwide, including inside the nation’s capital where protesters shut down traffic in Chinatown and on the 14th Street Bridge during rush hour. So far, no protests have been held in Montgomery County and county police say they do not expect any.
Despite a white man calling his group “black racists,” Twyman says the overall response to the protest was positive.
Jenkins, a King Farms resident, held a Book of Prayers card she says people from all over the world signed. She says she is a victim of racial profiling by county police.
“I do believe there is a bigger issue here as far as race relations in the county and we really need to address them. We need to stop pretending they’ve gotten better and we really need to come together and stop labeling ourselves and just come together as American citizens and be constructive in how we deal with things. I hope we really set an example and show you can exercise your free speech but it should be done in a civil manner and set an example to the world. People are looking at us and we need to do a better job,” Jenkins said.
Johnson, a pastor and veteran of three wars, said he is protesting because of the mistakes he says the St. Louis County prosecutor made during the indictment process.
“Our nation has been rocked lately by the events of a white police officer killing a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri. There were several obvious mistakes made, from the police officer single-handedly going into a neighborhood situation that he was terrified of…” said Johnson. “Now, there is anarchy and chaos spreading around the nation because powerless people have to do something outwardly or explode inwardly. An overheated engine will invariably blow a hose or radiator and people are no different.”
Twyman is also calling for the nation to hold a national day of prayer.
“It would be a great thing for racial healing if he tried to make it happen,” said Twyman.
On November 29, Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department citing safety concerns for the other officers. The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether or not Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights during the shooting.