Are peaceful protests even possible in Ferguson? A local expert said it will be an uphill battle.
James Peterson, a professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, said he feels an arrest and the decrease of outside agitators could change the images we are seeing in Missouri, but until then, it will be hard for leaders trying to keep protests non violent.
For 10 days, people have witnessed violent looting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Policing these kinds of resistance movements become more complex at nighttime. It just does," said Peterson, director of Africana studies at Lehigh. "I’m not exonerating the police action, but the reality is it’s a tougher job at night.”
Peterson said the protests in Ferguson are different from the protests in the past because of the militarized police force.
“Think about that police force being in your community," added Peterson. "Think about a twelve o’clock curfew for your community, and think about police and national guards personnel telling you can’t walk down a certain street or you can’t organize in a certain area.”
The question is how to turn the violence seen by the world into a more peaceful demonstration for justice.
Peterson said he knows many religious and political leaders are on the ground asking for the fighting to stop, but he feels the group first needs to stop agitators coming into Ferguson from outside the community..
“The militarized presence, it draws people who are interested in anarchy, or interested in really challenging the police because they believe we live in a police state.”
And let people see the judicial process at work.
“There’s not going to be any formal and proper and thorough response by those resistors, by those non-violent protesters until there is some signal of justice being done,” said Peterson.
Peterson said those signs of justice would have to be an indictment by a grand jury or an an arrest of the officer who shot Brown.