Ferguson’s Thanksgiving mixed with kindness, sadness – CNN

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Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) — National Guard members were on duty in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thanksgiving but the people who came up to them only wanted to spread goodwill, bringing turkey and other treats.

CNN affiliate KSDK reported that dozens of citizens visited one post at a shopping center.

“We just all have to make sure that we are taking care of one another,” Terry Pimmel told the station. “That is our mission.”

Gov. Jay Nixon also stopped by to see the troops.

Other volunteers bundled up and painted boards that cover the holes where windows used to be in buildings trashed during recent protests, according to CNN affiliate KMOV.

“We came out here because we thought that anything would be better than just blank plywood,” Avi Ryan, 13, told KMOV.

Some members of the family of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in August by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, gathered at his father’s place for their first holiday dinner since Brown’s death.

There was a chair left empty at the dining room table of Michael Brown Sr., a photo posted to Twitter by Ferguson Action showed.

A shirt with the words “Gone (Too) Soon” was draped over the chair and Brown Sr. wore a shirt that said, “Justice.

Small protests overnight

Perhaps it was the biting cold, or maybe it was because of Thanksgiving. But Ferguson was much calmer early Thursday than it had been the previous two days.

A few dozen protesters showed up outside police headquarters in Ferguson late Wednesday night. And standing under a “Seasons Greetings” sign stretching over the road, they fired obscenities at National Guard members who stood on watch outside the police department’s offices.

But there were no incidents, no confrontations between the two sides. Police made two arrests, and no injuries or damages were reported.

A protest organizer told CNN that even though the numbers were small early Thursday, demonstrators will return night after night as they have done since the summer when Michael Brown, a black teen, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

A protester is arrested in New York during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 27. A grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has prompted demonstrations across the country. See photos of the unrest in Ferguson.A protester is arrested in New York during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 27. A grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has prompted demonstrations across the country. See photos of the unrest in Ferguson.
A protester sits in the back of a police bus after being arrested during a demonstration in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 26.A protester sits in the back of a police bus after being arrested during a demonstration in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 26.
Protesters gather on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Tuesday, November 25.Protesters gather on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Tuesday, November 25.
A protester adds wood to a fire burning in Oakland, California, on November 25.A protester adds wood to a fire burning in Oakland, California, on November 25.
A woman joins a rally near Los Angeles police headquarters on November 25.A woman joins a rally near Los Angeles police headquarters on November 25.
Protesters gather in Eugene, Oregon, on November 25.Protesters gather in Eugene, Oregon, on November 25.
Protesters in Atlanta block all northbound lanes of Interstate 75/85 near the Georgia state Capitol on November 25.Protesters in Atlanta block all northbound lanes of Interstate 75/85 near the Georgia state Capitol on November 25.
Businesses were looted in Oakland on November 25, including a T-Mobile store.Businesses were looted in Oakland on November 25, including a T-Mobile store.
People march in Newark, New Jersey, on November 25.People march in Newark, New Jersey, on November 25.
Hundreds of demonstrators gather to protest in Washington on November 25.Hundreds of demonstrators gather to protest in Washington on November 25.
Protesters gather outside Los Angeles police headquarters on November 25.Protesters gather outside Los Angeles police headquarters on November 25.
Schoolchildren from the Potomac Preparatory Charter School take part in a "die-in" November 25 during a protest outside the Office of Police Complaints in Washington.Schoolchildren from the Potomac Preparatory Charter School take part in a “die-in” November 25 during a protest outside the Office of Police Complaints in Washington.
Students at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis rally in support of police brutality victims on November 25. Students at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis rally in support of police brutality victims on November 25.
Demonstrators gather November 25 outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct.Demonstrators gather November 25 outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct.
Protesters march up New York's Seventh Avenue on Monday, November 24. Protesters march up New York’s Seventh Avenue on Monday, November 24.
A protester in New York scuffles with police during a march toward Times Square on November 24.A protester in New York scuffles with police during a march toward Times Square on November 24.
Demonstrators gather around a fire in the streets of Oakland on November 24.Demonstrators gather around a fire in the streets of Oakland on November 24.
Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland on November 24.Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland on November 24.
Seattle police attempt to push back protesters with pepper spray and flash-bang grenades on November 24.Seattle police attempt to push back protesters with pepper spray and flash-bang grenades on November 24.
A Seattle protester pours milk in his eyes after being tear-gassed on November 24.A Seattle protester pours milk in his eyes after being tear-gassed on November 24.
A protester in Denver holds up his arms during a moment of silence November 24 at Civic Center Park.A protester in Denver holds up his arms during a moment of silence November 24 at Civic Center Park.
A crowd in Washington gathers outside the White House on November 24.A crowd in Washington gathers outside the White House on November 24.
Demonstrators march down a street in Washington on November 24.Demonstrators march down a street in Washington on November 24.
Community activist Najee Ali speaks in Los Angeles' Leimert Park on November 24.Community activist Najee Ali speaks in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park on November 24.
Protesters in Los Angeles lie down in a major intersection to block traffic on November 24.Protesters in Los Angeles lie down in a major intersection to block traffic on November 24.
Protesters march near Chicago police headquarters on November 24.Protesters march near Chicago police headquarters on November 24.

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Photos: Ferguson protests across U.S.Photos: Ferguson protests across U.S.

Ferguson protesters arrested near parade

Protesters flood streets around the U.S.

Shop owner: ‘We can rebuild’ Ferguson

Nationwide, protests continued, but they too were peaceful for the most part. In Los Angeles, police arrested 130 protesters on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse. In Oakland, California, police arrested 35 people for a variety of charges related to protests.

At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on Thursday morning, seven were arrested after several people broke through barriers near the parade route to protest Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Wilson, New York police said.

Wilson’s future

For his part, Wilson is in talks to leave the Ferguson Police Department and may give up being an officer altogether.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,” Wilson’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, told CNN’s Don Lemon late Wednesday.

“Realistically, he can’t go back to being a police officer. He knows that. There’s no illusion about any of this.”

Wilson has said he killed the 18-year-old Brown out of fear for his life during their encounter on August 9. He maintains he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Though he hasn’t said much, Wilson sympathizes with Brown’s family, his attorney said.

“His remorse and his sadness about what happened is there, and it’s real,” Bruntrager told CNN.

“But in respect to the Browns, he’s been very careful to sort of stand back. He knows that whatever he says, it’s not going to be read as he means it.”

The Browns’ dismay

Brown’s parents don’t believe Wilson’s version of events, telling CNN’s Sunny Hostin their son would never have taunted the officer nor reached for his weapon

“He’s a murderer,” Brown’s father said, referring to Wilson.

A police officer redirects traffic as they keep part of a street closed in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, November 27. Ferguson has struggled to return to normal since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on August 9. A grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson prompted new waves of protests in Ferguson and across the country.A police officer redirects traffic as they keep part of a street closed in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, November 27. Ferguson has struggled to return to normal since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on August 9. A grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson prompted new waves of protests in Ferguson and across the country.
Members of the National Guard man a checkpoint at a Ferguson shopping mall on November 27.Members of the National Guard man a checkpoint at a Ferguson shopping mall on November 27.
National Guard troops, who were called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to help maintain order, help with security at the mall on Wednesday, November 26.National Guard troops, who were called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to help maintain order, help with security at the mall on Wednesday, November 26.
National Guard troops are seen in Ferguson on November 26. National Guard troops are seen in Ferguson on November 26.
Nick Ahmad, owner of Elite Liquor, peers out of the store's door while waiting for customers on November 26. Ahmad paid $3,000 to hire several residents from the community to stand guard outside his business and deter looters.Nick Ahmad, owner of Elite Liquor, peers out of the store’s door while waiting for customers on November 26. Ahmad paid $3,000 to hire several residents from the community to stand guard outside his business and deter looters.
Snow falls as the Missouri National Guard watches protesters outside of the Ferguson Police Department on November 26. Snow falls as the Missouri National Guard watches protesters outside of the Ferguson Police Department on November 26.
A protester is helped after being pepper-sprayed on November 26.A protester is helped after being pepper-sprayed on November 26.
A protester holds her hands up in front of police on Tuesday, November 25. A protester holds her hands up in front of police on Tuesday, November 25.
Police arrest a protester November 25.Police arrest a protester November 25.
Protesters vandalize a police vehicle outside Ferguson City Hall on November 25.Protesters vandalize a police vehicle outside Ferguson City Hall on November 25.
Police stand guard near Ferguson City Hall during protests on November 25.Police stand guard near Ferguson City Hall during protests on November 25.
Smoke engulfs a police officer on November 25.Smoke engulfs a police officer on November 25.
Police take a protester into custody on November 25.Police take a protester into custody on November 25.
Protesters stand across the street from the Ferguson Police Department on November 25.Protesters stand across the street from the Ferguson Police Department on November 25.
Protesters face off against a police officer on November 25.Protesters face off against a police officer on November 25.
Protesters link arms in front of the Ferguson Police Department on November 25.Protesters link arms in front of the Ferguson Police Department on November 25.
National Guard troops secure the police station in Ferguson on November 25.National Guard troops secure the police station in Ferguson on November 25.
Police officers walk past the smoldering remains of a beauty supply store on November 25.Police officers walk past the smoldering remains of a beauty supply store on November 25.
A woman cleans up glass from a business' shattered window on November 25.A woman cleans up glass from a business’ shattered window on November 25.
A Ferguson firefighter surveys rubble at a strip mall that was set on fire overnight.A Ferguson firefighter surveys rubble at a strip mall that was set on fire overnight.
Protesters run away after police deployed tear gas in Ferguson on Monday, November 24.Protesters run away after police deployed tear gas in Ferguson on Monday, November 24.
Police take position during clashes with protesters on November 24.Police take position during clashes with protesters on November 24.
A protester stands in front of police vehicles with his hands up on November 24.A protester stands in front of police vehicles with his hands up on November 24.
Police in riot gear move past a burning vehicle on November 24.Police in riot gear move past a burning vehicle on November 24.
A looter in Ferguson walks out of a burning Walgreens on November 24.A looter in Ferguson walks out of a burning Walgreens on November 24.
Riot police clash with protesters on November 24.Riot police clash with protesters on November 24.
Firefighters work on extinguishing a Little Caesars restaurant on November 24.Firefighters work on extinguishing a Little Caesars restaurant on November 24.
Smoke fills the streets of Ferguson as buildings burn on November 24.Smoke fills the streets of Ferguson as buildings burn on November 24.
Police officers grab a protester on November 24.Police officers grab a protester on November 24.
A woman treats her face for possible tear gas exposure on November 24.A woman treats her face for possible tear gas exposure on November 24.
People walk away from a burning storage facility on November 24.People walk away from a burning storage facility on November 24.
A man steps out of a vandalized store on November 24.A man steps out of a vandalized store on November 24.
A police officer runs by a burning police car on November 24.A police officer runs by a burning police car on November 24.
Police officers stand guard as protesters confront them on November 24.Police officers stand guard as protesters confront them on November 24.
Protesters block streets in St. Louis after the announcement of the grand jury's decision on November 24. Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis.Protesters block streets in St. Louis after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision on November 24. Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis.
Police confront protesters in Ferguson on November 24.Police confront protesters in Ferguson on November 24.
A police officer points his rifle at demonstrators on November 24.A police officer points his rifle at demonstrators on November 24.
Protesters run for shelter as smoke fills the streets of Ferguson on November 24.Protesters run for shelter as smoke fills the streets of Ferguson on November 24.
The glass windows of a store are shattered on November 24.The glass windows of a store are shattered on November 24.
A demonstrator listens to a car radio as the grand jury's decision is delivered in front of the Ferguson Police Department.A demonstrator listens to a car radio as the grand jury’s decision is delivered in front of the Ferguson Police Department.
Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, is escorted away from the Ferguson Police Department on November 24.Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, is escorted away from the Ferguson Police Department on November 24.
A group of protesters vandalizes a police vehicle in Ferguson on November 24.A group of protesters vandalizes a police vehicle in Ferguson on November 24.
Police officers confront protesters on November 24.Police officers confront protesters on November 24.
Demonstrators block traffic during a protest in front of the Ferguson Police Department on November 24.Demonstrators block traffic during a protest in front of the Ferguson Police Department on November 24.
Demonstrators gather outside the police station on November 24. The man in the green sleeves is Michael Brown's stepfather, Louis Head. In a video of the scene from the New York Times, Brown consoles a tearful McSpadden and then tells the crowd to "burn this mother f---er down."Demonstrators gather outside the police station on November 24. The man in the green sleeves is Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head. In a video of the scene from the New York Times, Brown consoles a tearful McSpadden and then tells the crowd to “burn this mother f—er down.”
Protesters gather as they wait for the announcement of the grand jury decision on November 24.Protesters gather as they wait for the announcement of the grand jury decision on November 24.
Members of the media line up in a parking lot across from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center on November 24.Members of the media line up in a parking lot across from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center on November 24.
Residents begin to gather at the Michael Brown memorial ahead of the grand jury announcement.Residents begin to gather at the Michael Brown memorial ahead of the grand jury announcement.
National Guard troops arrive ahead of the grand jury announcement. National Guard troops arrive ahead of the grand jury announcement.
Members of the Missouri National Guard are escorted out of the Buzz Westfall Justice Center. Members of the Missouri National Guard are escorted out of the Buzz Westfall Justice Center.
Demonstrators are confronted by police as they block a street before the grand jury announcement. Demonstrators are confronted by police as they block a street before the grand jury announcement.

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Photos: Unrest in FergusonPhotos: Unrest in Ferguson

‘A watershed moment for a generation’

Protesters burn restaurant a second time

Michael Brown Sr.’s church set on fire

“He understood his actions. He understood exactly what he was doing. You know, he didn’t have a second thought, a pushback thought, or nothing. He was intending to kill someone. That’s how I look at it,” Brown said. “He was going to kill someone at that point.”

Michael Brown’s mother said hearing that a grand jury had decided not to indict the officer who killed her son felt like getting shot.

“We heard this and it was just like, like I had been shot. Like you shoot me now — just no respect, no sympathy, nothing,” Lesley McSpadden told Hostin on Wednesday. “This could be your child. This could be anybody’s child.”

Investigation continues

Back in Ferguson, a one-mile stretch of West Florissant Avenue, the site of previous protests, was closed to cars and pedestrians, with authorities saying the burned-out buildings on the route are crime scenes.

One of those buildings is Flood Christian Church, where Michael Brown Sr. is a member.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is leading an investigation into the fire that destroyed the church, a spokesman said.

Investigators have found that someone broke into the church, and the fire began in a foyer near the doors that were breached, the ATF spokesman said.

The church is some distance away from the strip of stores that burned Monday. Other nearby structures were untouched, which is cause for suspicion, the spokesman said.

Also Wednesday, Ferguson police were looking for clues as to who stole an AR-15 that was locked in a rack and plucked from a police car torched by rioters this week.

“They took the entire rack from the car,” St. Louis County police Sgt. Brian Schellman said.

Complete coverage of what’s happening in Ferguson

CNN’s Moni Basu reported from Ferguson, and Steve Almasy and Saeed Ahmed wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Sara Sidner, Faith Karimi, Jason Hanna and Evan Perez contributed to this report.



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