Fury in Ferguson: City authorities want to remove shrine to Michael Brown as 'teachable moment', while witness to the fatal shooting claims he was wrongly stopped and shot at
- Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson street
- Death led to wave of protests and makeshift memorial set up on road where he died, but it has now become a safety hazard and could be removed
- Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown, launched a lawsuit against police
- He claims he was targeted without reason and Wilson acted with 'deliberate indifference or reckless disregard' towards him when he started shooting
Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, when he ran off unarmed
The family of Michael Brown and Ferguson officials are considering whether to risk inflaming tensions by removing a shrine to the teenager who was shot by a police officer.
The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Brown, who was unarmed, led to a wave of protests across America against police brutality towards black people.
It also began the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gathered pace with recent killings of black people at the hands of police.
Following Brown's death a shrine - in two parts just yards apart - appeared on the road where he died.
Candles, dozens of stuffed animals and tributes were placed on the road in Ferguson, Missouri, just hours after his death.
The shrine quickly became a symbol for the campaign against police brutality and a site for the outpouring of grief over his death.
However it has also become a safety hazard for drivers and is considered an eyesore. Officials are now pondering whether they can risk making tensions worse by removing it and replacing it with a smaller less intrusive tribute, which they hope can be used as a symbol of unity to allow the community to move forward.
'It's a very sensitive topic,' Janie Jones, a black Washington-based mediator, told Associated Press.
'It represents a community's cry for justice — not just for Michael Brown, but for people all over the world.'
The shrine, which sits close to a 21,000 resident mainly black suburb, has become a hallowed symbol of a new civil rights movement over race and policing.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said while they were grateful for what the shrine represents, it had become a public safety issue.
At a Ferguson City Council meeting last month he proposed replacing it with a permanent dove shaped marker in the street, TIME reported.
He said the new marker would 'take a very tragic situation and use it as a teachable moment to encourage community healing and symbolize the unity that is very much needed.'
The Mayor, who is white, highlighted an incident last Christmas when a motorist ploughed through the shrine.
The city, Brown's family and Ms Jones are trying to decide whether the shrine could be removed or replaced without inflaming tensions.
Brown's family and the city are considering whether a makeshift shrine to the teenager - which has become a symbol of the movement against police brutality - can be removed because it is a safety hazard for drivers
It is being considered as Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown on the day of the shooting, has filed a lawsuit claiming that police officer Darren Wilson fired at them both as they ran away from him in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9.
He claims he was targeted without probable cause.
In the lawsuit Johnson claims officer Wilson 'acted with either deliberate indifference and/or reckless disregard' towards him. He claims they were never told to stop or 'freeze' by the officer.
He also said that former Police Chief Thomas Jackson encouraged biased police behavior, NBC reported.
Two makeshift shrines, just meters apart, appeared on the road where Brown was shot just hours after he died
Dorian Johnson (left) has filed a lawsuit claiming he was unfairly targeted by officers when with Brown (right)
He seeks $25,000 in damages and is bringing the lawsuit against Wilson, the former police chief and the city.
James Williams, an attorney for Johnson, said his client's lawsuit is part of the effort 'to bring Darren Wilson to justice.'
Johnson was not injured in the confrontation and Brown, who was unarmed, died.
His death sparked riots and looting, which were repeated when a grand jury decided that no charges would be brought against Wilson.
The US Justice Department released a report into the incident citing racial bias and profiling in how the Ferguson Police force dealt with black people. Wilson later decided to leave the police.
Brown's parents have launched a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Wilson and Jackson in the wake of their son's death.
The black teenager's death led to a wave of protests in Ferguson against police brutality against black people
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