Supporters of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot an unarmed teenager dead on August 9, staged a rally on Sunday. The event countered days of spirited and occasionally violent protests in support of the slain teenager, Michael Brown. It took place in front of KSDK in St. Louis after the station aired footage of the Wilson’s home on Friday. The station subsequently removed the footage an apologized.
The rally was organized through Facebook page — Support Darren Wilson — which has garnered over 18,000 likes. The administrators of the page encouraged the protesters not to speak to the media. Several people in attendance, however, did speak to Jon Swaine, who covered the rally for The Gaurdian. One attendee, Damon Andersen, predicted that as a result of the controversy “Ferguson will now be forced to hire 10 African American police officers… Let the black officers see how difficult it is to try and deal with the black criminals…”
More supporters of Darren Wilson, officer who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, protesting in downtown St. Louis pic.twitter.com/A6kUsnzGML
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 17, 2014
Organizers also are raising money for Darren Wilson to cover “any financial needs… including legal fees.” One donor, who identified himself as John Dawson, wrote “As a retired officer I have run into thugs like Mike Brown also. Why do we let the media make a hero out of a thug and a criminal out of a good officer.” As of Sunday evening, the effort raised over $2100.
Swaine estimated that there were 150 people in attendance, virtually all white. There was only one black member of the crowd, “Martin Baker, a consultant and former Republican congressional primary candidate.”
Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered Sunday night in Ferguson in support of Michael Brown. A midnight curfew remains in effect.