FERGUSON, Mo. — West Florissant Avenue, the Ferguson thoroughfare that has been the epicenter of protests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer, appears all set for another night of protests on Friday night. All the signs are there.
A food truck is feeding the hungry. Media trucks abound. Gospel music is blaring in a parking lot off the street. A man is walking up and down a small stretch holding up hands marked with “don’t” on one and “shoot” on the other near to SUVs full of police officers from St. Louis.
And Avery Gales, 13, is fearlessly standing in the middle of busy traffic banging on a snare drum.
“I’m with the Red West Drum Corps,” he says. “We’re trying to get people to put down the guns and pick up the drums,” he says, beads of sweat pocked across his forehead.
So you’re not here for the march?
“Oh yeah, I’m protesting.”
Looking on from his cruiser, a police officer wagers that Friday’s march would be as peaceful as Thursday’s. He looks for wood on the dashboard to knock on for luck. There is none.
After Gales leaves for a break, a man in a priest’s collar addresses another man walking by. Are you staying?
“Yeah, I’ll be here all night. I’m Mike Brown. My kids are Mike Brown.”