More than 400 people have been arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the United States during protests after a white policeman was cleared in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Reuters reported Thursday.
There have been protests in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and other cities against Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The case has heated up the long-simmering debate about race relations in the country.
Ferguson, a mostly black city, has been hit by two nights of rioting, looting and arson, with some businesses burned to the ground, but authorities say an increased security presence on Tuesday night helped quell the violence.
Missouri governor Jay Nixon has deployed about 2,200 National Guard troops in and around Ferguson.
“The ramped up presence and action of the Missouri National Guard has been helpful,” Nixon said on Wednesday after facing criticism for not deploying enough guardsmen in the hours after the grand jury’s decision.
Tensions between police and black Americans have simmered for decades, with many blacks feeling the US legal system and law enforcement authorities do not treat them fairly.
Ferguson’s mayor, James Knowles, is white, as are most of its city council members. A 2013 state attorney general’s report found more than 85 percent of motorists pulled over in the city are black, and the arrest rate among blacks is twice the rate among white residents.
In Washington, US President Barack Obama has tried to keep a lid on anger that has spilled over to other cities and garnered international attention.
On Monday he said deep distrust exists between police and minorities and that “communities of color aren’t just making these problems up”.
Russia pointed Wednesday to rioting in Ferguson and the other protests across the United States as evidence that Moscow’s detractors in Washington were hypocrites and in no position to lecture Russia on human rights.
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