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Birmingham vigil honours tragic teen Michael Brown

FATALLY WOUNDED: Michael Brown

SCORES OF supporters of US shooting victim Michael Brown stood with their hands up in a gesture of submission as they staged a vigil in Birmingham city centre to remember the tragic teenager.

The unarmed 18-year-old from Ferguson, Missouri, was shot up to six times by a police officer on August 9. His body was then allegedly left in the street for four hours, sparking escalating unrest in his predominantly black neighbourhood.

There are claims he was shot as he was running away with his hands raised in a “don’t shoot” gesture of surrender.

The hour-long Birmingham vigil was organised by Birmingham Empowerment Forum and offered a show of solidarity across the Atlantic with the family and supporters of Brown.

Speakers included Kadisha Brown-Burrell, whose brother Kingsley died following contact with police in Birmingham more than three years ago.

She said: “It doesn’t matter where these atrocities happen whether they are here or in America – enough is enough and we all need to unite against this. If we stand and do nothing we are just as guilty as those who commit the crime.


VIGIL: Supporters stand with their hand up outside Birmingham Town Hall

“It is appalling to think that this boy was killed in cold blood with his body left in the street for four hours and no family there to comfort him.”

Veteran civil rights activist Maxie Hayles said Barack Obama’s legacy needed to be questioned as he felt the President had not proven his worth. And he stressed there was a universal need to develop a proactive, not a reactive approach to these events.

Birmingham Empowerment Forum founder Desmond Jaddoo, said it was vital to stand in solidarity with the people of Missouri: “We are told he had his hands up in the air saying don’t shoot. Did the police officer not understand English? Was he executed for simply jaywalking?

Jaddoo added that if 75 per cent of the Ferguson population are black, then where is the reflective governance in the town?

While Nicole Andrews, who took part in the vigil, said it was time the community was more united, adding: “It’s time we stopped making excuses and sound bites. Michael Brown was slain by a system that does not care for us, but we continue to make excuses for it.”

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