GotNews.com examined the past assaults against police officers in Ferguson, MO and the history of violence in the St. Louis suburb relying only on Missouri news reports. The investigation shows that police officers and their lives are often under threat in the small town and might explain the behavior of Officer Wilson.
Various media reports notwithstanding, Ferguson isn’t as peaceful as its small size might suggest. The St. Louis suburb is remarkably violent for its small population (21,203 according to the 2010 census) and size 6.201 square miles.
While it’s technically true that there hasn’t been a murder in Ferguson this year, there were murders of Ferguson residents elsewhere and there was one late last year.
Authorities filed murder charges on Terry L. Simmons, 30, for fatally shooting Quinton Luckett, 28, in the head in the 200 block of South Barat Avenue in Ferguson. Simmons’ rap sheet included convictions for domestic assault and robbery and a pending charge for dealing crack cocaine. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 14, 2013).
And while there were no murders in Ferguson, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
In May, a Ferguson man drew a Tec-9 with an extended magazine holding 30 rounds on St. Louis County officers. An officer shot and killed the Ferguson man.
Also this past May a Ferguson teen shot a 47-year-old man in back after the man refused to buy the teen and his friend beer at a convenience store. Carlos Blue, 17, left his victim for dead and robbed him. He was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, and two counts of armed criminal action. (“Teen shot man who wouldn’t buy him beer at Pine Lawn store, police say,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 14, 2014)
Many of the killings in Ferguson revolve around the drug trade. In August 2, 2013, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported one such typical instance:
James D. Kinnard, 24, of the 5900 block of Hamilton Terrace, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison in a drug-related 2011 fatal shooting in Ferguson. Kinnard pleaded guilty July 11 to charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the killing of Santauri Dixon, 29, of Ferguson… Police said Kinnard fatally shot Dixon on Oct. 22, 2011, outside an apartment building in the 1300 block of Sharondale Circle. Authorities said Kinnard shot Dixon because he believed Dixon had robbed his drug boss. Kinnard must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 2, 2013).
Other times the killings are identified with no suspect listed. Three days after Kinnard was sentenced police identified “a man found slain in Kinloch as Clement Sonnier, 31, of the 9200 block of Ellison Drive in Ferguson. Sonnier was found shot to death on Gregory Drive near Mable Avenue…” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 5, 2013).
There were many crimes to choose from but these are the ones that are truly heinous.
- In April 2013, a 23-year-old Ferguson man on probation for illegal possession of drugs and weapons was charged in a drive-by shooting of a 4-year-old girl.
- In February 2013, a 19-year-old Ferguson man was convicted of second-degree murder for driving the vehicle of a 2010 drive-by shooting. (“Man gets 49 years for killing twin of intended target in Kinloch,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 22, 2013).
- In September 2012, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published the following story with this headline: “Two women are killed in apartment shooting 1-year-old daughter of one victim was found near her body, unharmed.”
Ferguson, MO citizens and inhabitants also have a long history of violent confrontations with the police, which might explain the tension.
- In October 2012, a Ferguson man was charged with the killing of a St. Louis County police employee. (“Charges in Killing of a Police Employee,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 18, 2012)
- On September 2, 2012, Eddie Boyd III and Barb Spradling of the Ferguson police pursued a robber who fired shots at them and barricaded himself in an apartment.
- In February 2012, Ferguson man Derrick Wilson, 21, of the 9500 block of Culebra, was charged with felony counts of resisting arrest and property damage and a misdemeanor count of assaulting a police officer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The officer later received hospital treatment for a twisted ankle and bruising.
- In October 2002, a parolee driving a stolen car slammed the car into a Ferguson police officer’s police cruiser during a routine traffic stop. The man was on parole for five counts of auto theft and two burglaries. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 15, 2002)
- In April 2001, a Ferguson man who took police on a high speed chase was charged with second-degree murder after a woman in a resulting collision died. He was already facing three counts of second-degree assault and one-count of first degree tampering. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 7, 2011).
- In February 2004, a Ferguson man rammed a police car with his vehicle and was charged with assaulting an officer. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 26, 2004)
- In September 2000, a Ferguson police officer killed a St. Louis man who shot him. (“Ferguson Officer Kills Man Who Shot First When Stopped,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 20, 2000).
- In 1999, Steven Trice, 28, of Ferguson, was shot and killed in the office’s return fire after he fired at police during a robbery. (Tim O’Neil, “Robbery Suspect Killed by Officer is Identified as Ferguson Man, 28,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 19, 1999)
While none of these instances contributed to what happened when officer Darren Wilson drew on Michael Brown, they show rather clearly that Ferguson isn’t the safe suburb and that any police officer would need to be vigilant to protect their own safety.