The current wave of civil rights demonstrations in response to police killings began on August 9, 2014, after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American eighteen-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri. Outraged by the incident and by the fact that the body was left on the street for four-and-a-half hours – an image that went viral on social media – members of the community took to the streets. They went out without securing the necessary permits and without visible connection to established local civil rights organizations. The mainstream media quickly framed the events in Ferguson as yet another urban riot in the face of perceived police abuses. The story told over social media by those on the streets painted a much more complicated picture. The mainstream press eventually caught on, and the once unknown City of Ferguson became a household word.
Tabatha Abu El-Haj,
Defining Peaceably: Policing the Line Between Constitutionally Protected Protest and Unlawful Speech,
80 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol80/iss4/6