Violence erupt in Ferguson,two officers shot

People gather for a Ferguson protest
People gather for a Ferguson protest
People gather for a Ferguson protest

Two police officers were shot and seriously wounded outside the police department in Ferguson, Mo. amid protests that followed the resignation of the town’s police chief.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told a news conference just before 2 a.m. local time that a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, while a 32-year-old officer from suburban Webster Groves was shot in the face. Both officers were taken to a local hospital. Belmar said both men were conscious, but had no further word about their condition except to describe the injuries as “very serious.”

Belmar said that at least three shots were fired and were believed to come from a house across the street from the police department. He said he did not know who shot the officers reported Fox News.

Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson resigned on Wednesday, after a federal report pointed out a culture of racism within the police department and municipal offices in the US city, according to media reports.

Jackson said that he felt it was time for the city to move on and said that an interim chief would be appointed from within the department, Xinhua reported.

He said in his resignation letter that it was an honour and a privilege to serve Ferguson and its people, adding that he would continue to assist the city as a private citizen.

Ferguson, a city in the US state of Missouri, has been at the centre of racial tensions across the US since Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot dead an unarmed black youth Michael Brown, last August. There have been protests in the US after many black men were killed by the police last year.

A department of justice (DOJ) report released a week earlier found systematic racism within the Ferguson Police Department. US Attorney General Eric Holder warned last week that the DOJ reserved the right to force an immediate change in Ferguson policing and court practices.

The justice department last week presented the conclusions of a report, according to which, over the past two years, African-Americans living in Ferguson, and making up 67 percent of the population there, were the targets of 85 percent of the traffic stops, 93 percent of the arrests and 88 percent of the cases in which police used force.

US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that the fight against racism in the US was not yet over.

The shooting was first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

KTVI reported that as many as 200 protesters had gathered outside the police station to demand more changes in the city’s government after the resignation of Police Chief Tom Jackson Wednesday afternoon. The station reported that at least one person had been arrested and that protesters were blocking traffic on nearby Florissant Road.

 The Associated Press reported that the crowd had appeared to be dwindling when the shots were heard. The Missouri Highway Patrol told the AP that troopers were heading to the scene.

Jackson was the sixth Ferguson employee to resign or be fired after a Justice Department report cleared white former officer Darren Wilson of civil rights charges in the shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown this past August, but found a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias in the city police department.

Mayor James Knowles III announced Wednesday that the city had reached a mutual separation agreement with Jackson that will pay Jackson one year of his nearly $96,000 annual salary and health coverage. Jackson’s resignation becomes effective March 19, at which point Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff will become acting chief while the city searches for a replacement.

Jackson oversaw the Ferguson force for nearly five years before the shooting that stirred months of unrest across the St. Louis region and drew global attention to the predominantly black city of 21,000.

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