“Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams joined thousands of protesters Saturday as they marched 12 miles from Ferguson, Missouri, to St. Louis, demanding the police officer who killed unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown be charged with a crime.
The protests dubbed “Ferguson October” and “Weekend of Resistance,” have been taking place since Friday.
Williams posted several pictures on his Instagram page, including a photo that showed him embracing a female protester with the caption, “This is a two way street. Ferguson, MO Oct 11, 2014.”
Before arriving in Ferguson, Williams tweeted, “En route to ‘Ferguson October.’” Several other protesters also posted pictures of the actor.
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) October 11, 2014
Brown, 18, was shot to death on Aug. 9 by a white officer, later identified as officer Darren Wilson. Williams has been outspoken about Brown’s death and he’s done a series of interviews on the issue, including this one with CNN that was posted on YouTube.
Police said Wilson stopped Brown because the teen and a friend were walking in the middle of the street, and that Brown tried to steal Wilson’s gun in an altercation that followed. Police also accused Brown of stealing cigarillos from a convenience store before the shooting, but authorities said Wilson was unaware of that when he stopped the teen.
Brown’s shooting led to widespread unrest in Ferguson and prompted renewed debate about racial tensions in America. As they responded to the unrest, police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets at demonstrators and reporters alike, in addition to arresting dozens of people. Attorney general Eric Holder even visited the besieged town to help calm tensions.
Another fatal shooting of an African-American teenager by an off-duty police officer last Wednesday, just 12 miles south of where Brown died, caused tensions to rise in the area once again. Police have said 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. fired three shots at the officer first. The officer returned fire 17 times.
This weekend’s protests were meant to bring attention to both incidents. While the protests were mostly peaceful, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department reported they made several arrests after protesters refused orders to disperse from a sit-in outside a convenience store.
“Last night, there were 17 arrests for Unlawful Assembly on QuikTrip parking lot, 904 S Vanderventer. No reports of injuries/property damage,” the police department tweeted.
Last night, there were 17 arrests for Unlawful Assembly on QuikTrip parking lot, 904 S Vanderventer. No reports of injuries/property damage.
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) October 12, 2014