Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Why You've Been Seeing Young Kids at the Ferguson Crime Scenes; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Why You've Been Seeing Young Kids at the Ferguson Crime Scenes; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Article excerpt

Four-year-old Aubrey Glover struggled with a broom even taller than her to sweep broken glass in the parking lot of a burned-out convenience store the morning after a riot in Ferguson.

Her mother, Erica Hampton, 31, woke up Aubrey and her brother, Jaden, 10, early Monday in their north St. Louis County home and said they were going to do some cleaning.

"Tearing up buildings and trashing places is not the way to solve anything," she told them. They brought large white trash bags and brooms.

She called her sister, Dede Patterson, 29, who lives near the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday. Patterson's young children have slept in the bed with her the past few nights while they heard shouts from the crowds outside.

"I didn't even explain it to them," Patterson said. She wasn't sure what to tell them. "It was just too much." The QuikTrip is where her 9- and 7-year-old walk for snacks. "My kids can't ever come to the store anymore."

"Let's go clean it up," her sister said to her. "Let's go."

Patterson agreed: "What I seen I didn't like. ... It's not going to bring him back."

There is an urgency to do something, anything, to dull the terribleness of the past week. For Hampton, who will complete her master's degree in counseling in December, she wanted her children to see her picking up trash around the destroyed building.

"This what you do for your community," she told them.

There is anger here, not just about the shooting, but toward the vandals who destroyed their businesses in their neighborhood. Toward those who have changed the conversation from trying to find out what happened and seek justice to the criminal reaction of some.

"They are judging us by this," Patterson said, waving her arms around the parking lot.

Shamika Williams, 36, stood in the lot with two of her three daughters. They had seen Brown's body lying in the street in broad daylight when he was killed. Their mother has been at protests, wanting to add her voice to those calling for a change in the way residents are treated by law enforcement.

"I don't want them growing up getting mistreated," Williams said. …

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