Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unable to Reach His Sister in Ferguson, He Feared the Worst

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unable to Reach His Sister in Ferguson, He Feared the Worst

Article excerpt

He will always wonder: What if he had been able to get to her sooner?

The last text came at 5:08 p.m. Tuesday. After that, Charles Poole never heard back from his sister, Kimberly.

He tried to call about an hour later, following up to see if she had, in fact, taken the bronchitis medicine as he had reminded her in his previous message. On the other end of the line, her phone rang. And rang. And rang.

He began to worry almost immediately, because it wasn't like his sister to not pick up. She was sick, dealing with bronchitis for a week or so. Maybe Kimberly had fallen asleep for a bit, he thought. Maybe.

It had been an usual day. Actually, an unusual three months and some weeks. Poole owns a home in Ferguson near West Florissant Avenue and Chambers Road. Kimberly Poole lives there, just a short stretch away from all of the turbulence since police Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown.

On Monday night, after the grand jury announcement came, things got bad. Anger. Rioting. People burning cop cars and businesses.

The next morning, Tuesday, Charles Poole was helping his sister. She needed her medicine. The Walgreens near her had been looted and was closed. He filled the prescription at a different location near his home in Florissant, but a closed-off intersection prevented him from getting to his sister's house.

An officer at the roadblock said they couldn't let him through, but they would deliver the medicine to his sister. The officer wrote down the information and said it would be to her within an hour.

In fact, it was sooner than that. About 20 minutes later, his sister called to say she had received it. Charles Poole felt warmed, so moved that he posted Tuesday on Facebook in support of the police officers.

"They did this despite the clear demands on their time and attention," he said. "Suffice it to say that we are both thankful. And it is a reminder of what I already know: The vast majority of officers no different than with people in general are decent people."

Poole, who is black, worked as a spokesman for the St. Louis Police Department in the 1990s. He said he had strong feelings about what happened on Aug. 9 between Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, and Brown, an 18-year-old black man. But he does not want all police officers to be judged by what happened that day.

"I worked with police officers who taught me a lot about sacrifice and courage, and I encountered others whose actions were a threat to all the positive things that their brother and sister officers represent," he wrote. "Remember that before generalizing officers as a whole, just as you'd ask that others avoid generalizing about you based on any given characteristic."

The last text from his sister on Tuesday night said that she had taken the antibiotic and joked about the "big-ass horse pill." Charles Poole said that was great be sure to take the other medicine, too. …

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