WRAPUP 2-Ferguson police block clean-up brigade from entering damaged area

viernes 28 de noviembre de 2014 14:05 GYT

(Adds details, quote on cleanup)

By Daniel Wallis and Edward McAllister

FERGUSON, Mo. Nov 28(Reuters) - A group of people in Ferguson, Missouri, on Friday attempted to enter a main thoroughfare of the St. Louis suburb to clean up stores damaged in this week's racially charged rioting but a line of police blocked them from entering the area.

West Florissant Avenue is home to a Walgreen Co store and other businesses that were looted or burned on Monday after a decision by a grand jury not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in August.

Armed with brooms and trash bags, a small group of people tried to walk down the avenue, which has been closed to traffic since Monday, before officers stopped them.

"There are businesses and people sectioned off from the rest of Ferguson," said Lou Bailey, 37, a project manager. "We need to get in there and clean up."

Ferguson, a predominantly black city of about 21,000 people where almost all the political leaders and police are white, became the focal point of a national debate on race relations after police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible civil rights abuses and President Barack Obama has called for reflection on the difficulties minorities face in the country.

The grand jury's decision on Monday not to charge Wilson sparked protests in Ferguson and more than 100 people were taken into custody on Monday and Tuesday nights. Buildings were torched, stores looted and police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse crowds.

Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave, has said he feared for his life and acted in self-defense when he shot Brown. Brown's family said Wilson acted with malice and should stand trial.   Continuación...