On Sunday, supporters of Darren Wilson, the white, Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teenager last weekend, protested in front of KSDK, a St. Louis-based television station.
The protesters, who organized the event via Facebook, chose to stand in front of KSDK because the station had aired footage of Wilson’s home, which the group said showed the media’s bias towards Mike Brown, the teenager who was killed, and his supporters. The station has since removed the footage and issued an apology to their “audience, to the surrounding neighborhoods, to the greater St. Louis community and to the officer for [their] mistake.”
The crowd of about 150 said that they wanted this protest to stand in stark contrast to those events taking place in Ferguson.
“We will be the example of what peaceful means,” the organizers told attendees, according to The Guardian. “No offensive signs, we are for support. If the other side should show, we will not argue or fight.”
The mostly-white group of protesters, none of whom were actually from Ferguson, said that they were there to support an officer who is being targeted simply for doing was he was supposed to do.
“He was doing his job,” Kaycee Reinish, 57, from Lincoln County, told The Guardian. “And now because of public uproar in Ferguson, he is being victimized. He is being victimized by the whole city, the state, and the federal government.”
“Ferguson will now be forced to hire 10 African-American police officers just because of this terrible ordeal,” said Damon Anderson from Imperial City. “Let the black officers see how difficult it is to try and deal with the black criminals on the beat they are patrolling.”
The rally’s only African-American attendee was Martin Baker, a consultant and former Republican congressional primary candidate, who said that the residents of Ferguson were “too quick to play the race card.” Baker said the protesters there “want to see more crime; they want to see things get disrespectful.”
The “Support Darren Wilson” Facebook page had several pictures from across the country of porches with their lights left on Saturday evening as a sign of support for the officer. “Our light will burn until Mr. Wilson can breathe in peace and enjoy life once again,” read one of the page’s posts.
Protests in support of Brown continued in Ferguson throughout the weekend, even after a midnight curfew was placed on the city. Demonstrators are rallying, not just in support of Brown, but against what they see as institutionalized racism against the African-American residents of Ferguson. Out of the city’s 53 police officers, 50 are white, as are six of the seven members of city council. A 2013 report from Missouri’s Attorney General Office also shows that black drivers were twice as likely to be stopped by the Ferguson police department than white drivers.