Ten Point Coalition may move up Ferguson trip

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INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 28, 2014) -- In the wake of the weekend shooting of a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., the Indianapolis-based Ten Point Coalition may move up its proposed trip to the trouble-plagued St. Louis suburb to help the community prepare for more fallout from the killing of teenager Michael Brown by police.

"We're talking to several ministerial groups in Ferguson about us coming a little quicker than we had planned," said Rev. Charles Harrison. "We're scheduled to be there the ninth and tenth of October, which is a Thursday and Friday, but we may need to get there a lot sooner.

"As quick as they are prepared to make the commitments, we are prepared to go. If we can get something worked out we are prepared to go as early as Tuesday or Wednesday if we have to get there sooner."

Harrison is worried that the Saturday night shooting of the officer, which the Ferguson chief said is unrelated to the Brown case, and a report of shots fired at another officer in St. Louis may indicate the environment is spinning out of control.

"We're gonna have to do it very quickly and we may have some people there to try to help them during this time. We are negotiating that. We may leave a few people there in Ferguson for a while if we get a sense the grand jury may come back with something quickly."

The grand jury is examining the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Chief Thomas Jackson apologized to the Brown family last week, but his statement was met with derision by some members of the community as was an appearance by a Missouri State Patrol commander.

"They tried to apologize but they didn't make much headway," said Harrison.  "Seems like the people that were there demonstrating really didn't want to hear that. The only thing that seems to satisfy them is that the officer who shot Michael Brown being arrested seems to be the only thing that will calm them down."

Harrison is worried that Ten Point is being invited to Ferguson to provide the leadership and answers that aren't currently present in the community.

"What seems to be absent right now is the lack of leadership and you really don't have anybody in charge and some of the people who seem to be speaking, in my opinion, are encouraging this kind of disrespectful behavior we are seeing right now in Ferguson."

Harrison said his group is prepared to leave some its staff in Ferguson to help the local faith-based community organize peaceful street outreach patrols and establish dialogue between the police, city leadership and residents.

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