Michael Brown had a strange dream in the weeks before his death.
According to the Associated Press, the unarmed teen’s uncle, Charles Ewing, said that Brown had declared Jesus as his savior weeks before the incident. Brown later had a dream, telling relatives that he saw a body covered by a sheet and he thought the world would one day know his name.
Indeed, his name is now a rallying cry for justice in the suburb where protests continue in the wake of the inexplicable shooting.
AP notes that racial tensions in the community, which is about 70 percent black, have been high. The police force is 90 percent white, a fact that feeds into the distrust of law enforcement.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that he has tried to recruit more black officers and has made it a priority from the time he took over about four years ago. "I'm constantly trying to recruit African Americans and other minorities," he told AP. "But it's an uphill battle. The minority makeup of this police department is not where I want it to be."
Young black residents told AP that this kind of tension is almost normal. Law enforcement, they think, targets them.
"The cop told me I looked like a guy who robbed a bank nearby," said 29-year-old Stephen Bussey, who claimed he was recently stopped by an officer while going to a convenience store early in the morning before his work shift. "I didn't make a big deal about it. But since when is walking a crime?"
"You get harassed," Jarrett Snider, 19, added. "It's too much … Mike's situation is not the first time."
One of the main points of contention for the community is the refusal of the police department to release the name of the officer who killed the teen. The authorities have said they have withheld the officer's name because of death threats.
The Rev. Al Sharpton has gotten involved, adding his voice to those demanding to have the officer's identity made public. "The local authorities have put themselves in a position—hiding names and not being transparent—where people will not trust anything but an objective investigation," Sharpton said at a news conference in St. Louis, according to AP.
However, he did plead with the local community for the protesters to "come together and do this right … no violence."