Ferguson Police, Former Mayor Dispute Cori Bush Claim That White Supremacists Shot At Ferguson Protesters
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 03: U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) becomes emotional during a news conference on the eviction moratorium at the Capitol on August 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. News organizations reported that the Biden Administration plans to institute a new eviction moratorium for areas with high levels of COVID-19, days after Bush started camping out on the steps of the Capitol Building to protest the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's original moratorium. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Ferguson Police Chief James McCall Jr. and former Ferguson Mayor James Knowles disputed Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush’s claim that white supremacists shot at Ferguson protesters.

Bush was a regular presence at the protests that rocked Ferguson, Missouri, after former police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown — and Bush claimed in a tweet Monday that protesters had been targets for “white supremacists” who shot at them from behind a hill while police did nothing.

Bush tied her claim to the Kenosha protests following the officer-involved shooting that left Jacob Blake paralyzed, arguing that if Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted after shooting three people and killing two in August of 2020, it was proof that white supremacists could get away with murder. There is no evidence that Rittenhouse has ever been connected with any white supremacist group.

“When we marched in Ferguson, white supremacists would hide behind a hill near where Michael Brown Jr. was murdered and shoot at us. They never faced consequences,” Bush said. “If Kyle Rittenhouse gets acquitted, it tells them that even 7 years later they still can get away with it.”

Bush’s campaign followed her tweet with a statement reiterating the congresswoman’s claim, saying, “While on the frontlines of the Ferguson Uprising, Congresswoman Bush and other activists were shot at by white supremacist vigilantes. The question we need to ask is why white supremacists feel empowered to open-carry rifles, incite violence, and put Black lives at risk across our country.”

But when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked whether Chief McCall knew of any such shootings, his response was simple: “None that I’m aware of.”

The former mayor took things a step further, telling NewsTalk STL radio host Tony Colombo – who covered the Ferguson protests on the ground — that the only shots fired during the Ferguson protests were fired at police officers or between rival gang members.

“I reached out personally to James Knowles, who was the mayor of Ferguson at that time,” Colombo said during a November 16th broadcast. “He called it 100% BS, what Cori Bush said. He said the only gunshots were people taking shots at cops and rival gangs shooting at each other, ending up with injuries at different times.”

LISTEN: (7:25 mark)

The Post-Dispatch also reported on two shootings that took place in Ferguson in March of 2015, seven months after Brown was shot.

In March 2015, two police officers who were part of a security line outside the Ferguson police headquarters were shot, causing some protesters to flee and others to drop to the ground. One officer was hit in the shoulder; the other, in the cheek.

Jeffrey Williams, 21, was charged and later convicted for shooting and wounding the two officers, but claimed that he had not intended to fire at police. “Nobody aiming at no police. I ran up the hill and he (an unidentified person) shot at the car. … I shot back,” he said.

Then St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar noted that, while he did not believe their presence to be particularly helpful, there had been members of the Oath Keepers present in Ferguson and reports that local Ku Klux Klan members planned to be there as well. However, no one associated with either group was charged in any of the shootings that took place during the protests.

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