Trayvon Martin, 17, was also unarmed when he was shot and killed in 2012. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he shot Martin in self-defense, was acquitted.
The nightly protests in Ferguson have been mostly peaceful in recent days, a contrast to images of police in riot gear firing tear gas canisters at angry protesters in the days after the Brown shooting. Tensions briefly flared then subsided late Saturday night and early Sunday.
Niesha Thomas, who attended Peace Fest, said she hopes the event marks “a new start” in which people put “irrelevant, unproductive” disputes behind them.
“This should be a pivotal point where we move forward,” Thomas said.
But that might not be so easy. A grand jury has started considering evidence in the case and some local residents and officials have said they’re concerned that a failure to return an indictment against Wilson could stoke new anger in the community.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon reiterated his support Sunday for sticking with St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Brown’s parents and others in the community have expressed concerns that the office would not be impartial because of McCulloch’s ties to law enforcement.
“He was elected overwhelmingly by the people a number of times. He’s been through a lot,” Nixon said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”Certainly, with this level of attention, I think everyone will work hard to do their best work.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Nixon met privately later in the day with members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, some of whom said they repeated calls for an indictment of Wilson and the removal of McCulloch from the case. Nixon would not provide specifics about what was discussed.
The federal government also has launched its own investigation into the shooting.