Supporters rally for police officer embroiled in teenager killing

(CNN) — The funeral for Michael Brown drew national attention Monday.

Celebrities, politicians, civil rights leaders and a White House delegation were all in attendance.

But those seeking justice for the officer who killed Brown are making their voices heard.

Over the weekend, supporters of officer Darren Wilson gathered outside a South City St. Louis bar, which is popular with local law enforcement.

Those speaking out in favor of Wilson occasionally showed up proudly and defiantly in Ferguson, itself, during the past two weeks of contentious protests. But they found common cause and greater numbers here,on the other side of town.

They say so many have rallied around Brown.

One supporter who only gave her first name as Sarah said “he’s got hundreds of people supporting him and look around here, there’s a handful of people, but we’re not looting, we’re not rioting, and we’re standing up for what we believe is right.”

The 28-year-old officer has not come forward since the Aug. 9 incident.

For the most part, those rallying for Wilson do not know him. They say they are offended by how his presumption of innocence has been ignored — including a fellow police officer, who would only identify himself as Joe.

“I’m here because I see myself in his shoes,” he said. “We’re roughly the same age, we’ve got roughly the same amount of time on the job. I can see a situation like that happening to myself or my coworkers at any time, and I would want the benefit of the doubt for myself, my coworkers, or anyone else in law enforcement.”

Robin Clearmountain, who once worked for local police, said the most important color here is blue.

“These are my people, this is my family,” Clearmountain said. “Anybody that takes a bullet or takes harm to keep me safe, this is my family.”

In reference to protesters across the street, one Wilson supporter said “I’m here because people on that side of the street, they don’t understand what a cop goes through, how he takes his life on the line.”

A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 57 percent of African Americans think Michael Brown’s shooting was unjustified. Eighteen percent of whites hold that view.

“We haven’t made it about race, this is about the law, it’s about doing the right thing,” said one supporter of Wilson’s.

“Do you realize the numbers coming out of Ferguson, the number of blacks that are arrested? White people are scared to be down there. It’s not a race issue, it’s common sense.”

While talking to pro-Wilson demonstrators, a local resident came by to tell the rally to go home, that he doesn’t want trouble in his neighborhood.

“We don’t want any controversy,” Victor Dewan said. “There’s a lot of black people live around here and I want for the peace. Let them get out of here. We don’t want this street to be any violent.”

As he voiced his displeasure, divisions here became apparent once again. An off-camera voice says “learn to speak English.”

“I am speaking English!,” Dewan said. “Do you understand that? Do you understand that??”

The long-simmering racial tensions in St. Louis continue to occasionally boil over, on both sides of town.

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