November 3, 1996 in Nation/World

Mississippi Town Drops Curfew

Compiled From Wire Services

Hoping to defuse racial tensions that erupted over the shooting death of a black motorist, officials in this Mississippi Delta town agreed Saturday to lift a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

More than 300 people outside city hall cheered when police Chief Mike Dees emerged from negotiations with black leaders and announced the two-night-old curfew would be canceled. Dees also said he would seek to drop charges against 25 people arrested on curfew violations Halloween night.

“Tell everybody there is a hope and this hope is brotherly love,” Town Alderman Jesse Jackson, who is also a Baptist minister, told the crowd.

The curfew began Thursday, the day after protesters broke out business windows and set fires in protest over the Oct. 17 death of Aaron White, a black motorist shot in the head after he fled a traffic accident. Protesters contend a white police officer shot White. Police said White accidentally killed himself.

The FBI announced Friday it would investigate White’s death.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, speaking over the coffin of a black teen whose shooting death by police sparked a night of rioting, the Rev. Joseph Lowery urged mourners to seek peace and justice, not retribution.

“Violence won’t bring him back. Violence will put more young people here,” the Southern Christian Leadership Conference president said at the funeral of 18-year-old TyRon Lewis.

Lewis was shot during a traffic stop 10 days earlier. Police said a white officer started shooting when Lewis’ car lurched toward him. Some witnesses said the officer was not in danger.

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