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FERGUSON STRUGGLES IN ITS OWN 'HELL'

The protests have let up, but anger simmers in the fatal shooting of a black teen by police.

FERGUSON, Mo. - Almost two months after the death of Michael Brown, the empty tear-gas canisters have been cleared from the streets. Protests, when they flare up, are quieter. Traffic moves smoothly on West Florissant Avenue, and most of the businesses along this main road that were shuttered during August demonstrations have reopened.

But where once there was only one Ferguson - an anonymous suburb of St. Louis - now there is another: a small city whose name has become known for civil unrest, racial division and police harassment. Few of the deep grievances that divide the city have been resolved. Anger, despair and resentment have been driven to the surface, and many here are unsure when, or if, Ferguson will recover.

"We're hoping that two years from now, we can say that this was given to us for a reason and something good will have come out of it," said Linda Hensiek, who runs a beauty shop in Ferguson, as she stopped in a frame store down the street owned by a friend, Robin Shively, who grew up in Ferguson.

"Right now," Shively said, "it's hell."

A grand jury is meeting only a few miles away to consider the fate of the white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Brown, an African-American, on Aug. 9 in a dispute that began when Wilson directed Brown to move from the street, where he was walking with a friend, the police said. Moments after the encounter began, the two scuffled, and Wilson ended up shooting Brown at least six times.

Those who live and work in Ferguson, black and white, offer a portrait of a town that has been torn apart by the death of Brown, 18, who lived with his grandmother and was days away from starting classes at a trade college.

Some in Ferguson say that, while they are sympathetic to the protesters, they have had enough. Gunfire can often be heard after dark. Small demonstrations have persisted.

"What they're doing is bringing down everything," Chantea Arthur, a 35-year-old nurse's aide who is African-American, said of the protesters. "I think the cop should get in trouble for what he did. But I'm getting tired of it all."

Brown's killing set off a cascade of demonstrations, sometimes violent, and police officers responded by shooting tear gas and rubber bullets. Wilson has remained out of public view.

Several witnesses to the shooting have said that Brown's hands were raised in the air in the universal gesture of surrender when he was fatally shot. The police say Brown struck Wilson in a struggle for the officer's gun.

Supporters of the protesters' cause say that calm cannot be restored to Ferguson until Wilson has been charged with murder. Many people, wearing T-shirts silk-screened with Brown's face, still camp out across the street from police headquarters, holding signs that read, "Stop Killing Us."

Natalie Gray, sitting in a chair across the street from the Police Department last week, said she would not leave "till something happens."

"I want justice," she said.

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