Martin Luther King III said his father would be disappointed in the rioting and violence that broke out in Ferguson in the wake of the Michael Brown verdict.
The Missouri city saw widespread unrest after a grand jury failed to return an indictment against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Brown. Rioters broke windows, looted stores, and set fire to more than a dozen businesses.
On CNN, the son of the late civil rights leader said he could not say exactly how his father would react, but believes he would stick to his belief that non-violence is the only way to bring about true change.
“I don’t know that any of us can really speak for my father,” King said. “I will do the best I can based on some of his writings and views. I’m sure he would be greatly disappointed. First and foremost, he would certainly be feeling very bad for the family, I mean, he would have empathy for the family.”
“Secondly, he would feel disappointed that it erupted into a scenario of violence all across communities,” King continued. “He used to say that violence is the language of the unheard. And he constantly talked about, we must find nonviolent ways to address our conflicts, so he would be always advocating nonviolence, never stooping to and encouraging violence.”
Martin Luther King III is not alone in speaking out against the violence in Ferguson. Many others have decried the rioters, saying they are taking away from the true cause of the protests. Even in Ferguson, some of the protesters tried to prevent its more violent members from escalating the situation, and during the riot itself, a group of heavily-armed black men stood outside a white-owned gas station to protect it from looters.
It appears as if the violence has subsided in Ferguson and protests have dwindled nationwide. After days of unrest following the Michael Brown verdict was announced, protests across the country were down on Thanksgiving.