Black Ferguson residents protected a white-owned store in Ferguson — out of loyalty — while the city was filled with protests, riots, looting, and fires. The four black Ferguson residents were not paid or hired to protect the business of a white man. Despite the hatred that filled Ferguson since police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, four black Ferguson residents show the world that loyalty still exists. As reported by Sportact.net on Nov. 29, one of those four black men is 29-year-old R.J.
R.J., as one of the black men identified himself, said that he, along with the other three men and many more volunteers, had lived near Doug Merello’s Conoco gas station and convenience store for most of his life. After the August police shooting of Michael Brown and Monday’s no indictment by the grand jury, dozens of Ferguson stores have been set on fire or have been looted.
While almost all of the businesses in a two-square-mile area of the St. Louis suburb have had to board up during racially charged riots, Doug Merello’s gas station and convenience store was brightly lit and busy with customers.
Doug Merello, whose father first bought the business in 1984, feels deeply indebted to his protectors. “We would have been burned to the ground many times over if it weren’t for them,” he said.
Them includes 29-year-old R.J., 37-year-old 6-foot 8-inches tall Derrick Jordan, two other black men and many more volunteers who guard the white man’s business with AR-15 assault rifles and pistols tucked into their waistbands.
Missouri allows the open carrying of firearms, and when a customer at the gas station pump showed his MAC-10 machine pistol, R.J., just wearing his sweatpants, drew out his Taurus 9 mm pistol. On Monday, when several groups of teenagers rampaged through the area, R.J. and the other volunteers chased them away. When one looter made it into the store, he was quickly accompanied out by volunteer Sean Turner who brandished his .40 caliber pistol and told the man, “this is what happens if you try to steal from this place.”
In regard to black Ferguson residents spending their nights in front of a store to protect a white man’s business, R.J. says that none of the men were getting paid to be there. Despite all of the racial turmoil in Ferguson and around the country, R.J. and the other men hold on to what they believe in – loyalty.
Doug Merello’s business had employed many of the neighborhood guys for the past years. Merello and his father had been there when they needed them — now it was time to return that same kind of respect and loyalty. “He’s a nice dude, he’s helped us a lot,” says R.J.