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Rapper Flavor Flav makes appearance in Ferguson, joins protesters

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FERGUSON • Rapper and reality television star Flavor Flav made an appearance in Ferguson Thursday night lending his voice to what he called an epidemic of police violence across the nation. Later, he joined protesters chanting in front of the Ferguson police department.

"If we want justice, we need to be in the street working for justice," he said earlier in the evening at Wellspring Church, where he spoke to several dozen protesters about the need to protest in a positive way. "We need our voices to be heard."

Widely known as a member of socially conscious rap group Public Enemy, Flav gained prominence in the early 1990s for his song "911 Is a Joke," critiquing policing in minority neighborhoods.

"We can't be destructive, we've got to be constructive, he said. "We've got to do this the right way."

He added that protesters can't keep the movement going if they are getting arrested.

Flav also addressed the "Hands Up" gesture made by several Rams players Sunday and a police union's call for the team to apologize for it.

"How dare you expect for your football team to apologize," he said. "If anybody is owed an apology, it's us."

The rapper closed his remarks by saying peace and justice are intertwined.

"Let's go out and get justice," he said. "Let's do it the right way."

Later at the police station, about 40 protesters gathered and at one point blocked traffic in the street. Police and Missouri National guardsmen gave them at least three verbal warnings, and then came out, formed a line, and most of the protesters moved to the sidewalk across the street.

One woman refused to move and was arrested. A few minutes later, a man moved into the street, screaming at police, and he was arrested.

At this point, protesters lit an American flag on fire but because of the dampness outside, the flag didn't burn well. Two national guardsmen, Maj. Lance Dell and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Allison, walked across the street to pick up the pieces.

“They're treating it as trash,” Dell said. “It's not trash to us. We're not going to let them throw it on the ground and leave it there.”

The guardsmen walked back across the street next to the fire station, where they attempted to neatly fold the remains of the flag.

David Carson and Valerie Schremp Hahn of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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