Subject of iconic photo speaks of anger, excitement


This is Edward Crawford.

He’s 25, went to University City High School and works at a bistro on the Delmar Loop. He’s a waiter, a roller skater and a father of three.

And, just after midnight on Aug. 13, he grabbed a sparking, smoking tear gas cylinder, fired by police at Ferguson protesters, and threw it back.

The photo, taken by Post-Dispatch photographer Robert Cohen, has become an iconic image of the now two-week protest along West Florissant Avenue.

For many, the act bottles up all the anger directed at police after the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. It represents defiance against police aggression. And the shirt Crawford is wearing, with the American flag down the middle, identifies the irony of the moment.

But Crawford says he wasn’t angry when he threw it. He was angry beforehand. Afterward — as he was being dragged out of a car, cuffed and jailed — he was mostly just scared.

And throwing it wasn’t an act of rebellion, he said. It was instinct.


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One of my all time favorite photos.