Tensions are high in Ferguson, Mo., as police are out in droves after widespread rioting and looting resulted in major damage to local businesses Sunday evening. On Twitter, reports of riot police and tanks getting ahead of further potential violence are adding to the unrest.
Michael Brown was an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by an unnamed police officer over the weekend in suburban St. Louis. The details surrounding the circumstances of the initial confrontation remain unclear, as reported at the Washington Post; however it was reported that a police officer was physically pushed into his own squad car and “assaulted.”
The Saint Louis Post Dispatch reported that Brown “attacked” the officer. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said “one shot was fired by the officer’s gun inside the car during the struggle, hitting no one, and that the officer then got out of the car and fired multiple times.” An autopsy will be performed on Brown. A police investigation into the incident is underway.
After a vigil for Michael Brown, widespread rioting and looting devastated the area. News 4 KMOV reported that “[A]t least two officers suffered injuries and 32 people were arrested…” during the riots. The report noted that “windows of a News 4 live truck were smashed out by the angry crowd.”
Here is an excerpt from the Dispatch on the damage from Sunday evening:
While some people prayed, others spilled onto West Florissant Avenue, choking off traffic. Looting was reported at a QuikTrip at 9420 West Florissant Avenue about 9 p.m. and soon spread from there. Most of the businesses being targeted were mainly along West Florissant. Around 11 p.m., looters smashed into a Wal-Mart in the area near Interstate 270, as well as cell phone, clothing and dollar stores.
A large fire was burning at West Florissant and Northwinds Estates Drive. A civilian was reported beaten near West Florissant and Chambers. Jimmy Muhammad, 32, said he and his colleagues had just fended off a gang of masked young men with guns who tried to break into his uncle’s store, United Mart, in the 10300 block of West Florissant. The front door was shattered. “It’s bad,” said Muhammad, still gripping a pistol.
Sirens blasted from all the police vehicles speeding by to other crime scenes. “I don’t blame the police, but they can’t keep up.” Silas Chung, 53, didn’t get to his small store, Up N Up Fashion, in the 11600 block of West Florissant, soon enough to defend it. “I feel bad,” said Chung, cleaning up the damage. “This world is getting worse and worse.” At Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant Road, about 150 demonstrators also blocked traffic. They were taunting police officers, who were lined up in riot gear, carrying shields and batons.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area.
On Monday night, the NAACP held a meeting and police were ready with tanks and tear gas.
There were several reports stating that the damage was not caused by locals. According to the News 4 report, “Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III and Chief [Tom] Jackson told News 4 they are confident the people who rioted last night are from Jennings and Dellwood, not Ferguson.”
On Monday night, presumably to stop further rioting from gaining a foothold on the town, the police showed up in a big way and inexplicably asked the local media to leave.
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 12, 2014
When police start ordering media away, and no one stops them, it’s time to be scared. Freedom of the press is for our protection. #Ferguson
— Amber Jaye (@ImAmberJaye) August 12, 2014
Police asking media to leave west Florissant so that they can control the crowds
— Brittany Noble KMOV (@BrittanyNoble) August 12, 2014
Rev. Al Sharpton will be meeting with the family. The FBI will be investigating “civil rights” complaints against the police.
Tauheed Youth Development Life, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), the Moorish Science Temple, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, the Nation of Islam – Mosque 28, and the Universal African Peoples Organization (UAPO) are calling for another rally in front of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch’s office on Tuesday.
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 11, 2014