Protesters returned to the riot-scarred streets of Ferguson on Tuesday, a day after crowds looted businesses and set fire to buildings in a night of rage against a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who killed an unarmed black 18-year-old, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the US and generated various versions of what really happened.
But with hundreds of additional National Guard state militia assisting police, the latest demonstrations had far less of the chaos and destruction that erupted after Monday’s grand jury announcement. However, officers still used some tear gas and pepper spray, and protesters set a squad car on fire and broke windows at City Hall.
Attorneys for Brown’s family criticised the grand jury’s decision as rigged but appealed for peace.
The decision announced Thursday night means
In the aftermath of Monday’s violence, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon more than tripled the number of National Guard soldiers sent to
“Lives and property must be protected,” Nixon said. “This community deserves to have peace.”
National Guard units protected the Ferguson Police Department and left crowd control, arrests and use of tear gas to local officers.
Outside police headquarters, one woman was arrested after protesters hurled what appeared to be smoke bombs, flares and frozen water bottles at a line of officers. Several other protesters were arrested after defying police instructions to get out of the street or out of the way of police vehicles.
As a crowd of protesters dispersed early Wednesday, some threw rocks through the windows of a muffler shop and a used-car dealership, near a painted mural that read “Peace for
Some streets that had been overrun the previous night were deserted, except for the occasional police cruiser or National Guard vehicle. Guard crews stood watch in empty parking lots.
Other large demonstrations were held across the
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said police were giving protesters “breathing room” to demonstrate as long as they remain nonviolent.
About 300 people marched from a park to the
During an interview with ABC News,
Asked whether the encounter would have unfolded the same way if Brown had been white,
The officer said in his jury testimony that feared for his life during his confrontation with Brown, which he blamed on the big teenager, saying the theft suspect reached through his driver’s side window, hit him in the face, called him a “pussy” and tried grabbing his gun.
Public attention to the killing has frequently focused on the fact that Brown was unarmed. But whether or not Brown had a weapon makes little difference under
During Monday’s protests, 12 commercial buildings in
President Barack Obama deplored the destructive acts, saying they are criminal and those responsible should be prosecuted. But
“The frustrations that we’ve seen are not about a particular incident. They have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly,” Obama said.
White House officials are still considering whether Obama should travel to
Attorneys for Brown’s family stressed that those setting fires and engaging in violence were not on Brown’s side.
But they said the grand jury process was rigged from the start to clear the white officer. They criticised everything from the types of evidence St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch presented to the jury to the way it was presented and the timing of the grand jury’s decision. Attorney Anthony Gray suggested McCulloch presented some testimony, including from witnesses who did not see the shooting, to discredit the process.
Attorneys for Brown’s family said they hope an ongoing federal civil rights investigation leads to charges. But federal investigations of police misconduct face a steep legal standard, requiring proof that an officer willfully violated a victim’s civil rights. That is a high bar especially considering the wide latitude given to police officers in using deadly force.
The Justice Department has also launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.
Regardless of the outcome of the federal investigations, Brown’s family also could file a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against