November 23, 2014

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Vandalism, looting follows vigil for Missouri man shot by police

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A candlelight vigil for an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a suburban St. Louis police officer was followed by unrest as crowds looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted officers who tried to block access to parts of the city.

Streets in Ferguson upended on Sunday night were relatively quiet early Monday. Some debris littered the area but crowds had dispersed. Police did not respond to calls by The Associated Press asking for details of arrests, law enforcement and violence in the unrest.

The tensions erupted after a candlelight vigil Sunday night for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times Saturday in a scuffle with an officer. The investigation into what led to the shooting was ongoing.

A man leaves a store on Sunday in Ferguson, Mo. A few thousand people crammed a suburban St. Louis street Sunday night at a vigil for unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer, while afterward several car windows were smashed and stores were looted. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)

A man leaves a store on Sunday in Ferguson, Mo. A few thousand people crammed a suburban St. Louis street Sunday night at a vigil for unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer, while afterward several car windows were smashed and stores were looted. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)

Several businesses were looted, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store. People took items from a sporting goods store and a cellphone retailer, and carted rims away from a tire store. Some climbed atop police cars as the officers with riot shields and batons stood stoic nearby, trying to restrict access to the most seriously affected areas.

Deanel Trout, a 14-year resident of Ferguson, said he was convinced the troublemakers were largely from outside Ferguson and that they had used Brown’s death and the vigil as an opportunity to steal.

“Most came here for a peaceful protest but it takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. … I can understand the anger and unrest but I can’t understand the violence and looting,” Trout, 53, said.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said there were no reports of injuries as of about 11 p.m. But there were scattered reports of assaults into the very early morning. Pat Washington, a spokeswoman for Dooley, said tear gas had been used. Authorities would not immediately confirm media reports of gunfire.

“The small group of people are creating a huge mess,” Mayor James Knowles said. “Contributing to the unrest that is going on is not going to help. … We’re only hurting ourselves, only hurting our community, hurting our neighbors.”

County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that on Saturday, an officer encountered Brown and another man outside an apartment complex in Ferguson. One of the men pushed the officer into his squad car and they struggled. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car. It was not clear if Brown was the man who fought with the officer.

The struggle spilled out into the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn’t known and that all shell casings at the scene matched the officer’s gun. Police were investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.

Jackson said the second person has not been arrested or charged and it wasn’t clear if he was armed.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told KSDK-TV there’s no video footage of the shooting from the apartment complex, or from any police cruiser dashboard cameras or body-worn cameras that the department recently bought but hasn’t yet put to use.

Jackson said blood samples were taken from Brown and the officer who shot him. Toxicology tests can take weeks to complete.

Earlier Sunday, a few hundred protesters gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters. Some marched into an adjacent police building chanting “Don’t shoot me” while holding their hands in the air. Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn’t use force; the crowd eventually left.

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said she didn’t understand why police didn’t subdue her high school graduate son with a club or stun gun, and that the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.

“I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty,” she said, fighting back tears.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, who referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.

“We’re outraged because yet again a young African-American man has been killed by law enforcement,” said John Gaskin, who serves on both the St. Louis County and national boards of directors for the NAACP.

Ferguson’s population of about 21,000 people is almost 70 percent black. The race of the officer has not been disclosed. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation, and Dooley said he will request an FBI investigation. The U.S. Justice Department said Attorney General Eric Holder instructed staff to monitor developments.


  • LorainCountyVoter

    How typical. Doesn’t matter if he was unarmed or not. If the officer felt his life was in danger due to the aggression of the individual during the struggle, he had the right to use his weapon in defense. Best thing to remember, easy. Don’t fight with the police. Simple lesson to follow.

  • Matt Barile

    “unarmed” he was trying to get armed by attempting to take the cops gun, so he can shoot the cop. Here we go again.

    • LorainCountyVoter

      Exactly.

    • SniperFire

      Why let facts get in the way of a good racebaiting story?

      • tomfeher

        Jesse Jackson is having his chauffer polish up the limo and will be on his way

  • tomfeher

    Why are there no white liberals protesting this shooting by stealing things from local businesses? Come on white folks! Show you are unhappy and steal something

  • Bob

    I am assuming that the cops were white, That is why the riot happened.

    So how come there is never a riot when it is a black on black murder?? Case in point the Strupe case. They a candlelight vigil for him and there was no riot. Why???

    • Starryeyes

      I thought a riot led to it…………

      • Bob

        What are you referring to?? What riot??

        • Starryeyes

          Wasn’t Strupe killed during a riot at least some of the folks were charged with rioting…….

          • Bob

            No Strupe was attacked. Attack by a group of 30 people.

          • Starryeyes

            Ok I stand corrected.

          • HankKwah

            He was attacked by people because they believed he was a drug dealer, and they didn’t want him in the neighborhood. I’m sure more will come out as time progresses, because I can’t imagine that’s the only reason.

          • Starryeyes

            I understand I have followed the articles. was Kind of just saying his riot was before death. A good number were charged with aggravated rioting.

  • SniperFire

    ‘NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr observes the ascendance of Barack Obama as a presidential candidate and wonders whether the U.S. is entering a new, “post-racial” political era.’

  • Joe Smith

    “One of the men pushed the officer into his squad car and they struggled. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car.”
    Sounds justified to me.

    • Bob

      Agreed. But why blame the person at fault. When you can blame others to make yourself feel better about your criminal son being dead.

      • Joe Smith

        More like you can’t sue to make money off the sons death if you accept responsibility.
        His death likely has more to do with how he was raised than anything but you never know.

        • Scout

          That’s unfair. You don’t know the family that raised him. He was to go to college…something was done right by this young man.

          • Joe Smith

            Not unfair at all, a persons actions are heavily influenced by how they are raised and the fact that the mom is trying to blame the officers for her sons actions backs that up.
            When I was young and I did something wrong, my parents would have punished me, not blame someone else.

            That and I guess you missed the “but you never know” portion of my post which would indicate that it could be another factor.

          • Scout

            Nature/nurture. Either way the young man was on the right path and unfortunately took a wrong turn. I do agree with you about ‘you never know’. I hope the truth comes out either way. And hopefully the mother’s response is one of shock and anger.

          • Joe Smith

            Can’t argue with that, have a safe week

      • Scout

        I wouldn’t call him a criminal…if he was pushed he didn’t intend for the actions to happen… Who pushed him? The one that pushed him should be charged with aggravated murder!

    • HankKwah

      Should not the question be why her son was attacking a police officer in the first place setting the stage for the rest of what happened?

      Of course not. He was a well-behaved boy that loved his family and never did anything wrong. Isn’t that how the script goes?

      And I want to thank the rioters for showing us one of the reasons Brown was shot in the first place: No one knows how to act right.

  • Bill Love

    Dont no why you would attack a cop then not expect to get shot.

  • oldruss

    When Al Sharpton gets on the scene in Ferguson, Missouri, (and it’s been reported by other media, that he’s planning on flying out there) I hope one news reporter has the guts to ask him if this is going to be another Tawana Brawley type wind-up?

    • Scout

      Better the question of “Mr. Sharpton why do these people feel the need to destroy their neighborhoods because of an incident?”. Why loot and destroy instead of being peaceful and law abiding…??? I pose the question and I would like a sensible answer. Not one based on racial antagonism…. Something happened that was very tragic for all involved but looting and destroying property is not the answer. Can someone answer that????

  • 2Cents

    In the sports world there was a 20 year old “unarmed” race care driver killed by Tony Stewart’s car on a dirt track in upstate NY. Tony’s car could be considered to be a weapon if he intended to kill Kevin Ward — we’ll see what the investigation reveals. Although details are just as sketchy at this point as the young man shot by a police officer in Missouri, there has been no riots ANYWHERE in respect to Ward’s death. The riots in Mossouri are not about the young mans death, but about an “opportunity” to destroy property and get free stuff.

    Don Lemon on CNN confirms the riots were about “opportunity” when he said earlier today “this is what they do” and then said . . . “although I don’t condone the riots, I do understand” . . . really? Until he said this, I had respect for him but I guess he just can’t help himself.

    • Scout

      Ah yes the media interjecting their ‘unbiased’ opinion….this whole unbiased media thing is a joke.

  • Scout

    It is a shame that a young man was killed in regards to this incident. However, since the FBI is involved I hope the real story comes out-not what Eric Holder wants to come out. It is a tragedy for this young man and the police officer that is involved. This is not something he signed up for…to server and protect does not mean ‘kill’. Let us wait until the whole thing shakes out. All those in Missouri who feel the need to express anger have got to let common sense prevail. So sad.

  • ekwaykway

    Must have been a closeout sale going on that night. Fun shopping when you don’t have any money.

  • DonMega

    They didn’t loot no schoolbooks or job applications.

  • Sis Delish

    Loss-of-Life = Loss-of-Inventory.

    Part of the new Common Core teaching?