Protesters shake Missouri town; looting, vandalism after 'unarmed' teen victim's vigil
Residents in Ferguson, Missouri, began looting and vandalizing property in the area Sunday night following a news conference about the fatal police shooting of an allegedly unarmed teen.
The St. Louis County Crimes Against Persons Unit has now taken over an investigation from the Ferguson Police Department. The police officer, a six-year veteran of the force, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
During a news conference Sunday morning, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar provided more information on the deadly incident, which happened on Saturday. Belmar "stated that around noon, a Ferguson officer encountered two teenagers on the street. As he was exiting his police car, one of the two teens allegedly shoved the officer back into the cruiser and assaulted him," reports FOX 2 Now. "Chief Belmar says there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon and at least one shot was fired inside the car, hitting no one. After the initial alleged assault, they exited the car. Belmar says the officer then fired at the teen or teens as they ran away."
Witnesses claim that Dorin Johnson hid behind a car, while the victim, Michael Brown, raised his hands to show that he was not carrying a weapon. However, the officer allegedly fired twice more, killing him on the street.
Outside the press conference, there was a peaceful protest by hundreds of Ferguson residents, some of whom held up their hands and exclaimed "Don't shoot me," reports the Los Angeles Times. Police dressed in riot gear watched, but did not intervene. By Sunday night, however, some residents had become violent.
Agreed. “@Patricialicious: I am commending the Ferguson Police on allowing the peaceful demonstration by the community”— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 10, 2014
It was after an 8 p.m.candlelight vigil that protesters reportedly turned destructive.
"Television footage showed people vandalizing police cars, kicking in store windows and carrying out goods, including bottles of alcohol," further reports the Los Angeles Times. "At least one large fire was reported." Widespread property damage was recorded.
Thousands converge on West Florissant pic.twitter.com/r34QBiBzCd— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 11, 2014
"Don't shoot!" chants the crowd. pic.twitter.com/vPFVWT3gDD— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 11, 2014
The SWAT team was called to the area after gunshots were reported.
Police armored vehicle driving down W. Florisant. "St. Louis police. Please return to your homes," they say. pic.twitter.com/oeMRCkN5Cv— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 11, 2014
The FBI has now been asked to begin their own investigation. The NAACP is also seeking a federal investigation.
Brown was enrolled to begin college classes on Monday.