A convenience store burns during a night of rioting in
Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown.
REUTERS/Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT
An uneasy calm settled over Ferguson, Missouri, after a
second night of violent clashes between law enforcement and
residents protesting the police shooting of an unarmed black
teenager, with another demonstration planned for mid-morning.
So far, more than 50 people have been arrested in protests
following the death of Michael Brown, 18, in a largely black
St. Louis suburb on Saturday (local time) after what police
officials said was a struggle with a gun in a squad car.
The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the
racially charged case, and St. Louis County is also
investigating the shooting.
Police have not said why Brown was in the police car. At
least one shot was fired during the struggle, and then the
officer fired more shots before leaving the car, police said.
Chanting "hands up, don't shoot," protesters overnight
challenged police trying to seal off the neighborhood where
Brown was shot, a low-income, high-crime area east of
downtown Ferguson. Some protesters said they were outraged
that Brown appeared to have been shot while holding his hands
up in surrender, calling the shooting the latest in a long
history of police harassment of area minorities.
"They brought this on themselves," said 25-year-old Adam
Burcher of Ferguson, who stood outside the Ferguson Police
Department on Monday night with a sign reading "Stop
Later on Tuesday, a protest is expected outside the St. Louis
County prosecutor's office in Clayton, Missouri, and
officials are also expected to identify the police officer
involved in the shooting.
Brown's family has hired Benjamin Crump, an attorney who
represented the family of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black
teenager whose fatal shooting in Florida by a neighborhood
watch volunteer in 2012 triggered nationwide protests.
"To bring further calm, and for people to have confidence, we
need the Justice Department to take over this investigation
completely and not rely on the St. Louis police," Crump told
CNN in an interview on Tuesday.
Brown's parents have called for calm, but demonstrations have
turned violent. More violence ensued on Monday night as
officers in riot gear, armed with rifles and accompanied by
dogs tried to secure the area.
Some protesters said they were trying to honor Brown's
memory. A memorial of flowers, notes and candles grew near
the apartment building where Brown reportedly was walking to
see his grandmother before he became involved with police.
"We aren't going to let this one go," said 18-year-old Dreya
Harris of St. Louis. "People feel like in the Trayvon Martin
case that there was no justice."
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson has said officers are
determined to keep a lid on the simmering tensions.
The expected announcement identifying the officer involved in
the shooting also could escalate tensions in an area that has
seen a stark demographic shift in recent decades.
Officials, who so far have not disclosed the officer's race,
have said the six-year police veteran is on administrative
leave pending the investigation. About two-thirds of
Ferguson's 21,000-strong population are black, while 50 of
the 53 members of its police department members are white.
Most of the communities around Ferguson have gone from white
to mostly black in the last 40 years, said Terry Jones,
political science professor at University of Missouri-St.
"There's a long history of racial injustice," said Jones.
"Slowly and not so surely, the St. Louis metropolitan area
has been trying to figure out a way forward. As the Michael
Brown shooting indicates, there are often setbacks."