Following the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old Black man, vigils and protests were planned opposing what community members believe to have been an unlawful shooting of the unarmed Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer following a scuffle. However, as the day went on, those vigils and protests were accompanied by a wholesale looting of Ferguson’s businesses.
It’s unclear just how many people were involved in the looting but video evidence seems to indicate that the answer is quite a few. Here are just some of the videos popping up (at bottom) of last night’s crime spree. I’ve seen no reports indicating that any people were hurt during last night’s smash and grab. Currently, things have quieted down. Here’s how HuffPo is describing the scene:
Afterward, some people looted a convenience store. Several other stores along a main road near the shooting scene were broken into and looted, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store.
People were seen carrying bags of food and toilet paper. TV footage showed streams of people walking out of a liquor store carrying bottles of alcohol, and in some cases protesters were standing atop police cars or taunting officers who stood stoic, often in riot gear.
Other witnesses reported seeing people vandalize police cars and kick in windows. Television footage showed windows busted out of a TV station van.
Local police have been reportedly inundated with death threats and the home addresses of officers were released and the smart money is on Anonymous:
Local news station WBTV described the shooting of Mike Brown as follows:
County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred after an officer encountered two people – one of whom was Brown – on the street near an apartment complex in Ferguson.
Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began. 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 struggled 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, but “it was more than just a couple.” He also said all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer’s gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.