The suburb of Ferguson, Missouri resembles a smoldering warzone on Tuesday morning after a night of violence, looting and destruction that followed the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting of teenager Michael Brown. More than 12 buildings were set alight by the rioters, many local businesses that will now face a battle to survive, while cars were upturned and shops that were not set ablaze were looted and vandalised.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who reported more than 150 gunshots during the evening (none from police), said: “What I've seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we had in August," referring to the initial riots after Brown’s death earlier this year. More than 1,000 people gathered in Ferguson’s main street to hear the verdict of the Grand Jury, including the family of the victim. Police said that they arrested 80 people during the evening’s mayhem.
Upon hearing the verdict, Brown's family released a statement that read:
We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.
The protests were not limited to St Louis suburb, with demonstrations reported in cities across the US, including New York, Seattle and Oakland. In Los Angeles, police used projectiles to disperse a large crowd that had taken to the streets. Yet Ferguson was worst hit, with the community now desperate to avoid another night of violence and hoping to heal the deep racial divisions once again exposed by the killing of an African American man by an agent of the state.