Google maps of fires set to buildings and cars after the grand jury decision. Photo courtesy of ABC News.
Despite intense pleas by the area’s elected officials, the president of the United States, area clergy and the Michael Brown family, anger over the return of no bill of indictment against Officer Darren Wilson quickly boiled over into violence. The grand jury verdict was read at the Clayton Courthouse on November 24 at 8 p.m. The verdict was released by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch at a closed, media only filled room.
Michael Brown’s family released this prepared statement, “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. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”
Some of the first instances of violence were directed at a St. Louis County Police car which some protesters tried to overturn and ultimately smashed through the windows with bricks. Police in riot gear responded quickly with non-lethal beanbag rounds. Law enforcement then tried to clear protesters away from the Ferguson Police Station and used flash bangs, smoke bombs and tear gas. Police spokespeople stated that they were only using smoke bombs when national television commentators were reporting live that it was tear gas being used.
Just as violence was breaking out, President Obama made his own statement calling for calm, “That [change] won’t be done by throwing bottles. That won’t be done by smashing car windows. That won’t be done by using this as an excuse to vandalize property. It certainly won’t be done by hurting anybody.”
There were reports of gunshots at various parts of the Ferguson area and cars were set on fire, including a car dealership with 10 cars ablaze during the riot. Some trashcans were set on fire, windows of businesses along Ferguson were smashed and there was looting at locations including Ferguson Market and Liquor, the location where Michael Brown is said to have shoplifted Swisher cigarillos that ultimately led to his deadly confrontation with Officer Wilson.
Police did not allow protesters to assemble in the street so there was lawful assembly on the sidewalks. A Beauty Supply building was looted and set on fire on West Florissant. Sam’s Meat Market in Dellwood was burned around 11:30 p.m. A storage facility across from the Canfield apartment building where Brown was walking when he was shot burned around 10:30 p.m. A Walgreens on Florissant was among other businesses to be looted. A total of 25 stores were looted and damaged and 12 stores were burned during the night following the decision release. Here is a full list of fires according to ABC News:
- Little Caesar’s, 10716 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- Public Storage, 9291 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- Sam’s Meat Market & More, 9241 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- A car near Dellwood City Hall, 1415 Chambers Rd., Ferguson
- Cars at Dellwood Recreation Center, 10266 West Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- AutoZone, 9947 W Florissant Ave., Dellwood
- Walgreens, 190 N Florissant Rd., Ferguson
- Gas station, 10280 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- #HealSTL, 9171 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- TitleMax Title Loans, 9814 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- Advance Auto Parts, 9846 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- Juanita’s Fashions R Boutique, 9844 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- Ferguson Market and Liquor Store, 9109 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- O’Reilly Auto Parts, 9811 W Florissant Ave, Dellwood
- Discount Tire, 9801 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
- JC Wireless/Beauty Town, 9161 W Florissant Ave., St. Louis
Some protesters self policed violence and vandalism during the night, protecting some local businesses. Cathy’s Diner was one of these businesses saved by a human chain preventing protesters from doing harm to the building.
Governor Nixon held a press conference at 1:30 a.m. November 25 along with Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson and St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar. All were shocked at the amount of violence and vandalism. Nixon said that he deployed the National Guard to the Ferguson Police Department to help prevent more damage.
Protests were also being conducted in other cities, including Times Square in New York. Elsewhere in St. Louis, protesters assembled at I-44 and Grand, shutting down both directions on the highway around 10 p.m. Eastbound I-44 was cleared around 11:20 p.m. Temporary flight restrictions into St. Louis at the Lambert Airport had been put into place as of 11 p.m.
A police officer was shot in the University City Delmar Loop late into the night of November 24. The police officer was responding to a burglary in progress call that happened at 10 p.m. The police found a woman shot in the leg in her home. She was taken to the hospital, but later died. Three police officers approached the house looking for the shooter and one was shot in the chest. That police officer was taken to the hospital and is in serious condition. The shooter is not in custody as of November 25.
A body was found around 9 a.m. on November 25 of an unidentified male unresponsive in a car parked near Canfield Drive, where Brown was killed. In Ferguson, 61 arrests were made during the night and all but 2 were from the St. Louis metro area. In the city of St. Louis, 21 arrests were made. Windows along South Grand were smashed and police are said to have used tear gas there as well.
Hundreds of protesters peacefully shut down I-44 on November 25 from 12 p.m. to about 2 p.m. walking from Kiener Plaza to the St. Louis Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. Protestors then tried to shut down the highway near the Edward Jones dome and according to the police, bottles were thrown from the protesters and they were dispersed.
Governor Nixon held another press conference around 2 p.m. on November 25. There he announced the deployment of 1500 more National Guard to the original 700 from November 24 to help keep protesting peaceful and protect property and people in Ferguson.
The St. Louis Galleria closed at 6 p.m. Monday night and University City cancelled all activities and meetings Monday night. All St. Louis public schools are closed November 25. Ferguson-Florissant School District, Jennings School District, Washington University West Campus and more can be found at www.ksdk.com/closings/ and www.fox2now.com/weather/closings/. The St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade has been rescheduled due to the protesting.