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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Chaos erupts in Missouri town after police shoot dead unarmed black man

An emotional candlelit vigil turned into looting and rioting.

Image: AP

THERE WAS LOOTING and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis last night, after an unarmed young black man was shot dead by police over the weekend.

The tensions erupted after a candlelight vigil for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot several times on Saturday afternoon,

His death followed a scuffle involving an officer, whose race has not been disclosed, Brown himself, and another person in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of the city.

The night’s progress, from a peaceful – albeit emotional – candlelit vigil, to confrontations with police, and then widespread looting, was captured by local politician Antonio French in this series of Vines.

After the vigil, the QuikTrip convenience store was looted and later burned down, and several other stores along a main road near the shooting scene were broken into, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store.

People also took items from a sporting goods store and a cellphone retailer, and carted rims away from a tire store.

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.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many arrests were made. Authorities set up some blockades to try to keep people from the most looted areas.

“Right now, the small group of people are creating a huge mess,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told local television station KTVI.

Contributing to the unrest that is going on is not going to help…
We’re only hurting ourselves, only hurting our community, hurting our neighbors.
There’s nothing productive from this.

As the investigation of Brown’s death progresses, “we understand people want to vent their frustrations. We understand they want to speak out,” Knowles added. “We’re going to obviously try to urge calm.”

The shooting of Michael Brown

County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting of Michael Brown on Saturday 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 several 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.

Jackson said the second person has not been arrested or charged. Authorities aren’t sure if that person was unarmed, Jackson said.

The officer in question has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Mother appeals for death penalty for police officer

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said she didn’t understand why police didn’t subdue her son with a club or Taser, and she said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.

“I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty,” she said, fighting back tears.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, who referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.

With additional reporting by Associated Press

Read: Protests across US as George Zimmerman acquitted of Trayvon Martin murder>

America’s history of racial killings and failed convictions>

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Dan MacGuill

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