Editor’s Note: Peaceful protests in the day; violent rioting and looting at night. And now U.S. Rep. Clay (D) is trying to insight hate against the police. Yeah, just what this situation needs… more hate…
As night descended on Ferguson, Missouri, Friday, a protest against the shooting of an unarmed black teenager took a violent turn, with police officers reportedly setting off flash bombs to subdue the enraged crowd that turned to looting.
Earlier reports on Twitter claimed that Ferguson police fired tear gas on demonstrators, but a reporter on the scene later posted an update saying it was likely a smoke bomb.
At around 1.45am, the situation escalated as participants of the demonstration reportedly blocked traffic on West Florissant Avenue with cars, drawing a robust police response.
Michael Calhoun, with KMOX, live-tweeted that officers showed up on the scene in bulletproof vests and with guns drawn, and ordered the angry protesters to disperse immediately.
Amid screams and pops of firecrackers, the crowd eventually scattered, but according to reports from the scene, some of the demonstrators proceeded to break into and loot nearby stores, including a beauty supply business and Ferguson Market and Liquor – the site of the Michael Brown robbery.
The sixth day of protests started peacefully enough with a march led by Rev. Jesse Jackson to the site of the police shooting.
On Friday night, the civil rights activist linked arms with protesters as they made their way to the site where Brown was killed.
Jackson bent over in front of a memorial cross and candle and sighed deeply. He urged people to ‘turn pain into power’ and to ‘fight back, but not self-destruct’ through violence.
The scene was eclectic Friday night as hundreds gathered for a sixth straight evening. A man on a bullhorn called for a revolution.
A young man waved a Bible while citing scripture. Some took selfies in front of a convenience store that had been burned by looters Sunday. Boys tossed a football, and horns and loud music blared.
To Vida Weekly, 51, it was still a somber occasion. She walked through the crowd holding high a sign that read: ‘The police killed Michael Brown and now they are trying to kill his character.’
U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a Democrat from St. Louis, took a bullhorn and spoke to people gathered at the QuickTrip.
‘They have attempted to taint the entire investigation,’ Clay said to a cheering crowd. ‘They are trying to influence a jury pool by the stunt they pulled today.
Also Friday, the Justice Department confirmed in a statement that FBI agents had conducted several interviews with witnesses as part of a civil-rights investigation into Brown’s death.
In the days ahead, the agents planned to canvass the neighborhood where the shooting happened, seeking more information, the statement said.
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street during a routine patrol.
Mr Gray said that the teenager’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr, ‘never described him as the perfect kid’ and fully admitted that they had done their best to keep Michael on the right path for his future.
The lawyer added: ‘No one out there is proud of everything they have done when they were a teenager.’