This was the scene in Ferguson, Missouri last night as looters trashed businesses, set fire to gas stations and stood up to cops in protest of an unarmed man being gunned down and killed by St. Louis police officers.
In just a few days 18-year-old Mike Brown was supposed to be starting his freshman year in college, but unfortunately the teenager's life was cut short on Saturday when he was shot and killed by law enforcement while visiting his grandmother. Yesterday, after a peaceful candlelight vigil, a full blown riot ensued which resulted in over 200 cops and K-9 units being called to restore control.
Depending on who you ask, the details of what took place that day can vary. According to County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Mike and a man named Dorian Johnson were stopped by a police officer, and a fight broke out after one of the guys pushed the officer back into his squad car. Apparently the tussle made its way from the car to the street and Mike was shot multiple times. Dorian, however, said that's not what happened. Not only did the officer shoot Mike, he choked him when trying to get him into the squad car.
Johnson said the officer pulled up next to the two teens and exchanged words with them before choking Brown and trying to pull him into the squad car. The officer, he said, then exited his car, fired a shot and chased after Brown, who was running for his life.
"He shot again and once my friend felt that shot he turned around and put his hands in the air and started to get down, and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots."
"We wasn't causing no harm to nobody [sic]," Johnson said. "We had no weapons on us at all."
An eyewitness to the shooting also uploaded his side of the story to YouTube. He said:
He kicked the door opened trying to hit him with the door. The door flew back and hit his leg. He pulled his gun out and shot inside the car, trying to hit [Mike]. [Mike] got out the car. Dude on his knees like this, “Bruh, don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me.” Shot him dead in the head and then walked up to his body and shot him four more times. Looked at his eyes, paused for a minute and shot him four more times. They talking about [he] was running from the police. For one, [his] shorts was way down here, he got on flip flops, how the f-ck he running from the police?
He also added:
He wasn’t running from the police. The Ferguson market didn’t even call the police. He didn’t steal sh*t. The police just wanted to do the sh*t. He saw a black dude, like 300lbs, 6’4. He’s like f-ck it, I’m not going to fight him. Yeah, suicide type sh*t. My dude was already on his knees like, “Bruh, don’t shoot me.” His hands threw up. What kind of sh*t is that? Yeah a black dude got shot…it ain’t no sh*t like that. It’s more than that. Why you messing with this dude? He didn’t do [anything] to you. Y’all didn’t get no call.
Dude is a good ass kid. He’s the most respectful dude ever. I’m talking about he’ll knock on your door, you will barely hear him knock on the door. He’ll knock on your door, and step back from your door so that you can have a good space. I don’t know where this came from, this is crazy as though.
I just keep thinking, it could’ve happened to any of us. Anybody just walking down the street. Because this n*gga walking on the wrong side of Bay.
According to some eyewitnesses, Mike Brown's body was left lying in the street and it took the police four hours to remove the corpse from the scene.
On Sunday, there were peaceful citizens in Ferguson who sat outside the police station with signs and marched in the streets, but when night fell, there were others who decided to cause damage to businesses in their city. Looters were seen taking an ATM out of a convenience store. Others broke windows at markets and some set stores on fire.
"Right now, the small group of people are creating a huge mess," Ferguson's mayor, James Knowles, told St. Louis KTVI-TV. "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."
Social commentator Marc Lamont Hill spoke out on the death of Mike Brown and the riots in St. Louis on Twitter, while expressing that we need to value the lives of young black men more than we do our possessions.
We must not allow our righteous outrage to turn into self-destructive behavior or create a pretext for more State violence.At the same time, it takes a special kind of arrogance and hypocrisy to morally censure rioters in the wake of another teenager executed. I'm amazed at all the people who are "outraged" and "disgusted" at the loss of property, yet don't lose any sleep over a dead teenager.
A Black man in America is killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes. THAT, not rioting, is domestic terrorism...
Michael Brown should be starting college in a few hours. Instead, he's yet another teenager executed for being young, Black, and outside. I don't endorse the riots in Ferguson. Again, I think they instigate State violence. But I won't spend a minute criticizing people's anger. There's no way you can love Black people and not be angry that our children keep getting killed. It's morally repugnant. I'm glad we're angry. Nothing would be sadder than to become accuWitstomed to Black death. Especially among our youth...Praying for Ferguson. Playing for Black bodies around the globe. And wishing whatever peace is possible for Michael Brown's family.
A photojournalist on the scene shared how incredibly dangerous it was for him to be out there covering the assignment last night:
To add to this tragedy, Mike Brown's mom said that she wasn't even allowed to identify her son by cops, and that she learned of his death after someone showed her a photo of him on their cell phone.
[The police] aren't telling me anything. They haven't told me anything. They wouldn't even let me identify my son.
"The only way I knew it was my son was from people out here showing me his picture on their phones and their tablets.
"I learned about it from a guy calling me on the phone. I was able to look at that picture and say yes that's my son." Laying in the street for hours. Hours.
This is truly a sad situation and hopefully this family gets justice.
Catch a few Vine videos that were shared from the scene last night:
Also here is video of the eyewitness giving his account of what happened:
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