POLITICS
11/25/2014 07:34 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires, Unrest Following Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson, Missouri, is waking up to a city that is still smoldering after a night of unrest following a grand jury's decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

At least a dozen buildings were torched and looted, many of them local businesses that police said were total losses. Dozens of cars -- including two police cruisers and rows of vehicles at a car dealership -- were also vandalized and left charred. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said he heard about 150 gunshots, none from police.

"What I've seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we had in August," he said, referring to the summer protests after the shooting death of Brown, an unarmed black teenager who some witnesses say had his hands up when he was shot on Aug. 9.

Police said they made more than 80 arrests, and that there were only minor injuries.

Shortly after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made the rambling nighttime announcement, Wilson's grand jury testimony was released, in which he claimed Brown looked like a "demon" during the deadly confrontation.

ferguson olson

"I mean it was, he's obviously bigger than I was and stronger and the, I've already taken two to the face and I didn't think he would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right ...Or at least unconscious and then who knows what would happen to me after that," Wilson said during his grand jury testimony.

The prosecutor’s office also released photos of Wilson taken after the incident that show his injuries from the confrontation, which appear to be a bruise on his face and a mark on his neck. The photos, which were used as evidence in the proceedings, had not been previously released to the public.

Other grand jury evidence released overnight reiterated witnesses' firm beliefs that they saw Brown throw his hands up before he was shot.

As about 1,000 vocal protesters gathered on Ferguson's main street to learn the grand jury's decision, Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, cried out in anguish while standing on top of a car.

"Everybody wants me to be calm," she said. "Do they know how those bullets hit my son? What they did to his body as they entered his body?"

Brown's family also released a statement, which read in part:

"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."

As President Barack Obama spoke to the nation and appealed for calm, the tense demonstrations were already starting to boil over into violence.

On West Florissant Avenue, a focal point of summer protests, police ordered protesters off the streets. But once police left, some smashed the windows of a McDonald’s and others set fire to a beauty supply store and other businesses.

This map shows the location of many of the businesses that were burned:

The unrest in the wake of this news wasn't limited to Ferguson and the surrounding area. Protests also sprung up across the nation. In New York, demonstrators crowded into Times Square and someone sprayed fake blood on NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Also in the city, protesters shut down at least three major bridges while decrying other police-involved shootings.

Politicians and community leaders and change-makers alike pleaded for peace. But fury had already spread across the United States.

In Seattle, protesters reportedly threw rocks at cars and eventually shut down I-5. Others linked arms at 12th and Pike:

In Oakland, California,, vandals lit fires in trash cans, spray painted anti-police slogans on buildings and blocked a major freeway.

In Los Angeles, protesters took to the streets and at one point tried to take to the freeway:

In downtown Los Angeles, police used foam projectiles to disperse a crowd.

However, it's in Ferguson where by far the most devastating damage took place.

"We're going to have to come together and be better," Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said during a news conference held at about 1:30 a.m. local time. "We're going to have to come together to make some changes. But we have to understand that this community has to be whole, and right now this community is really fractured."

With reporting from HuffPost's Ryan Reilly, Matt Sledge and Mariah Stewart in Ferguson, Carly Schwartz and Christopher Mathias in New York and Jennifer Bendery in Washington.

11/30/2014 3:28 PM EST

Wilson Resigned Over Safety Concerns, Lawyer Says

Reuters reports:

he white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, resigned from the force without any severance deal, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.

The officer, Darren Wilson, announced his resignation late Saturday, saying he feared for his own safety and that of his fellow police officers after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Read more here.

11/30/2014 7:27 AM EST

10 People Arrested During Portland's Ferguson Protest

PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — Authorities say 10 people have been arrested in Portland during a protest related to the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting.

The city police bureau says the arrests came Saturday night "after a large group of protesters laid down in the street and refused lawful orders to clear the roadway."

Earlier, the gathering over the Missouri shooting death of a black man by a white police officer included a speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The Oregonian reports that Jackson urged nonviolence and said the resignation of the officer was "a step in the right direction," but that much remained to be done to achieve justice for the victim.

Police say that after Jackson left, some protesters marched around downtown and sporadically disrupted traffic.

Officials say some bottles were thrown at officers and a police car was damaged.

The nine adults and one juvenile arrested will face charges that include disorderly conduct.

11/29/2014 10:15 PM EST

Flag Burning

11/29/2014 10:01 PM EST

Large Police Presence

11/29/2014 9:42 PM EST

Saturday Night Protest In Ferguson

11/29/2014 9:26 PM EST

Armed 'Oath Keepers' Plan To Protest

The NYT reports that armed members of the group "Oath Keepers" are in Ferguson to offer their help protecting businesses from damage.

From the NYT:

The volunteers, who are sometimes described as a citizen militia — but do not describe themselves that way — have taken up armed positions on rooftops here on recent nights....

But on Saturday, with the county police said to be threatening the Oath Keepers with arrest, the volunteers decided to abandon their posts and instead protest against the authorities. Late in the day on Saturday, a protest was being planned for that night.

Read more here.

11/29/2014 6:56 PM EST

Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Department

Darren Wilson has resigned from Ferguson police department.

Read his resignation letter below, via St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process."

11/27/2014 12:55 PM EST

Murals In Ferguson

11/27/2014 11:28 AM EST

Ferguson Protests Hit Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Unrest following the Ferguson grand jury's decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson has hit the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Using #StopTheParade as a rallying cry, protesters attempted to disrupt the annual parade in New York City. According to Mashable, police arrested some of the demonstrators just as the parade kicked off.

--Mollie Reilly

11/27/2014 11:19 AM EST

Ferguson Library Stays Open Throughout The Protests

MSNBC's Steve Kornacki reports on Ferguson's public library, which has remained open throughout the protests.

Over 50 volunteers helped staff the library, which provided free lunches to children as schools remained closed. The library also offered help to businesses who suffered damage during the protests following the grand jury's decision.

"We have a dramatic setting right now but it is not different than what libraries do every day," library director Scott Bonner said.

Watch the segment here.

--Mollie Reilly

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