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HomeNewsUSFerguson Riots Take Huge Financial, Emotional Toll On Weary Community

Ferguson Riots Take Huge Financial, Emotional Toll On Weary Community


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The Ferguson riots that broke out in the wake of the grand jury decision’s not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown have taken a huge financial and emotional toll on a weary community.

More than a dozen buildings were set on fire overnight, with at least 61 people arrested and facing various charges, including arson, burglary and unlawful assembly.

“What I’ve seen tonight is worse than the worst night we had in August,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said, while speaking at an early-morning news conference. “The fabric of the community has been torn apart tonight.”

The Ferguson grand jury decided Monday night not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, on August 8, 2014, moments after Brown committed a strong-arm robbery with another young man. The grand jury testimony and forensic evidence overwhelmingly supported the officer’s story, but that didn’t stop so-called “protestors” and opportunists from rioting.

Numerous fires still burned into the morning, and two police cars were completed melted in the street. Businesses were left destroyed and emptied due to looting from the protestors, who turned increasingly violent as the night went on. By midnight, PPD confirmed over a hundred shots had been fired, which put the police at extreme risk.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said officers showed “great courage” in patrolling the city, but at least 18 people were treated at hospitals for various injuries.

“Our community has to take some responsibility for what happened tonight,” Johnson said. “We have done something here that is going to impact our community for a long time.”

Belmar said his main goal was the preservation of life, but was visibly disappointed by the violence and looting that followed Monday’s announcement. He said that he and others now wondered if certain areas of the town could recover. He also stressed that the police were not ill-prepared for the situation, but placed an extreme emphasis on defensive riot control.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon waited to give the order for additional National Guardsmen to enter the city this morning, which the governor hoped will provide additional security if protests continue Tuesday night. A large number of troops were later seen marching in file and wearing riot gear.

“We’re expecting it to flare up again, especially when it gets dark,” said the Rev. Dusty Thompson, of Ferguson Church of the Nazarene. “There’s definitely some trepidation for tonight, but we are just praying that peace will be pursued and that our community will come together.”

Store owners were shocked that the rioting was so widespread, and even many of those who boarded up their storefronts returned this morning to find the wood had been set on fire.

“I’m the only one that didn’t burn,” said Dan McMullen, who has owned an insurance company in the Ferguson area for 20 years. “The buildings to the right and left of me burned down. The beauty shop to the left of me is totally flat. It’s a 60-year old building made out of concrete and metal.”

“I never thought they would burn the place down.”

McMullen also added that he and others in the neighborhood fear the violence will continue — or perhaps even escalate — Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, both the Brown family and Officer Darren Wilson responded to the grand jury decision, with the Brown family holding a press conference Tuesday and slamming the members of the grand jury, the police, and St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

“We said from the very beginning that the decision of this grand jury was going to be the direct reflection of the presentation of the evidence by the prosecutor’s office,” said attorney Anthony Gray, who suggested McCulloch presented some testimony, including from witnesses who did not see the shooting, to discredit the process.

However, the grand jury testimony and forensic evidence in the case, which was available to all media outlets for scrutiny, shows Brown clearly as the aggressor. The Brown family attorneys, Mr. Daryl Parks and Mr. Benjamin Crump, had long argued that Dorian Johnson’s testimony should be given the same weight as other eyewitnesses.

When confronted with the forensic evidence, which did not support a “hands up don’t shoot” narrative, eyewitnesses initially in agreement with Johnson changed their story or admitted they hadn’t actually witnessed the crime. As for Mr. Johnson, himself, according to the grand jury testimony, he was directly involved in the assault of Officer Darren Wilson.

Brown “has his arms out with attitude,” while “The cop just stood there,” one witness to the shooting that capped the noon-time confrontation testified. “Dang if that kid didn’t start running right at the cop like a football player. Head down.”

Wilson’s lawyers issued a statement praising the decision and saying the officer, who has remained out of the public eye since the shooting, is grateful to his supporters.

“Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions,” the lawyers wrote. “Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law.”

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