Ferguson, Missouri, erupts in violence after grand jury verdict not to charge Darren Wilson for shooting dead unarmed black teenager Michael Brown – follow live updates
VOID NETWORK expresses solidarity for the uncompromised struggle of people all over Amerikkka against the police brutality and the totalitarian “justice” regime that offers to any policeman the right to kill people in the streets with “no-charges” for centuries now! This has to end NOW, the state can not shoot us anymore and no one cares…WE CARE!
DEATH TO THE TYRANNES! FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
13.30 It’s now 7.30am in Ferguson.
• Darren Wilson, the policeman who was cleared last night of charges relating to the shooting of Michael Brown, has still not been seen.
• Police confirm that 61 people were arrested, 150 gunshots were fired, and a dozen buildings burnt.
• Following the verdict, at around 8pm in Missouri, protests were staged in New York, Chicago, California and Seattle.
13.02 An update on the arrests overnight.
St Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said there were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight, many for burglary and trespassing.
Francis Slay, the mayor of St Louis, said there were 21 arrests in his city, where some protesters broke business windows.
11.28 Jon Belmar, St Louis County police chief, has just been speaking about the damage overnight.
He said that at least a dozen buildings were torched and that he counted about 150 gunshots during a night of looting, vandalism, arson and clashes between demonstrators and police that resulted in at least 29 arrests.
Flights over the area were restricted and police struggled to contain protesters who took to the streets of Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis, smashing shop windows and torching cars and businesses despite President Barack Obama’s calls for restraint.
Although no serious injuries were reported, Mr Belmar said the rioting on Monday night and early Tuesday morning was “much worse” than disturbances which erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on Aug 9.
REPORT by Raf Sanchez, Ferguson for Telegraph.uk
For a few brief moments, the crowd outside the Ferguson police headquarters fell silent.
The cries of “hands up, don’t shoot” were hushed as hundreds of demonstrators – many concealing their faces behind balaclavas and Guy Fawkes masks – strained to hear the news coming over the car radio.
They listened as the St Louis County prosecutor announced what to many was a foregone conclusion: the white police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, would not face criminal charges.
And then the crowd was silent no more.
The streets of Ferguson erupted in fury once again after a grand jury decided not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the August shooting.
Demonstrators vented months of pent-up anger on the streets outside the police department where Mr Wilson once worked, looting and burning shops, setting fire to police cars and hurling bricks at the lines of riot police who challenged them.
In a grim replay of the violence that wracked this Missouri city over the summer, heavily-armed police responded to the sound of gunshots with tear gas and rolled through the streets in armoured vehicles.
Police reported hearing “heavy automatic gunfire” in Ferguson while fires broke out in neighbouring Dellwood and looting was reported in St Louis. A police officer in University City, a few miles south, was shot but it was unclear if the incident was related to the protests in Ferguson.
The clashes began shortly after 8pm, when Robert McCulloch, the St Louis County prosecuting attorney, announced that the 12 jurors – nine white and three black – had decided not to bring charges.
“They determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer Wilson,” he said.
Mr Brown’s parents immediately released a statement saying they were “profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions”.
But Michael Brown Senior and Lesley McSpadden, who have taken their campaign for justice for their son as far as the United Nations in Geneva, also appealed for calm, asking the protesters to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change”.
Their plea was echoed by President Barack Obama, who made a late-night appearance at the White House to remind demonstrators that the US was “a nation built on the rule of law”.
But by the time Mr Obama appeared, the television networks were already splitting their screens between the White House briefing room and the violence on South Florissant Road in Ferguson.
Rioters began by smashing the windows of sandwich shops
directly next door to the police headquarters, ignoring the festive letters spelling out “Seasons Greetings” between two telephone poles.
But they moved quickly from breaking windows to setting fire to unprotected police cars. One young black man, who would not give his name, looked on approvingly as a squad car burned, the ammunition stored inside it crackling in the heat.
“These cops can go around and kill our people and absolutely nothing happens to them,” the young man said. “We can’t get justice in the courts so we need to take it for ourselves.”
Police had initially maintained a light presence, with only a handful of officers visible and none in riot gear.
But as the crowd’s anger mounted, a phalanx of police surged into view, carrying shields and batons and forming a line beneath the American flag outside their headquarters.
Soon a column of armoured vehicles began to roll north from the direction of the motorway. An oddly-nasal voice rang out over vehicle speakers and into the freezing night: “You must stop throwing projectiles at police. You are unlawfully assembled. You must disperse.”
When words proved insufficient the teargas followed. Canisters rattled at the feet of the demonstrators and painful smoke billowed out, filling throats and leaving eyes watering in pain.
The violence came in fits and starts and at times the demonstrators were happy to stand before the row of police shields and hurl abuse at the officers behind them.
The largely-black crowd saved their angriest taunts for the African-American police officers. “Traitors!” shouted one man as a black officer watch impassively from behind a visor. “If that was your son, you wouldn’t be standing there.”
Many of the young African-American men were equally disdainful of Mr Obama and his appeals for calm from hundreds of miles away.
“The President is not even one of us, I would say that to his face,” said a man who identified himself as “Faze”. He pointed to the fact Mr Obama’s father was a Kenyan immigrant, rather than the descendant of slaves. “He doesn’t get it, he doesn’t know what’s happening here.”
Darren Wilson, the police officer whose bullets ripped through the facade of what some call “post-racial” America, has been in hiding since August and did not appear after being cleared by the grand jury.
His lawyers released a statement saying that “law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law.”
Five hours after the grand jury announcement, a dozen buildings were reported to have been consumed by flame, along with a number of cars that were set alight.
But not all the demonstrators who appeared to protest the jury’s decision turned to violence. One large group remained outside the police station, banging drums and chanting: “This is what community looks like.”
At the corner of South Florissant Road and Suburban Avenue, Shala Jones stood holding her three year-old daughter, Lonnie.
“I’m here tonight because this is her future,” said Ms Jones, as she tucked a blanket closer around her child. “Young black children need to know they can be safe in America.”
SOURCE: The Telegraph.uk