Shortly after the verdict in the shooting by Officer Darren Wilson, who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in
Ferguson, MO, we received
this on the spot report from correspondent Chris Otto, who lives in St. Louis MO.
Here is his report:
I said (before)... there would be some trouble for sure, but the only way it would get really bad was if they let it. Well, they let it. The decision to announce this at night was the first problem, daytime protests do not turn violent, but as one law enforcement official explained, they do "disrupt business". All public officials, from the governor to mayors, had pledged that protests would be allowed, but rioting and looting would not be allowed. In some places that was the case. In
south St. Louis city protesters were
allowed to occupy the street ( Grand
Ave.), and march up and down them some until
people started breaking windows and shit, and then the streets were cleared by
they did it backwards, prohibiting protests while allowing rioting. I was
watching it unfold on a live feed from someone on the ground in Ferguson, the local
"news media" just hang back as for as they can and ask the cops
what's going on. Protesters were gathered in front of the Ferguson Police
Station, which was expected. Police were trying to demand that the large crowd
stay on the sidewalk and not block the street. This was never going to happen,
and it was stupid even ask for it. As people gathered in the street, police
made no attempt to divert traffic away from the scene, (which is a standard
procedure in crowd control), adding to the confusion. Then the crowd tried to
march down the street, again, this is to be expected. Police immediately set up
a line to stop the march, enraging the crowd. Here's where it gets weird. The
police had left an unattended squad car just past their line, on the protesters
side. They had to know the enraged crowd would take out it's frustrations on
the vehicle, which they did. Meanwhile, protesters were protecting local
businesses from idiots in the crowd who were trying to break windows and tear
shit up. These were unarmed, young black men, lining up in front of storefronts
and restaurants, creating a human shield to ward off rock throwing assholes. At
some point a few rocks were thrown at the police line, and then in came the
tear gas and cop tanks. Tear gas was shot in seemingly random fashion, landing
in empty lots and backyards, well away from the protesters. Most of the
protesters scattered and left the streets, at which point the police collapsed
back to the police station. There they sat passively as looters and rioters
descended on Ferguson,
unquestioned, unstopped and generally left to burn and loot as they please.
Those young black men were the only people I saw trying to defend Ferguson. All the talk,
all the speeches about "violence will not be tolerated, and when push came
to shove, Ferguson
was left to burn. No police, the national guard was on stand by, waiting for...
the fires to burn themselves out? The precious police station, which was never
really in danger, was the one and only priority in Ferguson.
and the rest of " North County" ( the northern half of ).
North County ( St. Louis County Overland is considered North County)
is more diverse and less affluent than " West
County" and " ".
they never would have allowed things to get this other parts of the county. South County
There is more to the story, but I've said enough.
Ferguson burned because
it was deemed expendable. It burned because they let it burn.
Pix from www.politico.com.