(UPDATE: This article has been updated to include more current information. The update can be seen after the original post.)
Ferguson, Missouri has become a very tense community after the police shooting of an unarmed teenager. Multiple witnesses say that 18 year-old Mike Brown was unarmed and had his hands in the air when a Ferguson police officer shot him multiple times.
Now the metropolitan St. Louis community is a high stress area as local residents wait to see what happens next.
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A friend of Brown’s, Dorian Johnson, told local news stations that he was walking with the teenager when an officer stopped them and drew his weapon.
“He (the officer) shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air,” said Dorian Johnson, a friend Brown’s. “He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
However, official police report disputes that witness’ statement.
“The genesis of this was a physical confrontation,” Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police Department, said at a Sunday news conference.
The officer tried to leave his vehicle just before the shooting on Saturday afternoon, but Brown pushed him back into the car, “where he physically assaulted the police officer” and struggled over the officer’s weapon, Belmar said.
A shot was fired inside the police car, and Brown was eventually shot about 35 feet away from the vehicle, Belmar said, adding few details because he didn’t want to “prejudice” the case.
Tension on the ground was so severe that the Ferguson police had to call in help from St. Louis County.
Ferguson Police called for assistance from St. Louis County and nearby municipalities as large, emotional crowds gathered at the scene. In all more than 100 officers from 15 departments responded to the area. Tactical teams in riot gear were also called in. At one point, a dumpster was set on fire in protest of the shooting. A section of West Florissant Avenue near the scene was closed for a time on Saturday evening.
Through Saturday afternoon and evening some among the crowds were yelling profanities at police demanding justice. At one point gun shots rang out in the area as investigators gathered evidence. That prompted numerous police canine units to move in and move the crowds back.
Here is the police press conference on the shooting…
Hopefully whatever comes of this, cooler heads in the community will prevail and whatever justice is needed will happen legally. But already the race-baiters from the NAACP have come in with blame and seem ready to judge the local authorities. St. Louis County NAACP President Esther Haywood released this statement shortly after shooting. “We are hurt to hear that yet another teenaged boy has been slaughtered by law enforcement especially in light of the recent death of Eric Garner in New York who was killed for selling cigarettes. We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department releases all details pertinent to the shooting. We strongly encourage residents to stay away from the crime scene so that no additional citizens are injured. I have spoken directly with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, and I am confident that both he and his department will ensure that the investigation is conducted properly and that all details are kept transparent.”
Sadly, shortly after this report was published the community of Ferguson erupted in violence. Our own Young Publius is on the ground near the town of Ferguson, Missouri where in the late hours of Sunday night into Monday morning rioting broke out in the St. Louis metro town. Gunshots have been reported, stores and homes have been vandalized and tensions are running high.
There have been reports of:
Multiple police cruisers damaged
Many private vehicles damaged
Significant damage to QuikTrip petrol station
Petrol convenience store cleaned out
Riot gear, Gas masks, 200+ squad cars
A Local News crew was forced to evacuate as the situation grew tenuous
Here is video of looting that took place near where the incident occurred.
You can see even more of the updating social media response at Twitchy.
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