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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Indictment Alleges Arson in Ferguson, Mo.

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A St. Louis County man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly trying to burn down the convenience store which Michael Brown robbed of cigarillos before he was killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

Antonio Whiteside, 26, "maliciously attempted to damage and destroy [the store], by means of fire and explosive materials," according to the one-count indictment.

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in the immediate aftermath of a St. Louis County grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson for Brown's death. The fire at the Ferguson Market was one of dozens of fires set to businesses in the Ferguson region as protesters took to the streets in anger.

Video surveillance showed Brown stealing tobacco from the Ferguson Market minutes before he was fatally shot on Aug. 9, 2014.

After Whiteside allegedly started a fire in the store on Nov. 24, video surveillance showed a woman putting it out. The Ferguson Market was looted and damaged, but still stands, unlike other businesses that were destroyed by protesters.

"The St. Louis (County Police) Bomb and Arson Unit and agents with ATF have been working on multiple criminal investigations in the aftermath of the Ferguson rioting," U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said in a statement. "This indictment is but one result of that collaboration, which is an ongoing effort and I expect will produce additional indictments at both the state and federal level."

If convicted, Whiteside could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

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