Police Killing Leads to|Riots Near St. Louis

     FERGUSON, Mo. (CN) – Violence erupted in the streets of a St. Louis suburb Sunday, the day after police shot to death a black teenager.
     Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday.
     Family members claim he was unarmed and was shot repeatedly more than 30 feet from a squad car.
     Police claim Brown was involved in a physical altercation with the officer before to the shooting.
     Ferguson, pop. 21,200 is a working-class suburb north of St. Louis. Its median household of $36,121 is 20 percent below the state average. Sixty-five percent of the residents are African American.
     Tensions grew during a vigil for Brown on Sunday evening, and then rioting broke out.
     A QuikTrip gas station was looted and set on fire. Rioters stole lottery tickets and money from the cash register.
     Antonio French, an alderman whose area includes Ferguson, tweeted, “Men have pulled a truck up to the QT and are loading the ATM into the back.
     A Post-Dispatch newspaper reporter was punched in the back of the head and was helped away by police officers near the QuikTrip, the paper reported. St. Louis County police made 32 arrests.
     KMOV-TV reporter Brittany Noble tweeted that she had to duck while driving away from the area because objects were being thrown at the news truck. Noble attached a picture to the tweet of damage to the truck.
     Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson tweeted “Gun shots, looting large crowds in street no cops around” around 10:20 p.m. Sunday. A minute later, Carson tweeted, “Honestly a little scared.”
     Shortly after 10 p.m., St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson tweeted that the department’s tactical unit along with the Missouri Highway Patrol had been deployed to Ferguson at the St. Louis County Police Department’s request.
     Protesters choked off traffic on West Florissant road, a major highway in north St. Louis County.
     Patricia Bynes, a Ferguson Township committeewoman, tweeted that looters also broke into a beauty supply and a check cashing business.
     “Watching them break into these businesses is HEARTBREAKING,” Bynes tweeted as tensions escalated Sunday evening.
     Around 10:25 p.m., Bynes tweeted, “The officers have asked me to stay behind their vehicles. Shots have been fired toward the officers.”
     Bynes tweeted again at 10:30 p.m., “People are leaving. I just heard more gun shots.”
     KTVI-TV reported that a tire store was also looted.
     St. Louis County Scanner Radio tweeted that fires were reported in a strip mall and a barbecue restaurant in Ferguson.
     Brown’s family, through a pastor, urged the crowd to pray and disperse as tensions escalated.
     Police stood stoically in front of the crowd in riot gear, and did not respond to verbal taunts from the crowd. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, an African-American, arrived to try to calm the crowd while speaking into a megaphone. Tear gas was eventually dispersed.
     Shortly after 11 p.m., Post-Dispatch reporter Steve Giegerich tweeted that a person had been shot at West Florissant and Chambers, a major intersection in Ferguson. It was later reported that the person was severely beaten.
     SWAT teams moved into the area after 11 p.m. Around 11:15 Carson tweeted: “Tear gas being deployed.”
     The violence spread to nearby Dellwood, where several stores were vandalized. Shots were reported at a Wal-Mart.
     No injury totals were available early Monday.
     Brown’s shooting drew international headlines. Some compared it to the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.
     The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network – a civil rights watchdog, will travel to St. Louis on Monday.
     “I just spoke with Leslie McSpadden, the grandfather of Michael Brown,” Sharpton said in a statement. “He has asked me to come to St. Louis in light of the police killing of his grandson to assist the family in achieving a fair investigation and justice. I assured him that National Action Network will stand with the family, as we have done for families around the country and assist in any way that we can. I am dispatching Rev. De-Ves Toon of our National Action Network field department to St. Louis immediately to prepare for my visit, and to work with groups in the area as we pursue justice in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
     The local N.A.A.C.P. is also investigating the 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,” said Esther Haywood, president of the N.A.A.C.P. in St. Louis County.
     “We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department release all details pertinent to the shooting. We strongly encourage residents to stay away from the crime scene so that no additional citizens are injured.”
     U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed attorneys in the department’s civil rights division to monitor developments.
     Brown’s family has hired Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented Trayvon Martin’s family, KTVI-TV reported.

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