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After Night of Looting in Ferguson, Protesters March Looking for Answers

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Photos by Mitch Ryals
Davion Lorich asks police officers if they feel bad about what happened.
By 9:30 a.m. Monday, with the smoke and violence of last night's looting and riots gone, a crowd of some 50 demonstrators arrived in front of Ferguson's police and fire departments to continue the protests over the death of Michael Brown.

Meru Muad'Dib of Bellefontaine Neighbors and Camelia Murphy of Pagedale stood directly across from Vincenzo's Restaurant where officers in riot gear waited.

"Those were different people out there last night," Muad'Dib said. "They took advantage of the situation. Don't commit crimes in the name of Mike Brown," he pleaded.

Cars rolled by slowly. Some honked.

"Rioting happens when people are scared and don't have answers to questions," said Murphy.

See also: Ferguson Riots: North County Business Owners (Some Armed) Survey the Damage

By 10 a.m., the crowd swelled to several hundred people and congregated across from police station to listen to one female protester.

"You have to understand, they are not wrong for looting," she said at one point. "They are not wrong. We are looted against every single day."

Two women listening to her speech disagreed. Carissa McGraw, 26, and Mztay Bennett, 38, shook their heads.

"That's ignorant." McGraw commented. "Just don't patronize the area. I was on the front line yesterday with my hands up, but I left. When they started looting and bustin' up stores, I was like I gotta go."

The crowd, comprised mostly of African-American residents, then moved across South Florissant Road to directly in front of the fire station. Two men, the (unofficial) leaders of the protest, spoke through a megaphone to the crowd and made four demands:

1. That the identification of the officer be revealed.
2. That officer be immediately fired and charged with murder.
3. For the Ferguson Police Department to distribute handbooks to the community, so they know how the officers are instructed to interact with citizens.
4. And that the racial composition of the Ferguson police force should reflect the population of the city.

Next, the protesters marched back and forth on South Florissant Road between Church Street and Paul Avenue. They chanted: "Hands up! Don't shoot!" "No justice, no peace!" And "Stop the killer cops!" as they walked.

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Protesters stand on the side of South Florissant Road outside the Ferguson Police Department.
After the crowd marched twice up and down the street, some of the protesters broke off to meet the line of riot-ready officers now standing between the fire and police stations.

"Where the cop who looks like me?" one protester shouted. "Where he at?"

One female protester started a "Black power" chant before the crowd dispersed and again began marching.

One boy stayed back, though. Davion Lorich, a Jennings High School sophomore quietly approached the line of officers. Both hands clutched around a coffee cup, he asked one:

"If you had a choice, would you go home? Do you feel bad for being here right now and for what happened?"

The officer didn't respond, and Lorich walked away.

For some people this morning, this was a protest against racism, white supremacy and Jim Crow. For others, though, Mike Brown's death cannot be chalked up solely to skin color.

"I don't get it," Kiara Williams said. "It hurts my heart to know that as black people, we have a slave mentality. When did you pick cotton? Your ancestors did, but did you?"

Williams moved to Florissant a few months ago from Ferguson. She has three sons ages twelve to twenty, and doesn't believe all the cops are racist. A few years ago, she called the Ferguson police on her son, who has an anger problem. He was breaking windows in her house and left in a fit. When the police picked him up, they called Williams and brought her son home unharmed.

"They didn't have to do that, but because I worked with them, they cooperated," she says.

Monday morning she looked suspiciously at the protesters marching up and down the street, concerned that the crowd could turn violent. It doesn't.

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Photos by Mitch Ryals
Marchers on South Florissant Road Monday morning continue to protest Michael Brown's death.
"We're setting a platform for violence for our children with riots," she said. "This is not a solution. Positivity is what makes change."

There was anger in the voices and on the faces of some marchers, hopelessness on others. They wanted answers, and they wanted justice. As the march wound down, Williams led a group of people in a prayer in the middle of the street.

Nearby, a young black man yelled "Fuck the police!" grinning as he did it. Many fellow demonstrators looked at him in disapproval.

"That's not right," one woman said. "He better shut up."

A few people yelled at the young man to stop with no success.

Around noon, the line of officers standing between the two stations moved to the edge of the sidewalk and then to the middle of Florissant Road. They told the crowd, which died down to less than 300 people, to go home. One officer wielding a large automatic rifle said:

"Folks, you have to leave. Go home or we will start arresting people."

The section of South Florissant Road between Church Street and Paul Avenue remained blocked off as protesters drove away. Drivers honked and held their fists out of windows in a display of solidarity. The crowd said its peace, and it was indeed time to go home.


My Voice Nation Help
100 comments
Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

For real ! Lol thug ! Go fucking home all you suckup! Or get out of our country! Their!

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

I'm sure one cop gets hurt its on! So go fucking home an stay their!

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

Funny cops have been nice to the one rioting you are lucky they just don't gun u down when they ask u to leave! An they can so go fucking home ! I feel sorry for the Nabors that don't want anything to do with this crap! Pushing your problems on them ! I'm sure they had peace before you started your shit!

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

Oh another thing because they play Malcolm x on tv for the last few weeks don't make rite war is over with! your just out of control ! Myself GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY NOBORHOOD ! THATS TO THE ONES THAT PLAY THIS FUCKING CHILDISH GAMES . RIOTING

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

To me your just making asses out of your self moneys not going to replace him! An this looks like its all about now! Attorneys ECT... Looking for a free ride now!

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

Oh I'm poor very poor too I don't have to steel ! But I'm rich in spirit an have faith in God! An have worked myself to the bone to support my family by myself! SO TAKE YOUR CRY BABY ASS GET A JOB OR GO TO SCHOOL AN MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER WE ALL DIE THATS IT! DONE ( oh go to church to an pray) get to know God I did thru my difficult times

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

An for a white guy looking like a thug I'm sure he will be taking down too! No difference but they don't have big riot's over it! Saying oh we're white just go home! I'm sure his mom is heart broke over this! Just disrespectful my son was white an beat an put in jail given 34 years over something he didn't do! It just killed me but I have to be strong for my son in very lucky they wanted to kill him an me so don't give me race bull I'm home work an pray all the time I even worked at apartment where he was at! I grow up out their an stop running around in circles. ! Or just get out of our state your not welcome if u act this way!

Christine Hagan
Christine Hagan

Stop being races! For real ! It's over with decades ago Look up Johnathan. Gentry on facebook ass he's got it! great guy! Go home pray! Go home!

Anne Clare Prendergast
Anne Clare Prendergast

Looting and rioting are clearly not the only way to get anyone's attention. Can you explain how those actions are helping in this situation? Help me understand how rioting and violence will change anything in a positive way.

Timothy Sabinson
Timothy Sabinson

Don't lecture me about being poor. I grew up in a poor neighborhood and our house had an outhouse for plumbing. Stop acting like being poor is a black thing. I had to support my mother and sister for years and never expected anything from anyone. I worked right alongside blacks that worked had. I never used a senseless death for an excuse to loot. The last I heard in this country we were free to give opinions.

Stephanie Thorsten
Stephanie Thorsten

WOW! Christine, your level of ignorance has rendered me speechless.

Rob Andrews
Rob Andrews

I'd venture to say less would miss you & your anarchist comments.

Steve Linderman
Steve Linderman

No I don't have an incorrect meme. I was asking how you can justify looting as a way to protest against violence. Responding to violence with more violence doesn't prove the point that violence is not the answer.

Jaye DeVeney Gilleland
Jaye DeVeney Gilleland

Same thread dear. Until the REAL TRUTH comes out. And, a 'few hundred' people did NOT witness this. How could he be shot in the chest/face if he was not facing the cop??? Yeah...GET REAL!!!! smh

Mary Watson
Mary Watson

Cest...only lowlife scum would support the rioters.....sunlight sure is a good disinfectant...wear your badge with pride....

David Emrick
David Emrick

I would pay extra taxes to fund extermination teams to rid us of these people.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Well, I am sure with your vast knowledge of rioting you must be an expert. But yeah, I'd say "angry and scared' and with a few opportunists thrown in as well. If all this society values is private property and wealth and profits, and have armed thugs with the authority to shoot and kill people for walking in the street, then looting and rioting is the only thing that will ever get anyone's attention. Would you still be paying attention to this murder if everyone had just gone inside and patiently waited for the police to release their official report?

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Christine, I think you forgot to pay your KKK dues this month.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Do you remember the East St Louis race riots? The one that drove Josephine Baker to leave the United States as she watched white men beat and murder black people fleeing across the bridge to St. Louis, running for their lives? Do you remember slavery, segregation, and lynching? There are plenty of white people in Ferguson, indeed, everywhere in North St Louis city and county there are white people. Yeah I remember white flight. Bunch of entitled racist assholes that instead of working to improve the lives of everyone in their neighbourhood decided to move to all white suburbs and restricted neighbourhoods. Michael Brown's murder is testament to the legacy of white flight. If there is more rioting, I hope they riot in Clayton and where ever you live.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Hey Christine, are you real proud of your upbringing and school and place of birth and family? Do you feel pride that you are whatever kind of white you are? Do you think that your families background and history has anything to do with how above these "dogs" you are? You know, like me maybe you had some Scots ancestors that came to Canada in the late 1800's that were methodist missionary's and didn't want to pay taxes to the Church of England? Maybe there is a saying or phrase or way of speaking that you picked up from your family, that came down from several generations (like the Bavarian legacy in St Louis of "warshing" your dishes, etc). I don't know your story. But if you take any kind of pride in your history or your past, maybe you could think about the fact that you no more chose your colour or race or the wealth (or poverty) of the parents you were born to than Michael Brown chose his race and colour and class. Now consider that all of these "dogs" have a 400 year legacy of not being considered full citizens. Not being allowed to learn to read or write, and later, of having to attend seperate schools and go to seperate hospitals and drink from separate drinking fountains. Of having race riots where white men with clubs and torches would riot and pillage and loot and burn and rape your grandparents communties for no reason other than the colour of their skin. If you are one of those Irish that turns up with shamrocks all over your body for St patrick's parade, or goes to the Greek festival to celebrate your roots, maybe you can understand that the legacy of African American's in this country is horrifying, and that Michael Brown had risen above that simply by graduating from an unnaccredited and insolvent school in a very poor neighbourhood with few opportunities, where every black man is considered a thug, with the burden of being assumed guilty and having to prove himself innocent. The "dogs" in St. Louis wear badges. The real thugs are in patrol cars. You didn't chose to be Chrissy anymore than Mike chose to be Mike. You are as much, or more, a product of your upbringing as he was his. The difference is, you weren't shot in the back for walking in the street. The difference is, your skin colour is the same as the people in power.

Mike Sadlo
Mike Sadlo

Don't do wrong and you won't get shot. As for tearing up your own city. Get a life that isn't bringing anyone back and just makes yourself look dumb

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

The police here do preliminary beating. If you are African American male they beat you in anticipation of rioting. Or they just shoot you for walking in the street.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Funny isn't it, that they were so quick to arrest and process the rioters, but they let the officer drive off in the crime scene (his patrol car)? That they got the autopsy results back today but refuse to release them. I wonder why it is taking so much time. And Sylvio, who is your boss? Was he there? Does he know the medics personally? They let that kid lie there because he was already dead and said that no one could "disturb the crime scene". That is the official story -- or was. It keeps changing. But that is what Police said on Saturday.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

What a really sad and sick person you are Mary. You aren't afraid of police gunning down unarmed teenagers in the street, but the loss of a fully insured, tax-incentive and business development receiving corporate franchise, in a neighbourhood you probably don't live in, scares you? If for no other reason i am glad the rioters got all you pathetic individuals out in the open. Sunlight is good disinfectant. I had no idea how rank people like you are.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

It got an FBI investigation. It got media attention for an event that is all to commonplace in society. The only thing this society values is profits and private property and business as usual. Haven't you ever gotten angry and directed your anger at the wrong person or entity? The only moron I see is you.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Right, Because just as you chose to be born white and whatever class you are, they chose to be poor and black. And no welfare queen could ever be as "used to something for nothing" as a hedge fund investor or subprime mortgage banker or CEO demanding a bonus while laying off half his work force. No one would mind if you kept your ignorant opinions to yourself.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

They already have. They said "if you are a black man, your life doesn't matter.'

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

That's because you are so used to seeing really rich people loot an entire country for no reason other than their greed, like 2008 and the global financial meltdown. Let me explain-- people in poor communities are constantly reminded that private property and business as usual and shareholder profits are more important than poverty or homelessness or jobs. They are constantly reminded that the police view every black male teenager as a thug that the world would be better off without and that they can shoot with impunity and then get paid leave and have their anonyminity protected. You don't have to "buy" it, you have to go to the Wizard and ask him for a brain AND a heart.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

I love that "work hard". I seriously doubt that the owner of Quik Trip works as hard as his or her employees. I love that. If hard work equaled wealth than every kid in the Salvadoran coffee fields and women in Bangladesh garment factories would be as rich as Rex Sinquefield. And yeah, that free education system... you mean like Michael Brown who graduated from an insolvent and unaccredited high school and was enrolled at technical college and then was gunned down, unarmed, for walking in the street? Do you huff glue or just have a really really low IQ?

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

No one would miss you if you stopped reading it or commenting.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Those businesses are what the police are really protecting. You might have seen an incorrect meme that was going around that mixed up Michael Brown with a theif that stole a $1 cigarillo from Quik Trip. You see, it is OKAY to shoot someone if they steal a $1 item and they resist arrest or try to get away. It's okay for people to go hungry when stores are stocked with food. And then, too, these businesses were in the area. People get angry, they don't think clearly, and they attack what is close by and familiar. I am truly sorry that so many people do not seem to understand that.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Like those bankers that caused a worldwide economic crash in 2008? I agree. But you must be confused. This thread is about a few hundred people in St. Louis that witnessed a horrible murder by an armed thug that shot an unarmed kid in the back. Get real people.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

If every poor person, black or otherwise, rioted and looted in the streets tomorrow they could not do as much damage as the people that count on "law and order" for shareholder profits and private wealth have done. And all without having watched an unarmed kid gunned down in the street. All for no reason but greed.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Wow you must be really mad about the billion dollar looting that took place in 2008. All those entitled bankers and opportunistic mortgage lenders. All these vacant houses with bushes growing out into the street, blocking the sidewalk are a direct result of that. The insolvency of our government and economic crash that we still haven't recovered from, especially in poor neighbourhoods. And the looting and pillaging and burning of Iraq when it was 15 Saudi's that caused 9/11. You were just getting to that right?

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

When the police uphold pedestrian violations to the point of death (Brown was walking in the street) and the profits of Quik Trip over the life of a human being, the only way to get any justice or attention is to attack the only thing that matters in this society- private property, profits and business as usual.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

It couldn't possibly be because they were fed up with official, systemic violence. I'm sorry, but what excuse did all those white people have for "race riots" where they went into black communities and lynched and burned and pillaged? Until the 1960's that was what a riot in a black community consisted of. Back then cops could choose to take their uniforms off or wear them while killing unarmed black people. No, there is absolutely no precedent of any kind for the last 400 years. No reason at all that black folks should be angry or scared of murderous white thugs.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Yes, no excuse. Of course, until the 1960's there had never been a black-led race riot. For most of this nation's history race riots were white people killing black folks for no reason other than skin colour. Instead of white sheets now they wear blue uniforms and work alone or in pairs.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Does anyone remember for how, oh 400 years or so of this nation's history "race riot" meant white men going into black communities and beating the crap out of people and burning down homes and businesses? The East Saint Louis riots are the reason that Josephine Baker became a French citizen.

Timothy Sabinson
Timothy Sabinson

These people riot because they are used to something for nothing.

Sylvio Roberts
Sylvio Roberts

Good point my boss said the medics couldn't get to the body because it wasn't safe but I'm sure it was too late. Also you are right investigations do take some time and they are too busy watching the protesters to police the rest of the city

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