Someone Torched Michael Brown Sr.'s Church

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Jessica Lussenhop
Fire damage in the front room of the Flood Church on West Florissant.
The church attended by Michael Brown Jr.'s father was lit ablaze by arsonists at some point last night or possibly early this morning. Michael Sr. and his wife Cal were just there this past Sunday before the family was collectively baptized at another church just a few minutes down the road in Jennings.

At least a dozen Ferguson business were consumed in fires in the aftermath of the no-indictment announcement from the grand jury. However, the Flood Church fire is an outlier as it is located a mile away from the most destroyed parts of West Florissant, and the surrounding businesses were not damaged in any way.

"You go down this street, you see nothing else touched," said Pastor Carlton Lee after a press conference with the Brown family at Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. He said he strongly believes his church was targeted.

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16 Photos of Ferguson Burning

Categories: Ferguson

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All photos by Steve Truesdell
The Hunan Chop Suey in the 9800 block of West Florissant Avenue burns.
"Burn this motherfucker down!"

When the grand jury announced no indictment against Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson, Louis Head rushed to comfort his wife, Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother. Then, obviously reeling from his wife's pain, he turned to the crowd and shouted: "Burn this bitch down! Burn this bitch down!"

He got his wish.

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[UPDATED] University City Woman Dead and Police Officer Shot During Home Break-In

Categories: Crime

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Google Maps
The 7400 block of Wayne Avenue near the intersection of North Hanley Road and Midland Boulevard.
A University City woman is dead and a University City police officer is recovering from a gunshot wound following a home break-in last night.

University City police say they received a call around 10 p.m. Monday for a burglary in progress in the 7400 block of Wayne Avenue. The caller told police that the suspect was climbing through a bedroom window and shooting into the home. As officers arrived to the scene, they, too, took on gunfire from inside the house. One of the three officers, a five-year veteran of the force, was shot in the chest.

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After Promises of Advance Notice, Nighttime Release of Grand Jury Decision Stuns St. Louis

Categories: Ferguson

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Bryan Sutter
A police officer patrols Ferguson protests. Check out more photos from Ferguson in our RFT slideshow.
Just 24 hours ago, everybody in St. Louis seemed to know someone getting advance notice of the grand jury's decision regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

Law enforcement officers said they'd get 48 hours notice from officials. So did medical workers. Schools promised to give parents several hours of notice so they could get children home safely. The message was clear: There will be time to prepare before the big decision comes down.

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Shaw Protesters March, Peacefully Block I-44 Before Riot Cops, Burglaries Take Over

Categories: Ferguson

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Theo Welling
St. Louis police in riot gear block South Grand Boulevard shortly after protesters shut down Interstate 44. See more photos here.
They gathered in the designated "safe space" -- MoKaBe's, a Tower Grove South coffeehouse that's usually filled with the din of clinking cups and chatting patrons. But when 8 p.m. rolled around last night, an eerie silence descended. For thirteen minutes around 80 people sat captivated by the voice of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, piped in through the shop's sound system.

"The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction," droned McCulloch. "They accepted and completed this monumental responsibility...they determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer Wilson and returned a no true bill on each of the five indictments."

A few sniffles could be heard. Heads bowed. Hugs, once accepted, lingered as McCulloch began to summarize the evidence -- the "accurate and tragic story of what happened" to Michael Brown, a black eighteen-year-old whose death on August 9 spurred months of protests demanding the arrest of Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed the unarmed teen.

"This is nothing new," interjected Lisa Cagle, an activist and graduate student at Washington University, her voice rising above McCulloch's. "We've already heard all this shit. There is nothing new, nothing surprising. We knew this was probably going to happen. So here's what we're going to do. A lot of you are angry, a lot of you are sad.... So we're going to have four-and-a-half minutes of silence. Because after this moment, we're not silent anymore."


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[VIDEO] "We're Ready to Fight": Ferguson Protesters React with Fury After Grand Jury

Categories: Ferguson

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Theo Welling
Riverfront Times videographer Sadiyya Rice was filming police as they used riot shields to protect themselves from thrown rocks when nearby protesters walked up, demanding to be heard.

Like the other hundreds of protesters who filled West Florissant Avenue Monday night, they were angry. A grand jury had just cleared Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, of any charges after he fatally shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown in a move many demonstrators took to mean that the justice system doesn't value black lives.

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Tear Gas, Shootings, Arson and Looting in Ferguson After No True Bill Announcement

Categories: Ferguson

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Mitch Ryals
What's left of a police car after it was set on fire on South Florissant Road.
Another night of violence, looting and property damage plagued Ferguson last night with the grand jury's announcement that Darren Wilson would not be charged with the killing of Michael Brown.

Although the reaction on South Florissant Road in front of the Ferguson Police Department seemed peaceful at first, the violence many were expecting ultimately prevailed.

The crowd on South Florissant rumbled as protesters in the middle of the street and on the parking lots across from the Ferguson police station heard the news. Almost immediately, a drum beat picked up and people began chanting, "Show them what community looks like. This is what community looks like."

"We already knew what was going to happen," said Byron Conley, 51, of the grand jury's decision. The 24-year Ferguson resident, who lives in the neighborhood overlooking the police department, added that he hoped the protests wouldn't turn violent.

His wish was not granted.

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No Indictment for Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in Fatal Shooting of Michael Brown

Categories: Ferguson

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St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch releases the grand jury decision on Darren Wilson.
Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting unarmed black teen Michael Brown in August.
The grand jury investigating Wilson's case voted Monday to issue a "no true bill," a legal term meaning there's not enough evidence to indict a defendant.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch plans to release most of the evidence and testimony heard behind closed doors by the grand jury. That information includes testimony transcribed by a court reporter, selected photographs, video/audio recordings and other reports, according to court documents; it doesn't include autopsy photos or the names of grand jurors.

Note: Riverfront Times will update this story with details from our reporter at McCulloch's press conference in Clayton. Check back.

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Grand Jury Decision on Darren Wilson Investigation To Be Released Monday

Categories: Ferguson

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Jessica Lussenhop
The Buzz Westfall Justice Center in downtown Clayton.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch will announce the results of the grand jury's investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown Monday.

The prosecutor's office released this terse statement Monday afternoon: "The Grand Jury hearing the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson investigation has reached a decision and it will be announced later today."

Update: The grand jury decision will come down at 8 p.m. tonight. From the prosecutor's office: "The Grand Jury announcement concerning the Darren Wilson case will be at 8:00 P.M. this evening at the Justice Center, 100 S. Central, Clayton, Mo. All seats have been accounted for and no one else will be allowed in the building."

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Chris Schaefer, Livestreamer Beaten at Ferguson Activist Meeting, Speaks Out

Categories: Ferguson

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Courtesy of Chris Schaefer
Chris Schaefer, photographed during his hospital stay after an alleged beating by fellow Ferguson activists.
Chris Schaefer says he's still hurting.

"I'm still recovering, still been sleeping a lot. I've had a hard time breathing," says the 24-year-old University of Missouri-St. Louis student, his voice wheezing over the phone. Schaefer's face and bandaged, bloody hands made headlines earlier this month after he was allegedly beaten during a November 6 planning meeting for Ferguson activists held at the Greater St. Mark Missionary Church.

After getting out of the hospital about a week ago, Schaefer reached out to Daily RFT through his attorney, saying he wanted to set the record straight on the beating and on what he'd witnessed on the streets during his brief career as a livestreamer.

"The truth is that I was robbed in the church, assaulted inside the church and assaulted right outside the church," he says.

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