Several buildings burn after grand jury declines to indict Fergu - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Several buildings burn after grand jury declines to indict Ferguson officer

Protesters set fire to several buildings in Ferguson, including this auto parts store. (Source: CNN) Protesters set fire to several buildings in Ferguson, including this auto parts store. (Source: CNN)
Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch announced the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (Source: CNN) Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch announced the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (Source: CNN)
Cars blaze at a dealership in Dellwood, MO, Tuesday morning. (Source: Pool/CNN) Cars blaze at a dealership in Dellwood, MO, Tuesday morning. (Source: Pool/CNN)
Violent protests have emerged in Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (Source: CNN) Violent protests have emerged in Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (Source: CNN)
Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, MO, police officer; shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old, unarmed black man; on a street Aug. 9.(Source: Justice for Michael Brown/Facebook/MGN) Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, MO, police officer; shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old, unarmed black man; on a street Aug. 9.(Source: Justice for Michael Brown/Facebook/MGN)

FERGUSON, MO (RNN) - Violent protests have emerged in Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.  

Because of the unrest, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered additional Missouri National Guardsmen to Ferguson to provide security at the police department, allowing law enforcement to respond to other areas.

President Barack Obama urged peace after the decision Monday evening, saying, "We are a nation built on the rule of law. We must accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make."

"I join Michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully."

Still as Obama called for calm, tensions rose in the crowd of hundreds that had gathered outside the police department after the decision.

As soon as the grand jury decision was announced, police officers started getting hit with rocks and other debris, but no serious injuries were reported, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. "There's not a lot left on West Florrisant," he added, saying the violence was worse than the worse night in August.

He estimated that he heard at least 150 shots fired, at least a dozen buildings were burning, and at least two patrol cars were incinerated. Belmar said 29 people were arrested, though records released to the Associated Press on Tuesday morning indicated that 80 people were arrested.

The St. Louis County Police also stated that some people threw bricks at officers.

"Officers did a great job tonight ... but our community has been torn apart," Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said. "Change is created through our voice and not through destruction of our community."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said at least 21 people were arrested there as a result of unrest in that city overnight, and stated that the city will not tolerate violence.

In Ferguson, Protesters tried to flip a police car and broke out the cruiser windows. Another car was soaked in lighter fluid. Officers fired off rounds of smoke and tear gas to clear the streets. 

A beauty store was broken into and looters targeted the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store. Two police cars, a pharmacy and other businesses were set on fire, including the Red's barbecue restaurant that had served as a backdrop during the protests in August.

Several cars were burned at a Dellwood car dealership Tuesday morning.

The FAA ordered a temporary flight restriction over Ferguson after law enforcement reported shots fired in the air, according to an FAA news release. Only law enforcement craft are permitted to fly through the area, and media aircraft are operating at 3,100 feet.

That restriction, in effect until 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, has since been lifted.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport reported on its Twitter feed that at least five incoming flights were cancelled overnight due to the airspace restrictions but that the airport remained open. The restrictions did not affect departures, the airport officials noted.

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner was one of several people who sustained minor injuries. She was hit by a rock on live TV as she was broadcasting near a car title loan business that was on fire.

A University City police officer was shot, St. Louis County Police Department reported after midnight Tuesday via Twitter, but stated that this shooting may not be related to the unrest in Ferguson.

The protests broke out shortly after a Missouri grand jury declined to bring charges for the Aug. 9 death of the 18-year-old. 

"They are the only people who have examined every witness and every piece of evidence. They discussed and debated the evidence among themselves," said Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, announcing the grand jury's decision.

McCulloch said there was "no probable cause" for an indictment and that many witness statements contradicted physical evidence and sometimes their own stories. McCulloch said many witnesses changed their stories as evidence was presented, and many admitted to not having witnessed the incident but hearing about it from others.

"Physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agendas," he said. 

The grand jury, comprised of 12 people, was struck before the shooting occurred. Nine votes would be required for an indictment. 

McCulloch said a federal investigation was still ongoing.

"I join with Michael Brown's family ... in urging to continue the demonstrations, to continue the discussion in a constructive way not in a destructive way," he said. 

McCulloch said, “it doesn't lessen this tragedy that it was a justifiable use of force.”

Ferguson-Florissant public schools tweeted, "Due to the anticipated increase in traffic and possible demonstrations..." that school will be canceled Tuesday. Three out of four school districts that serve Ferguson have canceled school.

Several stores in the area shut down early Monday.  

Protests broke out in other parts of the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Oakland, CA, New York and Seattle, with protesters blocking the freeway in Oakland, CA.

Before the announcement, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for calm.

"Our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," he said.

Brown's family has asked for a moment of silence for four and half minutes to symbolize the four and a half hours Brown's body lay in the street. 

Videos of Brown being left in the street for four hours after the shooting began airing on national news. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson issued an online apology Sept. 25 to Brown's family for their loss and for the length of time it took to remove the body.

McCulloch's office will release the grand jury documents, even without a judge's approval, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

This includes testimony, photographs, diagrams, audio and video. McCulloch sought permission via a court motion on Nov. 12, but his lawyer withdrew the motion on Saturday.

Protesters gathered in Ferguson, MO throughout the weekend, resulting in only a few arrests as tensions escalated.

Michael Brown Sr. filmed a public service announcement last week, as did other community leaders including members of the St. Louis Rams, asking for peace once the decision is announced.

"But hurting others or destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son's death to be in vain," he said.

A decision was expected Friday, but the grand jury recessed over the weekend without a decision. The prosecutor's office stated they believed a decision would come mid-to late November, but the grand jury could have deliberated until Jan. 7, 2015. Many said they hoped the decision would come before the holiday weekend.

The decision comes after months of deliberation; the 12-person grand jury of five women and seven men, nine white and three black, convened Aug. 20, nearly two weeks after Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man was shot by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer. 

In preparation for the decision, Nixon activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency in case Ferguson, MO experiences protests similar to those in August. 

"All people in the St. Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation," Nixon said in a written statement.

The governor also appointed a commission of community members to examine the social and economic issues raised by protesters. 

Witness accounts have differed on what happened between Brown and Wilson on Aug. 9. Some said Brown had his hands up when he was gunned down; others contended Wilson had been attacked and shot in self-defense.

Police released a video of an apparent strong-arm robbery at a convenience store minutes before the shooting that appeared to be Brown committing the crime.

The shooting led to protests in a city with a large black population against its mostly white police department and city government. Allegations of excessive force grew louder from the daily gatherings of people and confrontations grew violent between protesters and area authorities, causing Missouri Highway Patrol to take over the lead on policing the city.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal investigation into the shooting and the Ferguson Police Department.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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