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Tear gas used to clear crowd gathered near QuikTrip

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Post-Dispatch staffers have interviewed two women who said they had been shot by police with rubber bullets.

Valerie Schremp Hahn and David Carson, 9:05 p.m.

Police in riot gear, backed by a SWAT armored car and other police vehicles, fired tear gas into the crowds that gathered again this evening near the QuikTrip that was looted and burned Sunday night. 

A large crowd gathered there Monday afternoon. About 8 p.m., as protesters started to gather and try to block the street, police officers formed lines in West Florissant Avenue fired tear gas, according to reporters and photographers on the scene. The protesters then started to disperse, they said.

By 9 p.m., most of the protesters had left the area. Police with bullhorns ordered the stragglers to head home.

-- Staff at 9 p.m.

The Galleria mall closed about 6:30 p.m. Monday when a teenage scuffle apparently heightened fears that the unrest in Ferguson might spread to the Richmond Heights shopping center.

Shelbyon Polk, 15, of Kirkwood, said he saw at least three teenagers being arrested following an altercation between two teenage girls.

Shelbyon and other teens attributed the presence of Richmond Heights police officers at the mall to rumors on social media of potential problems there.

Richmond Heights Police Chief Roy Wright could not be reached for comment.

— Steve Giegerich 8:25 p.m.

Across Interstate 64, several stores closed early in the Brentwood Promenade and the Meridian Shopping Center. Among them were a Best Buy, Sports Authority and Bed, Bath & Beyond, all of which had closed by 8 p.m. The Target remained open.

Among the frustrated customers was Lisa Renaud of Ladue, out shopping for back-to-school supplies.

“That's crazy, “ she said. “This is a long way from Ferguson. I would think that maybe they closed the stores to protect the people who work there. I mean, after all, if looters want to get in, they're not going to be turned away by a locked door.”

A security guard at the Meridian said Brentwood police ordered the stores closed. But Brentwood officer, who wouldn't give his name, said the store management made the decisions.

At the Promenade, another guard said, "We didn't want to take any chances."

- staff, 8:15 p.m. 

The parents of Michael Brown rejected police accounts of the fatal shooting of their son Saturday, but also asked supporters to conduct a nonviolent protest.

“If you have any information, please give it to us," urged Michael Brown Sr. in an afternoon press conference at Jennings Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Jennings. “But I don't want no violence. We don't want no violence. Because Michael wouldn't want no violence. He would have wanted none of it. We want to do it the right way. We need justice for our son.”

The father also begged witnesses to come forward.

Law enforcement said Monday Brown had gone for the police officer's gun while he was inside the officer's patrol car. Witnesses have said Brown was unarmed with his hands in the air as he fled from the police officer.

His father's remarks were made in the company of the family's newly hired attorney, Benjamin L. Crump, a civil rights lawyer who previously represented the family of Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin. Cornell Williams, president of the national NAACP, also spoke.

Crump called Brown's killing an execution, and referenced other young black men from around the United States that he said have been senselessly killed and not given justice by police or the courts.

“You just can't fathom as a child puts up his hands, and people continue to shoot," Crump said of Brown. “This child was shot multiple times and left on the ground like a dog. It's a combination of things like this happening over and over and over again, and people are getting no sense of justice.”

Williams, of the NAACP, said young black men deserve equal respect and should not be routinely harassed by police.

“I want you to know they deserve the respect of law enforcement when they see them walking down the street doing nothing wrong.”

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, was overcome with tears and unable to speak beyond a few words during the press conference.

- Nancy Cambria at 5:35 p.m.

Looting clean-up continues amid protests, traffic jams and high emotions

The day after a violent night in Ferguson

Scenes from the clean up on Monday, Aug. 11 2014, after a after violent night in Ferguson. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

Shopkeepers continued their clean-up this afternoon after overnight looting left a swath of West Florissant Avenue and parts of a New Halls Ferry commercial areas strewn with shattered glass, bricks, rocks and other debris.

The clean-up continued as the area buzzed with yelling protesters, about 70 of them congregated in front of the burnt remains of the QuikTrip that was looted and set on fire overnight. West Florissant Avenue continued to be jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic from sightseers. A group of about 30 people marched up and down the street putting their hands up in the air, in a gesture to police not to shoot them. 

Patrol cars and police on foot with dogs also patrolled the area, a block away from where Michael Brown was fatally shot Saturday afternoon by an unnamed Ferguson police officer, setting off the unrest.

At 5 p.m. the honking and yelling continued on West Florissant in front of the QuikTrip, which seemed to be a symbol of victory to some participants.

"It feels like I am at a historical moment," said Armaon Simmons, 17, of the Normandy area, walking in to join the loud group. "Black people are coming together. We aren't killing each other; we are working as one."

But Zackery Keys, an African American union carpenter from St. Louis County saw it differently. "This is a disturbed group of young people, Keys, 58, said from a safe distance. "This is nothing to be proud of. Who wants to be part of chaos... Probably 95 percent of these people don't even vote."

Unlike downtown Ferguson earlier in the day, most of the police on duty were not wearing riot gear.

Damage was most extensive along West Florissant, with auto parts stores, electronics dealers and dollar stores taking the brunt of the looting. But the vandalism extended to the New Halls Ferry commercial area near Interstate 270 where a Party City was among the retailers hit.

Trucks with plywood were parked throughout the area; repair crews say it may be a month or longer before all the broken windows are replaced. Most businesses in the West Florissant and New Halls Ferry area — even those that were not hit by Sunday's violence — were closed Monday.

At Northland Chop Suey on West Florissant, Paul Fletcher helped owner Booen Jang sweep broken glass from the restaurant. Nothing was stolen from the restaurant and the interior was left intact. But the bill just for boarding the windows came to $2,700. Fletcher said the total cost for replacing the windows is expected to reach $10,000.

At JC Wireless, a block from the QuikTrip, employee Dwayne Rodgers was boarding up both broken and unbroken windows. He said he arrived at the store this morning to find the cash register missing and 20 smartphones stolen after a window was shattered with a piece of concrete. As he began his clean-up, he said a woman approached him with questions to distract him from three others who were stealing hair extensions and other products from the Beauty Town store adjacent to his shop.

The inside of Beauty Town was completely trashed, with products and shelving toppled and strewn about. ABC news was inside the store filming the damage. The store owner's son, Yoon-Jae Kim of Wildwood, said his father had owned the store for 10 years. When asked if could have ever imagined national news in his store, he replied, “I never thought there would be riots in this town.”

- Jeremy Kohler, Steve Giegerich, Jesse Bogan and Tim Barker at 3:15 p.m., with updates

Local NAACP and African-American bar association offer free attorneys to witnesses

The St. Louis County branch of the NAACP and the African-American Mound City Bar Association are demanding a more thorough investigation into the death of Michael Brown and urging witnesses to come forward.

“During a meeting today between St. Louis County Police Chief, Jon Belmar, and NAACP leaders, it became clear that there were many witnesses who had not yet been interviewed by police investigators,” the two organizations said in a press release announcing the partnership.

The release went on to say witnesses “may be reluctant to come forward for fear of retribution or deceit by police investigators.”

The two groups said they would will work to provide pro bono attorneys to aid witnesses who come forward to law enforcement.

- Nancy Cambria at 6:15 p.m.

Post-Dispatch photographer becomes part of the story

Sunday night, Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson stood between two worlds: Police in riot lines on one side, angry crowds gathering on the other. Then the mob turned against him. And he became part of the story.

10 charged with burglary stemming from looting

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch announced felony burglary charges Monday against ten people accused of looting businesses Sunday night in Ferguson and nearby communities.

McCulloch said all were "well-known" to his office, but did not release names or mug shots. He said more information would be released Tuesday. Each was held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said earlier in the day that 32 people had been arrested during the looting. The prosecutor's office said police had only applied for felony charges for the ten charged Monday. The others will face misdemeanor charges in state or municipal court, authorities said.

McCulloch added his call for calm to those of others.

"(The investigation) will be completed as expeditiously as possible without overlooking anything," McCulloch said.

- Stephen Deere, 5 p.m.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder releases statement on shooting of Michael Brown

 “The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend deserves a fulsome review. In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office, have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry. The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right. I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

- Nancy Cambria at 4 p.m.

County police to share information with FBI

County Executive Charlie Dooley promised the investigation into the shooting would be open but not quick.

"We're asking all the public to be calm, be patient," Dooley said.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says the FBI "will take a lot of the information we have developed already through our investigation. They will take that investigation, and they may do their own interviews and take a look at the evidence themselves."

"We will share our information with Prosecutor McCulloch's office and at the same time with the FBI," Belmar said.

Belmar said Ferguson's police chief, Tom Jackson, contacted him Saturday even before he got to the scene of the shooting. "This is a complex investigation, as it should be," Belmar added. "We need to make sure everything's done right. We get one chance to do it."

He said investigators still need to talk to scores of people at the apartment complex.

"I understand the public has a right to be skeptical," Belmar said. "But I would also ask the public to be reasonable."

- Kim Bell and Stephen Deere at 11:30 a.m.

The Rev. Al Sharpton confirms visit for tomorrow

The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network will come to Ferguson tomorrow morning to meet with the family of Michael Brown. Sharpton will then hold a press conference around noon. The location has yet to be determined. He will then meet with Ferguson community leaders and clergy.

- Nancy Cambria at 4:25 p.m.

Faith leaders hope to lessen racial tensions; Tuesday forum scheduled

In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louis faith leaders are hoping to lead the charge in de-escalating racial tensions and rebuilding trust in Ferguson.

One major step toward that goal will take place Tuesday night, when the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon will host a forum at Christ the King United Church of Christ, where Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Mayor James Knowles III are both expected to be on hand to answer questions. The forum is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m.

- Lilly Fowler at 4 p.m.

When can police use deadly force?

Courts traditionally have given police wide latitude in use of deadly force, relying heavily on the 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tennessee v. Garner, UMSL criminologist Richard Klinger said.

That ruling said an officer can shoot even an unarmed person if there is probable cause to believe that the suspect "posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."

- Jennifer S. Mann, 5:15 p.m.

Gunshots fired near Michael Brown's memorial

A general state of unease and lawlessness remains in the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer Saturday.

Around 3 p.m. a man in a white T-shirt fired a gun a block away from a growing pile of teddy bears marked the site where Brown was killed. There were no injuries, and police did not respond to the scene.

Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., 36, was surveying the mound of teddy bears when the shots were fired. He wore a black T-shirt in memory of his son that read, No justice, no peace. 

"I just need justice for my son, get this case solved. I need everybody to come together to get this done," he said. 

- Jesse Bogan at 3:15 p.m.

Ferguson-Florissant School District cancels meetings

Officials with the Ferguson-Florissant School District have canceled meetings tonight at eight elementary schools. The meetings were scheduled for students to meet their teachers and visit classrooms before the start of school on Thursday.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic events of recent days in and around the City of Ferguson," administrators wrote on the district website. "We are planning to receive and support our students when school begins this Thursday, and we look forward to working closely with our community to heal and rebuild."

- Jessica Bock at 2:30 p.m.

Hospitals report treating a handful of injuries

Local hospital officials report they have not seen an increase in ER volumes following the events in Ferguson. However, some hospital officials have reported treating patients involved in yesterday's demonstrations that followed the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

Two individuals were treated at DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton yesterday evening after sustaining minor injuries in Ferguson, Jamie Sherman, spokeswoman for DePaul Health Center, said. Those individuals were released shortly after treatment. The two individuals came into the ER on their own, Sherman said. No further details were provided.

- Samantha Liss at 1:20 p.m.

Several Ferguson restaurants close today after protests

Several Ferguson restaurants normally open on Monday have opted to close after Sunday's protests. Ferguson Brewing Company, El Palenque and Cathy's Kitchen all specifically mentioned Sunday's events as the reason for their closures; Marley's Pub & Grill didn't give a specific reason for closing today. More info here.

- Ian Froeb at 2:45 p.m.

Walmart remains closed, onlookers cause traffic 

Traffic is bumper-to-bumper on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, as curious motorists check the extensive property damage caused by Sunday night's looting. A spokesperson for QuikTrip, the convenience store that burned, said employees are being transferred to other locations. There's been no decision on whether to rebuild the store. Walmart, also a target of looters, said it would keep its Ferguson store closed for now.

- Tim Barker at 12:50 p.m.

Look Back: Martin Luther King assassination

Some of the people assembled in Forest Park, near the Union Boulevard entrance, for the memorial service for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. after his assassination in 1968. Police estimated that about 30,000 were in the parade by the time it reached Union, and the crowd grew larger in the park. Post-Dispatch file photo

St. Louis doesn't have history of civil rights-era rioting other cities do

A bit of history: During the post-World War II era of national civil-rights progress and urban unrest, St. Louis largely was spared the violence that exploded in other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit.

But a riot by whites against blacks in East St. Louis in July 1917 may have been the nation's worst ever. Read more here.

- Tim O'Neil at 2 p.m.

Slay hints at city-county reunification

"The herculean task of coordinating dozens of public safety departments is a strong argument for a more unified region," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay tweeted.

The city's St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was called to assist county police last night as unrest spiraled out of control in Ferguson, a municipality firmly outside of the city's borders.

- Nick Pistor at 11:45 a.m.

County police chief Belmar talks about looters

Police wanted to make sure the crowd had the "opportunity to vent" but later parts of the crowd started looting businesses, such as Walmart, Walgreens, Footlocker and others.

County Police Chief Jon Belmar explained why police responded the way they did during the Sunday night violence.

"We went away from the skirmish line model and we went into police cars," Belmar said. "We actually began to do lapping patrols so we cold be more mobile for calls coming out. 

He said dispatchers received "thousands of calls" Sunday night, including shots fired, property destruction, burglaries and assaults.

"It was a miracle, however, that nobody actually got shot last night," Belmar said. "I was expecting the worst. You can never tell, when you're in an environment like this."

Belmar said he thought his officers "did a very good job, initially, of making sure the crowd had the opportunity to vent, but at some point we could no longer sustain that attitude."

Belmar said police will be looking at surveillance to catch additional looters.

Belmar was asked whether he was concerned about more violence tonight.

"Am I worried about it? Yes. Am I expecting it? No. Am I planning for it? Yes."

He said the department is not currently considering a curfew. - Kim Bell and Joel Currier at 11:25 a.m.

The eyes of the world: Coverage of Ferguson

Photos: Brazen looting and vandalism

Ferguson police chief: 'Worst night of my life'

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that, after 35 years in law enforcement, "It's the worst week of my life, and last night was the worst night of my life."

Jackson also explained more about the encounter between Michael Brown and the Ferguson officer who shot him Saturday. He said he didn't think it had anything to do with a strong-arm robbery on West Florissant Avenue earlier in that day.

Jackson said he thinks it was a "routine patrol encounter."

"It was just a clear-the-road type of incident," Jackson said.

He said police were prepared for another outbreak of violence on Monday night.

"We're expecting calm and peace but we are prepared for any eventuality," he said.

- Steve Giegerich at 11 a.m.

Political leaders weigh in

Area political leaders express sympathy for Ferguson shooting victim Michael Brown, call for calm from the public, and offer bipartisan support for a federal investigation.

- Kevin McDermott at 11:50 a.m.

Fatalities from police shootings occur daily

A 2011 Department of Justice study, covering 2003-2009, found an average of just over one person a day died from homicide by law enforcement officers during arrests in the United states, although a vast majority were likely deemed justifiable.

The study of those seven years found that about 419 people annually died in arrests from law enforcement homicides, according to the Department of Justice Statistics. But a separate FBI study suggestged that that about 90 percent of them were deemed justifiable. 

- Chuck Raasch

Protesters again rally after night of violence, crowd dispersed after noon deadline

Protesters in Ferguson

Protester Anthony Petty (center right) holds his granddaughter as he joins a rally in front of the Ferguson police station on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Marchers are entering a third day of protests against Saturday's police shooting of Michael Brown. Photo by Robert Cohen,

More than 150 protesters gathered near a Ferguson fire and police station at the corner of South Florissant Road and Tiffin Avenue. The protesters called for release of the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown. They called for the officer's firing and for him to be charged with murder, and they called on the Ferguson police to change their hiring practices to reflect the demographics of the community.

At times, the crowd chanted, "No justice, no peace." At other times, they chanted: "Stop the killer cops."

One young woman stood in the middle of a large group, yelling, "What did we do to deserve this? Why are we always the target?"

They then marched three blocks, turned around and came back. "Hands up, don't shoot," they chanted as they walked. Nearby, more than 20 police officers in riot gear stood in a side parking lot at the fire station.

About 11:30 a.m., the crowd thinned out, and many of the protesters got in their cars and drove slowly along Florissant Road with their flashing emergency lights. It resembled a funeral procession.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said organizers of the morning protest had agreed with police that the event would last from 10 a.m. to noon. Jackson said most of the protesters were peaceful, "but there were a few organized anarchists getting people riled up."

"We told them this was an unlawful assembly and you are blocking commerce, please leave."

At noon, police ordered the remaining protesters to disperse. About 10 minutes later officers advanced two blocks up South Florissant to Spot Drive to move people along. At that point, a stand-off occurred for about 30 minutes with about dozen stragglers on one side taking cell phone pictures of police, and police on the other side standing at attention with batons crossed in front of them. Most of the crowd has since dispersed. About eight people were arrested and cuffed with plastic bands and placed in a van for failing to disperse. - Koran Addo at 10:40 a.m., with updates 

Some justify the looting

On the lot of a QuikTrip that was looted and burned Sunday night, some men who said they had been there last night defended the damage as a response to injustice.

DeAndre Smith, 30, of Ferguson was happy to justify the looting when a reporter asked him about it Monday morning.

"This is exactly what is supposed to be happening when an injustice is happening in your community," he said, adding: "You have kids getting killed for nothing."

Smith, who moved to St. Louis from New York in December, said there could be more to come.

"I don't think it's over honestly," he said. "I just think they got a taste of what fighting back means."  - Kim Bell at 9 a.m.

First day of classes canceled

Jennings school district canceled the first day of school today, saying it was concerned for student safety in the wake of Sunday night's violence.

"Safety is our uppermost concern," a Jennings release said. "At this time we do not feel it's safe for our students to walk to school." - Nancy Cambria

'Please return soon'

Leonette Hilliard, who works as a middle school English teacher, stopped by the QuikTrip. Using one of her school folders, she wrote a note to the store and taped it to the side wall.

Note posted by woman angry about Ferguson looting

Leonette Hilliard was so upset by what the looters had done to businesses in Ferguson that she posted this note on the wall of a burned-out QuikTrip on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Photo by Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch.

"Corporate neighbor: I am sorry this act of robbery and violence has happened. Please return soon."

The note was taped over graffiti saying "187 county police," the 187 a slang reference to murder.

She said she comes to the store to two or three times a week and has been doing so for about 15 years.

"This just doesn't represent who we are as a community and I wanted just to say something to do something that was productive," she said.

-- Kim Bell at 8:15 a.m.


Our earlier story:

Clean up, calm Monday morning after violent night in Ferguson

FERGUSON  • A calmer dawn broke Monday morning after a night of protest and looting in Ferguson left broken glass and at least one burned-out building.

Officer Brian Schellman of the St. Louis County police said two officers were injured overnight Sunday — one was hit by a brick and one suffered knee injuries. Police arrested 32 people for theft, assault or burglary.

The protests followed the fatal shooting on Saturday of Michael Brown, 18, by police. Authorities said Sunday that a police officer shot Brown, who was unarmed, after the teen attacked the Ferguson officer. After protests and a vigil earlier in the day, some people broke into stores and looted them, setting fire to a QuikTrip and leaving glass and other debris strewn about.

Schellman said the looting and destruction stopped and the area had quieted a down about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

He said the police helicopter was shot at once or twice, but was not hit. He said the night was a scary situation for even veteran officers.

On the lot of a QuikTrip that was looted and burned Sunday night, some men who said they had been there last night defended the damage as a response to injustice. 

DeAndre Smith, 30, of Ferguson was happy to justify the looting when a reporter asked him about it Monday morning.

"This is exactly what is supposed to be happening when an injustice is happening in your community," he said, adding: "You have kids getting killed for nothing."

Smith, who moved to St. Louis from New York in December, said there could be more to come.

"I don't think it's over honestly," he said. "I just think they got a taste of what fighting back means."

Karl McCarty, 39, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, watched the chaos Sunday night and was back again Monday. He said he had a message for the young men leading the charge:

"Let it go, let justice prevail. And if doesn't prevail in the way they want, don't do this again."

McCarty said as a black man he sympathizes with the mother of Brown greatly, but thinks the protest becoming violent and destructive was all wrong.

"Sometime we create our own demise. You didn't hurt Ferguson police, you hurt yourself," said McCarty, who is a contractor in St. Louis.

"My heart goes out to her," he said of the dead teen's mother. "At a time we could have been grieving or supporting her, I feel we failed her. Instead of having a nice, simple vigil, it turned into chaos confusion and destruction."

Others also showed up to express dismay at the looting or help clean up.

Leonette Hilliard, who works as a middle school English teacher, stopped by the QuikTrip. Using one of her school folders, she wrote a note to the store and taped it to the side wall.

"Corporate neighbor: I am sorry this act of robbery and violence has happened. Please return soon."

The note was taped over graffiti saying "187 county police," the 187 a slang reference to murder.

She said she comes to the store to two or three times per week and has been doing so for about 15 years.

"This just doesn't represent who we are as a community and I wanted just to say something to do something that was productive," she said.

Pamela Richardson, 51, of Jennings, came to Ferguson on Monday morning and started picking up trash left by the looters at the QuikTrip store. A bit of smoke was still coming from the burned-out building. She rounded up beer cans and discarded Powerball tickets and crushed soda cans from the lot.

"It sends the wrong kind of message," she said of the looters. "Don't destroy other people's property that they worked hard for because something else has happened. One doesn't outweigh the other, you know. No connection between the two."

Workers at an AutoZone swept up broken glass from the windows that were shattered and workers at a nearby cellphone store waited on a company to board up the front plate glass window.

The glass walls of a metro bus stop were broken, and trash was strewn up and down the road.

The NAACP released a statement Monday morning saying state and local branches would seek answers about the shooting of Brown and the national office would monitor the situation.

"The death of yet another African-American at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the community where he lived is heartbreaking," NAACP president Cornell Williams Brooks said in the statement. "Michael Brown was preparing to begin college, and now his family is preparing to bury their child — his life cut short in a tragic encounter with the police."

The group called for calm collective action.

"Even as we call for accountability by those charged with protecting the community, we call on the community to act —collectively and calmly until we secure justice for the family of Michael Brown," the statement said. 

Click here for our earlier story.