Ferguson Protesters Burn Buildings & Riot With Guns After Grand Jury Decision

A night of rioting, violent protests, and arson erupted in Ferguson last night after the grand jury announced its decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing teenager Michael Brown in August. Although many people expected unrest in the city, few could predict how out of control it got. At least a dozen buildings and two police cars were reportedly set on fire, at least 150 gunshots were reported, a police officer was shot but not seriously hurt, and one woman was reportedly accidentally killed -- in what St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar is calling a night that was "worse than the worst night we had in August."

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Police say demonstrators taunted them, broke windows, set businesses on fire, and vandalized and looted businesses. Despite Brown's father's plea -- which was echoed by President Obama Monday night -- asking protesters to turn the grand jury's decision into something positive rather than use it as an excuse to hurt others and destroy property, random gunshots were heard throughout the night. A Walgreens store, Family Dollar store, and Autozone store were all reportedly looted, and a local beauty shop and Little Caesars pizzeria were among businesses set on fire.

Police in riot gear reportedly used tear gas, pepper spray, and bean bags to break up crowds of about 300 protesters. Cops arrested 29 people and managed to disperse the crowd by about midnight.

More from The Stir: Ferguson Decision Reached: No Charges Will Be Filed for Michael Brown's Death

Few injuries have been reported in the aftermath of the riots, but one woman reportedly accidentally killed herself with a gun that her boyfriend says she purchased to protect herself from rioters. Becca Campbell, 26, reportedly shot herself in the head while waving the gun around as she was riding in a car with her boyfriend.

The man told police she was joking as she waved it around, saying they were ready for Ferguson, and that she pointed it at him and he swerved the car to get away. In the process, he rear-ended another car, which caused the gun to go off and shoot Campbell. She was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Across the nation, other large, but more peaceful protests took place Monday night. Activists in Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Washington, DC, and Oakland, California, took to the streets to march, wave signs, and chant, "Hands up, don't shoot."

Some protesters blocked traffic in Oakland and St. Louis, and five people were arrested in Seattle for throwing canned food, bottles, and rocks. In Los Angeles, 100 police officers in riot gear reportedly fired hard foam projectiles into the crowd to disperse 50 people whom they say stood and lay in the center of Interstate 110. Few other arrests or acts of violence were reported throughout the night in these cities.

What is your opinion on the riots and protests that took place after the Ferguson grand jury reached its decision?

 

Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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