A night of chaos, arson and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri was replaced by simmering tension Tuesday as authorities prepared for a second night of protest in the city. Amid the relative calm that followed overnight mayhem, scattered rallies persisted, with community members continuing to protest a grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white policy officer, for the Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
About 100 demonstrators, including many clergy members, took to the streets of the St. Louis suburb just hours after overnight clashes had left areas scarred by arson. Demonstrators observed a 4 1/2-minute moment of silence to mark the 4 1/2 hours that Brown's body remained on a Ferguson street before it was removed.
Volunteers in Ferguson also gathered with brooms, drills and other tools to sweep up broken glass and help shop owners board up their stores. A local Mexican restaurant handed out free tacos to volunteers. A large police presence persisted along West Florissant Avenue, where they had blocked off a four or five block area as a crime scene.
The scene in Ferguson looked very different from the previous night, when the grand jury decision was first delivered. Following the announcement, a crowd near the Ferguson police station erupted in anger, converging on a barricade where police in riot gear were standing. They pushed down the barriers and began pelting police with items, including a bullhorn. The windows of a police car were smashed and protesters tried to topple it before it was set on fire. Police later confirmed they used tear gas in response.
More than 80 people were arrested in the chaos, the majority of whom were held on suspicion of trespassing and burglary. Fourteen people were injured in the protests and a dozen or more shops set fire to. In the chaos of the night, police also found the body of a man in his 20s inside a Pontiac car with its windows shot out. It is not known if his death was directly connected to the night’s unrest.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told local press on Tuesday morning he thought the clashes were "unfortunate."
“I think the unfortunate part about it is what that violence does. It not only puts a black eye on our community, but it sets back the cause of social justice,” he said.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson assured reporters during a Tuesday press conference that they would "see a large police presence tonight," as local law enforcement attempts to quell the unrest that had been unleashed the night before. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon later announced that additional members of the National Guard had been called to Ferguson to provide security at the Ferguson Police Department.