FERGUSON –– Police in the American state of Missouri say they have arrested 32 people, as calm returned after a night of rioting.
Unrest broke out yesterday over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson. People looted shops, vandalized cars and stores, and set a building alight, as police tried to block off access to several areas of the city.
Police say Michael Brown, 18, was shot on Saturday afternoon in the mainly black suburb of St Louis.
He was shot several times after a struggle in a police car, they said.
Today, dozens of residents marched through the streets demanding justice.
As residents began the task of cleaning up, some said they believed the violence was not over.
DeAndre Smith, 30, of Ferguson told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that the rioting reflected a sense of injustice in the community.
“I don’t think it’s over. Honestly,” he said. “I just think they got a taste of what fighting back means.”
St Louis County police say the FBI had now taken over the investigation into Brown’s death. The rioting erupted late yesterday after thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil for the slain man.
County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred after the officer encountered two men, including Brown, on a street in Ferguson.
Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began. At least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car, Belmar said.
But authorities say they are still trying to clarify exactly what happened inside the vehicle.
The officer involved has been with the Ferguson police department for six years, and has been placed on paid administrative leave, Belmar said.
Mayor James Knowles said he understood that people “want to vent their frustrations. We understand they want to speak out”, but he added: “We’re going to obviously try to urge calm.”
Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden said her son had graduated from high school and planned to go to a local college.
The killing has drawn comparisons by some civil rights leaders with the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighbourhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.
“We’re outraged because yet again a young African American man has been killed by law enforcement,” said John
Gaskin, of the civil rights group NAACP.
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