Peaceful Protest for Mike Brown Before Riot Police and Looting Takes Over

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"A police officer got a paid vacation for killing a teenager," said protester Randy Corthans. "He shot the man and walked up to him and shot him again while [Brown's] hands were up. He didn't have no kind of gun or nothing, but the police were still shooting. And for what? Whatever they say he stole, even if he did, it's petty. Ain't worth it."

"Ain't worth nine bullets," protester Christoper Johnson chimed in. Pointing to the police forming the barricade, he added: "They got their riot shields and everything, but we just want our peace, man. We just want our peace."

Rumors have circulated that Brown stole an item from a nearby convenience store, but the owner of that store says no such thing happened.

As the night wore on, the protest would give way to looting with some demonstrators pillaging a nearby Quik Trip convenience store and setting it ablaze. There were also rumors of another shooting. Loud "pops" were heard near the protest area, but it's unclear if they were gun shots.

(Update, 12:20 p.m.: St. Louis County Police confirm that shots were fired by rioters during the frenzy, but no one was hurt. Thirty-two people were arrested on charges including theft and burglary.)

Directly across from where an entire street of police and police vehicles were standing, a cell phone store and a beauty shop were looted. People broke the glass with chunks of cement and several more ran inside.

The protester with the megaphone noticed the looting and walked over to the scene.

"This does not help!" he yelled with the megaphone. "Stop this shit now!"

A TV news crew was filming the looting and the megaphone man, frustrated, shouted at them, too -- without the megaphone.

"Don't film what's going on over there," he told them. "Film what's going on over here," and pointed to the police.

At approximately 11 p.m., police surrounded a W. Florissant Rd. pawn shop down the street from the main area of the protest, which had almost completely died down. An officer had his gun drawn towards the alley. Police dogs were brought in. Ferguson residents were hanging out in the area, some of whom taunted the police by singing along to the Lil' Boosie song, "Fuck Da Police," which was blasted from a car stereo.

click to enlarge Police form a barricade. - Ray Downs
Ray Downs
Police form a barricade.

The police decided to clear the area. Although only a few dozen people were in the area, an equal number of camouflage-clad cops in full riot gear lined up.

"They're coming!" somebody yelled.

With military-like coordination, the police shouted in unison "Move back! Move back!" as they marched down the street, clearing the area. People ran or got into their cars to drive away.

Here's a video of the police forcing Daily RFT to leave the scene:

Further down Florissant, several young people -- possibly teenagers -- ran across the street to a T-Mobile store in the Target shopping center. Glass was broken and more looting took place. Cops were all around: The Target parking lot was used as a staging area for the police. But they didn't move in until most of the looters had already left.

Two young men stood on a sidewalk, taking in all the commotion.

"They're not doing it smart. We're supposed to be down at the courthouse or downtown protesting with signs out there," one of the men said. "But it's not everybody that's doing this. There's some people doing it the right way. So when you all see this, just don't jump and make a decision. There's some real people out here that's trying to do it the right way. And there's some other people taking advantage and doing it wrong. There's really good people out here."

For more about Michael Brown, read our interview with his family.

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E-mail him at [email protected].

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