Violent protests erupted throughout the St Louis area Monday night, following the news that a grand jury did not indict the police officer involved in a well-known case from Ferguson, Missouri. Back in August, the police officer in question got into an altercation with and shot and killed an 18 year-old black man. Protesters flocked to the streets to protest the lack of an indictment, which they describe as an “injustice.” Overnight the protests led to 80 arrests–61 of those were burglary and trespassing charges–100 gunshots were fired, and at least 25 buildings were looted and burned. Amid the continuous violent riots, the protesters try to assure others, “we are not your enemy. We just want justice.”
But who are the real victims of this “justice” brought by the Ferguson protesters?
Protesters looted electronic stores, stole crossbows from a pawn shop, and burned American flags in full view of many media cameras. A local Panera Bread store was broken into and looted by protesters. But the protesters didn’t stop at looting stores. Soon they sset a local Walgreens and Little Caesar’s on fire. The fear and path of destruction continued as gunfire from automatic weapons erupted from among the protesters. Protesters also set a car dealership on fire, destroying 10 cars. While the protesters claimed to want “justice” for what happened to Michael Brown in August, they effectively destroyed their town and destroyed and stole many innocent people’s property.
The protesters didn’t stick to just destroying property: people were also injured during the riots. An elderly man was carjacked and then run over by Ferguson protesters. A young man was found dead Tuesday morning, his body burned, and his family members believe his death is tied to the protests that rocked the streets the night before.
Many of the citizens reacted negatively to the protesters and their path of destruction. One heroic woman protected a store from being destroyed and looted by protesters. Natalie Dubose is a member of the Ferguson community and a small business owner. On Monday night, her cake shop–which she saved up to buy after selling her cakes in flea markets–was looted and destroyed. She is a single mother and her cake shop is the source of income for her family. She described what happened to her shop as her nightmare come true. But Natalie isn’t going to give up that easily: she plans to continue to bake and fill her holiday orders. There was even a crowdfund created to raise money to help her repair her shop. Other citizens set out to clean the damage left behind the next morning.
The protests have continued through the night and now solidarity protests are erupting throughout the country. In Washington DC, protesters burned an American flag. They later lamented that more people were more outraged by the act of burning the flag than over the lack of justice in the Ferguson grand jury decision. Protesters in New York City blocked traffic, and these kinds of traffic-blocking protests erupted in many major cities across the country, including Detroit, Los Angeles, St Louis, Baltimore, Boston, and Oakland.
So the question must be asked: how are these protests, vandalizings, and looting bringing justice for Mike Brown and his family? Mike Brown’s death involved him and a police officer, so why is that these protesters choose to destroy his former hometown, steal, and burn the livelihood of innocent citizens, all before the holidays. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and the violent riots and acts of injustice to innocent bystanders will not bring the “justice” the Ferguson protesters claim they so desperately want.