Skip to main content

Ferguson: Small group of protesters gathers at police station

By Moni Basu, Evan Perez and Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 11:01 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The group congregates outside police headquarters in Ferguson
  • ATF is investigating possible arson at Michael Brown Sr.'s church
  • "We are all on the same page to make our community whole," says State Patrol captain
  • Protesters flip a police car and break windows Tuesday, but damage is less than Monday

Are you there? Please share photos, videos and thoughts with CNN iReport if you can do so safely.

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) -- It was freezing, wet and a busy travel day before a holiday, but a few dozen protesters showed up outside police headquarters in Ferguson on Wednesday night.

Standing underneath a "Seasons Greetings" sign stretching over the road, the demonstrators fired obscenities at National Guard members who stood on watch outside the police department's offices.

The mood was much calmer than the two nights since a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, but still there was tension in the protest.

A one-mile stretch of West Florissant Avenue, the site of previous protests, was closed to cars and pedestrians, with authorities saying the burned out buildings on the route are crime scenes.

One of those buildings is Flood Christian Church, of which Michael Brown Sr. is a member. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is leading the investigation into the fire that destroyed the church, a spokesman said.

Investigators have found that someone broke into the church and the fire began in a foyer near the doors that were breached, the ATF spokesman said.

The church is some distance away from the strip of stores that burned Monday. Other structures nearby were untouched, which is cause for suspicion, the spokesman said.

Also Wednesday, Ferguson police were looking for clues as to who stole an AR-15 that was locked in a rack plucked from a police car that was torched by rioters this week.

"They took the entire rack from the car," St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman said.

Better night but not without ugliness

As Ferguson residents looked around on Wednesday morning, they didn't see the kind of damage inflicted on the city a day earlier.

There were fewer arrests and fewer instances of vandalism Tuesday night than the night before. And while there was plenty of anger among residents, it was channeled in chants and not chaos.

Shop owner: 'We can rebuild' Ferguson
Washington University students march through a student lounge on the St. Louis campus as part of a nationwide walkout on Monday, December 1. Activists called for students to walk out of school and employees to walk off the job nationwide to protest police violence. A grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has prompted demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country. See photos of the unrest in Ferguson. Washington University students march through a student lounge on the St. Louis campus as part of a nationwide walkout on Monday, December 1. Activists called for students to walk out of school and employees to walk off the job nationwide to protest police violence. A grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has prompted demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country. See photos of the unrest in Ferguson.
Ferguson protests across U.S.
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Ferguson protests across U.S. Photos: Ferguson protests across U.S.
Protesters flood streets around the U.S.
Brown's uncle: 'Violence is not the answer'

"We were perhaps not optimistic, but we were at least hopeful we would have a better night," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

There were ugly incidents, though.

Some rowdy protesters flipped over a police cruiser briefly, broke out its windows and set it on fire. Police moved in quickly to snuff it out.

The acrid smell of pepper spray filled the air. Eyes were burning. Throats were scratchy.

Elsewhere, vandals broke windows and trashed businesses. St. Louis County police said protesters hurled bottles of "what appears to be urine" at them.

A car was set ablaze at a parking lot near Michael Brown's memorial -- which still stands where the unarmed teen was killed on August 9 -- but sporadic gunfire in the area stopped officers from responding, Belmar said.

Officers said they seized a Molotov cocktail and made 44 arrests -- far fewer than Monday night, when anger and dismay over a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in Brown's killing led to violence authorities say surpassed the tumult that erupted after the shooting itself.

"A day before, we were kind of on different pages," Missouri State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said. "But what I'm hearing from this community is that we are all on the same page to make our community whole and make sure it stays whole."

Complete coverage of what's happening in Ferguson

Nationwide protests

As in Ferguson, outrage over the grand jury's decision escalated from coast to coast, with protests in at least 130 cities nationwide.

From New York to Los Angeles and dozens of cities in between, protesters flooded the streets to denounce the grand jury's decision. Some demonstrations blocked bridges, tunnels and major highways, but the protests were largely peaceful.

A man kneels in the middle of a street and yells at police before being arrested outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, November 29. Ferguson has struggled to return to normal since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on August 9. The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson prompted new waves of protests in Ferguson and across the country. A man kneels in the middle of a street and yells at police before being arrested outside the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday, November 29. Ferguson has struggled to return to normal since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on August 9. The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson prompted new waves of protests in Ferguson and across the country.
Ferguson reacts to grand jury decision
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Unrest in Ferguson Photos: Unrest in Ferguson
'A watershed moment for a generation'
Protesters burn restaurant a second time
Michael Brown Sr.'s church set on fire

"They have given us no justice! We will give them no peace," protesters chanted as they massed in front of the Underground Atlanta shopping mall.

In the New York area, demonstrators briefly blocked one of the entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel.

"We are on the side of Michael Brown to fight for what is right," the Rev. Al Sharpton said. "We may have lost round one, but the fight is not over."

Darren Wilson speaks out

Meanwhile, in his first interview since the fatal shooting, Wilson maintained that he killed Brown, 18, out of fear for his life during their encounter.

In the interview with ABC News, he said his response had nothing to do with race.

"I know I did my job right," he said.

Repeating what he told the grand jury, Wilson said Brown reached into his police vehicle and grabbed for his gun.

"I just felt the immense power that he had. And then the way I've described it is, it was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That's just how big this man was," Wilson said. "He was very large, very powerful man."

Avoiding a repeat

Back in Ferguson, authorities were determined Tuesday to prevent a repeat of Monday night's violence.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered additional National Guard troops to the area, boosting their numbers from 700 to 2,200.

"We are not your enemy," protesters chanted at officers who stood in full riot gear. "We just want justice."

Cleaning up

Earlier Tuesday, volunteers helped clean up vandalized stores and eateries and boarded up broken windows and doors.

Some residents carried guns and said volunteers were protecting houses on the streets off South Florissant Road.

Armed men carrying semi-automatic rifles paced the roof of Beauty World, a store that was badly damaged in Monday's protests.

Also Tuesday, St. Louis police identified a man who was found shot to death and set on fire.

Belmar told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper that he isn't discounting the possibility that the death was linked to Monday night's violence.

Deandre Joshua, 20, was found behind the wheel of a Pontiac in a parking lot, just down the street from Canfield Green Apartments, near where Brown was killed.

Joshua had been shot in the head, police said. An accelerant was used to set him on fire, but the fire went out on its own, police said. He had burns to his arm, fingers and both legs.

CNN's Moni Basu and Evan Perez reported from Ferguson. CNN's Sara Sidner, Faith Karimi, Jason Hanna and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Follow our complete coverage of the protests and aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 3:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
The grand jury in the case of Michael Brown's shooting heard from witnesses who couldn't be believed at all.
updated 9:12 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Their sons have become symbols of a raging national conversation about police brutality and racial injustice.
updated 6:30 PM EST, Mon December 8, 2014
Charles Barkley -- who once said he doesn't create controversies, he just brings them to our attention -- is at it again.
updated 10:16 AM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
It's the picture we needed to see after a week like this.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Sun November 30, 2014
The resignation comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer for killing Michael Brown.
updated 9:32 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result.
updated 8:00 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Did Officer Wilson shoot Michael Brown dead as he staggered to the ground, hobbled by gunshot wounds? Or, did the 18-year-old aggressively charge at Wilson?
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson said that he's not tormented by that fateful encounter in suburban St. Louis last summer.
News about the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson spread quickly nationwide, spurring spontaneous rallies. See a collection of reactions from across the country.
If you are in Ferguson or have witnessed protests where you live, share your story with CNN. Personal essays and video commentary are also welcome.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Transcripts of testimony that jurors heard considering Michael Brown's death have been released to the public.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Photos of Officer Wilson taken after his altercation with Michael Brown have been released.
updated 7:34 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
His mother ran down the street, tears streaming down her face. His father said he was "devastated."
updated 7:13 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
All eyes and ears were on St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch when he announced there would be no indictment.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
As tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, have bubbled, one official after another has taken the lead, grappling to figure out how to stop it from coming to a boil.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
See images of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
"He was funny, silly. He would make you laugh. He'd bring people back together," his father, Michael Brown Sr., told reporters.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT