Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who Burned Michael Brown Memorial? Questions Spark New Ferguson Unrest

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who Burned Michael Brown Memorial? Questions Spark New Ferguson Unrest

Article excerpt

Fresh unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday night shows that the embers of the month-old unrest surrounding Michael Brown's death can be kindled by even tiny sparks.

Detectives are investigating how a makeshift memorial to Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9., burned early Tuesday morning. The memorial, which is one of two near where Brown died on Canfield Drive, included mementos and small candles that may have caused the fire.

But some in the area suggested that it's "naive" to think the fire was accidental, and about 200 protesters rallied to West Florissant Avenue again Tuesday, squaring off with police and looting for the third time a store called Beauty Town. There were media reports of looters yelling "Burn it down!" and of gun shots in the area near Canfield Drive. Police made five arrests.

The new unrest and arrests come as Ferguson continues to try to deal with the emotions and issues that surfaced after Brown's death.

A grand jury continues to meet to decide whether Mr. Wilson should face criminal charges for the death of Brown. Last week, Wilson testified for four hours about his role in Brown's death, even as a new video showed witnesses to the shooting appearing perplexed that Wilson fired at Brown. One man called out to police that, "He had his [expletive] hands up!"

Residents have from the first day alleged that Brown was shot after giving up and holding his hands up, but Wilson's supporters have suggested that Brown, who was larger than the officer, punched Wilson, ran away, and then turned around to bull-rush the officer.

The Department of Justice is investigating both Brown's death and the Ferguson police department over allegations that it violated some residents' rights by historically over-policing poor blacks.

Meanwhile, the Ferguson City Council on Tuesday moved to reform a court system that has generated city revenue by targeting poorer residents for fines. …

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