Michael Brown memorial burning sparks protests, violence in Ferguson


Angry protesters took to the streets when a fire broke out and destroyed one of two Michael Brown memorials. Some looting also resumed and business windows were said to be busted.

It was not clear how the fire happened. However, it triggered new resentment among the residents who remained doubtful if the investigation on the shooting of Michael Brown is adequately performed.

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old boy, was shot by a white Ferguson police officer identified as Darren Wilson. His death led to several days of protests and unrest in the suburb of Ferguson. Investigations by a state grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice are currently being held.

According to Ferguson resident Meldon Moffitt, the fire started around 6:30am, Tuesday, on Canfield Drive. This is the same street where Brown, who was unarmed, was fatally shot. Sympathizers created two makeshift memorials to mark the spots where he was confronted and eventually shot.

Many of the residents didn't believe in the reports saying that the fire was caused by candles making up part of the memorial display. Some even told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they smelled gasoline.

"That's very disrespectful to burn down a memorial to someone that got killed," said resident Meldon Moffitt. "That's just wrong! The police came here and watched it burn."

The burning incident has saddened Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson as expressed in an emailed statement. He said that the first police officer who arrived on the scene had tried to put out the blaze but was unsuccessful. The Fire Department eventually put out the fire.

The burned memorial is the one erected around a light post. The other one, which was not damaged by fire, is in the middle of Canfield Drive. People had adorned the memorials with crosses, stuffed animals, handmade signs and other items.

"It's the same as if somebody came and desecrated a grave," said Anthony Levine, a resident of Florissant which is another St. Louis suburb. The charred scene made him shook his head in disbelief of what had happened.

Many believed that the police are to be blamed for the blaze. Perhaps they were the same people who insisted on the fact that Brown was shot even when he was trying to surrender with his hands up. Moreover, they are enraged that the suspected officer, Wilson, remains free and is currently on paid administrative leave.

By late morning, the memorial had been rebuilt and it seemed bigger than before. There were fresh teddy bears, new signs, and a blanket.

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