Michael Brown memorial catches fire, sparks fire of distrust in Ferguson


Notorious incidents continue to take place even after the burial of Michael Brown. Brown was a young black man who was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, last month in Ferguson, Missouri, an incident that led to protests and civil disorder in the area.

Although the unrest has eventually calmed down, tension has yet again flared in Ferguson on Sept. 23 after a makeshift memorial of Brown caught fire. It isn't clear what caused the fire but the memorial, which stood near the site where Brown was shot six times on Aug. 9, is usually surrounded by burning candles and this may have started the fire, according to chief of the Ferguson Fire Department Steven Rosenthal.

Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that investigations are currently on going as to what caused the fire at the memorial.

"We're all saddened by the fire that was reported at one of the Michael Brown memorials this morning and are trying to obtain as much information as possible to determine what happened," Jackson said.

Some residents, however, believe that the fire was intentional and the police have something to do with it. People also find the fire too big to have been accidentally caused by a burning candle. David Whitt is among the residents who claimed to have smelled gasoline, which some believe may have been used to deliberately start the fire.

"There was no way a candle did this," Whitt said. "That fire was burning too high and too hot."

The fire was spotted early morning, with somebody reporting the incident to 911 at 6:45 a.m. By noon, people brought an array of items to the soot-stained memorial to rebuild it. People laid a blanket, T-shirts, small candles and flowers, but the blaze has apparently sparked a fire of tension in the area.

By evening, several businesses were vandalized including Beauty Town, whose windows were smashed. Protests by a few hundred demonstrators also took place. The next morning was likewise marked with gunshots. Five people were so far arrested for inciting a riot, assault and failure to disperse.

As tension heated up, police said that people threatened police officers, throwing rocks and bottles at them. Two officers were reportedly injured, with one of them hit by a rock below the eye. Jackson said that misinformation about the fire on Brown's memorial initiated some of the violence.

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