Racial tensions flared across America on Sunday night as violence erupted sporadically in various cities to coincide with the sixth anniversary of Michael Brown’s 2014 death.
In Chicago, looters trashed Magnificent Mile, pillaging stores and leaving smashed glass everywhere, hours after a stand-off between cops and civilians in a neighborhood where a suspect was shot and wounded by the police.
The man has not been named but he was shot after opening fire on police who had been called to the city’s South Side by concerned residents who reported a man with a gun. The suspect tried to flee and shot officers as he ran, prompting them to return fire. He is in a stable condition in the hospital.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the incident was misconstrued to local residents, who were told that police had shot and wounded a child.
That false information triggered an angry crowd to gather in the neighborhood. It’s unclear whether the Magnificent Mile looters had anything to do with the incident, but they trashed stores later in the night.
There was continued unrest in Portland, Oregon, where protesters have been standing their ground for 74 days now and where a riot has officially been declared because of the relentless chaos.
In Ferguson, Missouri – where Brown, 18, was shot dead by police in 2014 – there were mostly peaceful protests and memorial services in his honor but as the night wore on, looters pillaged stores.
CHICAGO: Stores along Magnificent Mile in Chicago were hit by a wave of looting last night with shop fronts devastated, like this City Sports store which looters tried to storm the front of, after a day of tense stand-offs between police and protesters
Chicago Police were also forced to deal with vandalism across the city as cars were targeted as well as store frontsLooters smash up buildings as police arrive at scene of protests
In Portland, officers forced a couple of hundred demonstrators away from the Police Authority Association building after they marched towards it from a block only a few blocks away.
Fencing was used the block the road and flames could be seen roaring from dumpsters left in the middle of the street.
Federal officers started withdrawing from the city last week after long negotiations between the Trump administration and local officials.
Now, state police are in charge of the situation.
On Saturday evening three officers were injured, with two being taken to hospital, as they attempted to disperse the crowd of demonstrators outside the union building. Nine people were arrested. On Friday, 24 were taken into custody.
In Seattle, there were clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and The Proud Boys – an alt-right organization who are often referred to as neo-fascists.
Seattle also witnessed further violence yesterday as alleged Proud Boy members got into a violent clash with Black Lives Matter supporters in Seattle during a pro-police rally.
Thousands of pro-police supporters donned blue and American patriotic colors as the massive crowd of demonstrators wrapped around city hall for a ‘Back the Blue’ rally.
The pro-police group was gathered outside Seattle City Hall ahead of today’s City Council vote that is expected to defund parts of the police department.
Pro-police protesters were soon met with a group of anti-racism, Black Lives Matter supporters who arrived to counter-protest.
The situation turned violent when a number of alleged Proud Boys marched through the group of anti-racism protesters.
Proud Boys is a far-right group that focuses on ‘Western Values’ while having a history of misogyny, transphobia, islamophobia and white supremacy.
SEATTLE: In Seattle, groups of pro-police and anti-racism demonstraters both made their voices heard ahead of the city hall’s decision over the police department being defunded
Some of the anti-racism protesters reportedly followed the alleged Proud Boys and a skirmish broke out.
Members of each group threw punches and fought on the concrete street as witnesses stood nearby.
KOMO News reports that at least one counter-protester was pepper sprayed by an alleged Proud Boys member.
Later today Seattle City Council is expected to make a vote on defunding the local police department +20
Later today Seattle City Council is expected to make a vote on defunding the local police department
Meanwhile riot police in Ferguson, Missouri have beaten back and pepper sprayed crowds of protesters who were commemorating the sixth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, hurling themselves into the throng with batons and guns drawn, and making a series of arrests.
‘You don’t need that gun!’ one protester yelled, as a police officer charged into the crowd gathered outside the police headquarters, pointing his weapon at the demonstrators.
Ugly scenes unfolded as protesters were wrestled to the floor and arrested.
The chaos on Sunday night was captured in a video posted on Twitter by journalist Chuck Modi.
In Phoenix, Arizona, at least eight people were arrested on Sunday and police fired what appeared to be flash-bang grenades over a few dozen people who had gathered to pay tribute.
Shortly after 7pm, protesters pushed down and walked past the barricade in front of the Phoenix Police Department headquarters, AZ Central reported.
Police wearing riot gear and holding weapons came out and pushed protesters back to the street, fired what appeared to be flash-bang grenades into the air and fired pepper spray directly at a protester.
The day of memorial had begun peacefully, with Michael Brown Sr releasing a pink dove to mark the anniversary.
His black teenage son, Michael Brown Jr, was shot and killed on August 9, 2014, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson.
Brown’s death sparked weeks of protests and riots in Ferguson and across the United States.
The 18-year-old’s killing became a flashpoint in race relations, and the Black Lives Matter movement was formed in part by a group of activists who were based in or traveled to the Missouri city to protest.
Wilson, who resigned in November 2014, was never charged with any offense, after a grand jury and the Department of Justice both found insufficient evidence to charge him.
The Brown family filed an unlawful death suit against the city of Ferguson in 2015, which was settled two years later for $1.5 million.
At the end of July the senior prosecutor for St Louis County announced that he too would not be pressing charges.
Wesley Bell, St Louis County’s first black prosecutor, had announced he would reopen the case after he took office in January 2019.
Bell quietly launched a review of the case earlier this year – but the family’s hopes for justice were crushed when he said that he will not be pressing charges against Wilson.
‘Can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred? The answer to that is no,’ Bell said at a news conference.
‘My heart breaks’ for Michael’s parents, he added.
‘I know this is not the result they were looking for and that their pain will continue forever.’ Flowers were strewn on the road in Ferguson on Sunday, in tribute to the teenager.
A memorial was held at Canfield Green Apartments, where Brown was gunned down, with guest speakers and performances.
Brown was shot walking through the complex where he was living with his grandmother. Hundreds of residents saw his body lie for four hours in the street under the hot August sun.
There was a four-minute moment of silence to symbolize the hours Brown’s body was left in the middle of the street.
Later, a ‘Black Celebrities and Chosen Fathers’ virtual town hall discussed police brutality, community violence and systemic racism.
Michael Brown Sr., Rev. Al Sharpton, activist Shaun King, Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper and reality TV star Porsha Williams were among speakers set to attend.
The day before, Brown Sr had traveled to Kentucky to address a rally demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, and said he was ‘dying inside’.
‘I can only imagine what the family goes through every day when they wake up not seeing those smiles. No talk. No hugs,’ Brown Sr. said at the rally, while standing in front of a two-story mural of Taylor in Louisville’s West End.
Taylor, 26, was killed on March 13 by Louisville police, who fired at her inside her own home after midnight, while she was in bed.
‘Those things will definitely kill you from the inside out,’ he added.
‘We might look OK in the face, but we dying in the inside.’