Ferguson protests lead to rioting in California and Oakland
America has been gripped by a series of protests in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to prosecute the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown last August.
Violence was reported in the San Francisco Bay area of Oakland last night, with fires in the streets, vandalism and looting.
Earlier in the evening, major freeways near the city were briefly blocked during the rush-hour, and protesters marched with banners and signs through the streets of the downtown area of the city. Over 43 people were later arrested as relative calm turned to unrest.
NBC has reported over 100 arrests in Los Angeles. Protesters threw debris onto the Route 101 Hollywood Freeway, causing motorists trying to avoid the area to flood local streets, causing major disturbance. One LAPD officer was injured when he was struck on the head by a frozen water bottle during the escalating scene.
Protests continued in other parts of the state of California but were mostly peaceful, mirroring those taking place from coast to coast in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle and Washington DC.
In Minneapolis there was brief chaos after a driver collided with a crowd of gathered activists, with one woman receiving minor injuries.
In Missouri, the centre of the tensions arising from the story, both St Louis and Ferguson are still reeling from the disorder and Monday night’s rioting. Extra troops from the National Guard are on patrol in the area as anger and emotion over the case continue to simmer on the streets.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, the officer at the centre of the case, 28-year-old Darren Wilson, said: “The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right.”
He admitted feeling remorse over the devastating outcome of the altercation, but insisted he did not think he could have done anything differently on the day he shot Brown after a fraught standoff.
The parents of Michael Brown believe the US justice system is failing young black people and has failed their son. They confirmed they would be exploring their legal options in the wake of the decision – a verdict described by the family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump as “the definition of insanity”.