But while national coverage has focused on the indisputably counterproductive violence and destruction committed by Ferguson residents during a moment of anguish, videos and photos taken from the scene show local police aggravating the situation as well.
Monday's riots didn't happen in a vacuum. The Los Angeles Times reports that 48 of the department's 53 officers are white, while 65% of Ferguson is black. Racial profiling statistics from the Missouri Attorney General's office reveal the community is subject to disproportionate police action on everything from traffic stops and searches to contraband seizures and arrests.
The conflict on Monday wasn't just about Brown, but also the result of years of racial tension given a sudden shove. Likewise, tweets, videos and images from the scene on the ground demonstrate that the authorities in Ferguson did their part maintaining an atmosphere of mutual hostility.
This video caught by CNN shows a white officer telling Ferguson residents to "bring it, all you fucking animals":
Other tweets by locals demonstrate how Ferguson police resorted to heavy-handed tactics that helped escalate peaceful protests into a full-blown riot:
I saw helicopters, k9 units, and m16s long before I saw signs of looting. Riots are in response to the killing AND police invasion #Ferguson— Rebecca Pierce (@aptly_engineerd) August 11, 2014
Field note: The same riot control tactics that scare people also make them a bit hysterical.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 12, 2014
Says he was walking home, trying to get to his house and cops sprayed him directly in face with gas.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014
— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) August 12, 2014
Police saying no injuries, which is nonsense. Watched one guy - hit with rubber bullets - be carried up W. Florissant by two friends— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014
Now this. Plus noisemakers. Everybody runs. Reminds me of Cairo. pic.twitter.com/wlYijTHT66— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 12, 2014
One video shot by St. Louis alderman Antonio French appears to show him being threatened by armed police:
Others show how the anger in Ferguson stemmed from deeper issues of power and oppression, as opposed to just one incident.
Everyone I've talked to locally describes this as a breaking point, years of tension finally boiling over #Ferguson— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014
Man drives toward police line. "My hands are up don't shoot" pic.twitter.com/WGOskc2ORr— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014
Crowd is singing "fuck the police" in unison. Have been rewarded with more tear gas #Ferguson— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) August 12, 2014
While the media is focusing on the violent actions of Monday night, Ferguson community members have also taken action in peaceful ways that aren't getting nearly as much coverage.
The scene from Ferguson. pic.twitter.com/hASdVTuUvt— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 11, 2014
There's no denying that something turned ugly in Ferguson on Sunday. But what's absolutely clear is the authorities played a role in making that happen, both on the night itself and through years of racially-tinged policing.