20 Photos Show Exactly What Happened in Ferguson Last Night

20 Photos Show Exactly What Happened in Ferguson Last Night

FERGUSON, MISSOURI - 8:15 p.m., or shortly thereafter: Michael Brown's family requests a four-and-a-half minute moment of silence after the announcement exonerating Officer Darren Wilson for killing their son. 

That's one minute for each hour his body was left in the street on Aug. 9.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

But it didn't happen. The crowd gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Department reacted instantly. Some were crying, some were shouting, others were standing by in silent disbelief.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, collapsed in tears, screaming: "[The police] don't care about us," while a group of supporters tried to shield her from video cameras.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Within 20 minutes, this normally quiet stretch of South Florissant Road erupted. A group of protesters marched south to confront a line of police officers, shouting, "No justice, no peace, no racist-ass police." They were promptly ordered to disperse — they declined.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Someone threw a rock through the window of a parked cruiser, after which about six people attempted to flip it over.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Then a bottle of lighter fluid came out. Here's what happened next:

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

By the time officers started advancing, a cadre of armored trucks had assembled behind the police line. Riot gear was in full effect, including helmets, shields and prominently displayed shotguns.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Despite this laughable tweet from the St. Louis County Police Department, the cops fired multiple tear gas canisters into the crowd, sending people scampering north on Florissant and up various side streets.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

For at least an hour, demonstrators and the media were trapped within a five-block radius north- and southbound. Police refused to let anyone leave the area.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Some demonstrators vomited from the intensity of the gas. At least one woman was seen experiencing an asthma attack, while another lost consciousness and was carried off by a group of friends.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

A man berating a parked squad of riot officers was told by one cop he "talked too much."

"Oh, I talk to much?" he responded. "Well, you kill black kids too much."

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

The pattern of demonstrators re-entering the street and being fired upon with tear gas continued for another two hours. Throughout that span, a small group of people used rocks to shatter the windows of shops lining the street, despite the protests of many others.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

As this was happening, the parallel thoroughfare of West Florissant Avenue was seeing its own unrest. By the time police started letting demonstrators leave heading north from the station, much of that street was in flames. Traffic was stalled for blocks.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

The devastation on West Florissant was thorough: People were breaking into auto shops and beauty supply stores, making away with various goods and setting buildings on fire.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

"We got some talented arsonists in St. Louis," one man was heard saying sarcastically.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

"You with the media?" a teenager asked us. "Let 'em know that we shut shit the fuck down."

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

According to reports, at least 12 businesses were set ablaze, with 29 arrests made and an unspecified number of storefronts destroyed. 

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Throughout the chaos, police and marginally deployed National Guard troops looked on, blocking traffic on occasion and commandeering a few gas station parking lots.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

Firefighters stemmed the damage wherever they were able.

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

With time, the number of people thinned out significantly. By around 12:30 a.m., stragglers drove up and down the street. Some shouted, "We want justice" and "Mike Brown."

Source: Sebastiano Tomada
Source: Sebastiano Tomada

As dawn crept over Ferguson and its neighboring suburbs, the task of rebuilding after a night filled with tragedy loomed large. And it's not tragic because stores were burned, shops were looted or were people arrested. It's tragic because a cop killed an unarmed teenager and got away with it. 

That's why people are angry. This is the country we live in.