Berkeley, Missouri, did not have a quiet Christmas Eve.
Protests flared into early Thursday in the St. Louis suburb where a white policeman fatally shot black man Antonio Martin after he allegedly brandished a gun at a gas station in on Tuesday night, just miles from the spot in Ferguson where black teen Michael Brown was killed in August.
Reuters reports a group of protesters marched onto Interstate 170 in the city of Berkeley around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, blocking traffic for roughly 45 minutes. The demonstration followed a vigil at the Mobil On the Run gas station where the shooting occurred.
The Washington Post reports, "black public officials in Missouri were at pains on Wednesday to distinguish the death of the suspect, whom they noted was holding a gun, from cases of unarmed black men who had been killed by police officers." The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, sparked weeks of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial biases in the criminal justice system.
"I had the opportunity last evening to review the video of the incident, and what I saw is not what people portray," Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said at a press conference Wednesday, referring to claims by protesters that the incident was similar to the shooting death of Michael Brown in August. "This is not a policeman half-cocked, you know black lives matter — this was not the case (that) you could even compare this with the Ferguson or Garner case."
A video released by the St. Louis County police department shows the suspect brandishing a gun at the police officer in question. "That officer not only has an obligation to protect the community, but he also has a responsibility to protect himself," said State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who is black. "Because of the video, it is more than apparent that his life was in jeopardy."
Demonstrations that drew as many as 150 people were "largely peaceful" throughout the night. Reuters reports that police officers disrupted an attempt by several people to break into a beauty supply shop, and at least two people were taken into police custody.
The St. Louis County police department has announced an investigation into the shooting to determine if there was any wrongdoing on the part of the officer involved, but given the heightened tensions between police departments and black communities around the country, it's likely that protests will continue in the interim.
"He's like any other kid who had dreams or hopes," Toni Martin-Green, Martin's mother, told the Associated Press. "We loved being around him. He'd push a smile out of you."
Correction: Dec. 26, 2014
An earlier version of this article misspelled Antonio Martin's first name.
Editors Note: Mar. 2, 2015
An earlier version of this article failed to cite a passage from The Washington Post in accordance with Mic editorial standards. The article has been updated to properly attribute the language to The Washington Post.