Ferguson is smouldering on Tuesday after a night of clashes and racially-charged rioting. And the fear is that more violence could follow.
Cars and buildings were set alight in the St. Louis suburb and shops looted on Monday night after a grand jury decided that a white policeman won’t face criminal charges over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
There were disturbances immediately after Michael Brown’s death in August but Monday’s events were described as “much worse” by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.
Condemning the unrest, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said: “I think the unfortunate part about it is what that violence does is it not only puts a black eye on our community but it really sets back the cause of social justice.”
Peaceful protests continued in daylight but nightfall presents most risks of a fresh flare-up despite calls for calm from the slain 18-year-old’s family and President Barack Obama.
“We need to recognise that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation,” Obama said in a late-night statement from the White House.
“The fact is in too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of colour. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country and this is tragic because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.”
Some 61 people were arrested according to police who say rioters fired 150 shots on Monday night but that there were no serious injuries.
With tension still at boiling point over Michael Brown’s death though, more blood could yet be spilled on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.