The St. Louis area was braced for another day of protests Tuesday after a grand jury indicted white police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, sparking a night of violent and racially charged rioting.
About a dozen buildings in Ferguson, Mo., burned overnight and police fired tear gas and flash-bang canisters at protesters. Sixty-one people were arrested, police added.
Among the businesses that were torched were a white-owned beauty shop, a Chicago-style hotdog joint, and German restaurant and a supermarket that employed 55 people, mostly whites.
"It made no sense," said police chief Warner Simmons. "They burned down their own neighborhood. But none of this makes any sense."
Although no serious injuries were reported, Simmons said the rioting Monday night and early Tuesday was "much worse" than disturbances which erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of 18-year-old Brown by Wilson.
Protests also were staged Monday night in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C., over a case that has highlighted long-standing racial tensions not just in predominantly black Ferguson but across the United States.
"No justice, no peace," some of the rioters shouted as they threw rocks and bottles at police.
White protestors, including a coalition of white clergymen, said they were "sorely disappointed" with the indictment. They argued that the grand jury ignored the discredited testimony given by "eyewitnesses" who said Brown had raised his hands in surrender, but shot multiple times in the back by Wilson. Evidence from three autopsies, including those done a federal medical examiner and one hired by the Brown family showed otherwise.
"It figures," said CNN political commentator Sally Kohn. She pointed to how "white people got up in arms at a Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, a few weeks ago -- for apparently no reason whatsoever." White people, she said, don't respect the legal process that appears to be bringing the case to a just conclusion.
But white-power groups said that they would demonstrate outside the courtroom where the trial will be held until charges are dropped against Wilson. "This is a railroading, pure and simple," said Grand Dragon Keno Shunk. "These liberals and the black power structure and their pals in the mainstream media are out to get anyone who sticks up for us whites," he said.
"A grand jury can be made to indict a ham sandwich," Shunk said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice, including the FBI, would investigate whether there was a white conspiracy to burn down property and attack police.
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