In the wake of the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the central tragedy of the case—the death of a young man—has often gone overlooked as the violence and the unrest and the politics have taken center stage.
For a while, this video bucks the trend, as the focus is on the teen’s death and a mother’s grief as she addresses a crowd of protesters near the Ferguson police station. Soon, though, voices from off camera begin shouting for retribution, not justice, chanting “Burn this b**** down.”
Where Brown’s father had called for peaceful protest in the days leading up to the decision, his stepfather, the man in green and white who eventually steps into the frame, clearly does not. He leads the calls for violence and begins building anger in the crowd.
In the moments before Brown’s mother is led away through the chaos, we may just be witnessing this demonstration’s turn from peaceful to destructive.