Chaos in Ferguson, locals worry about race relations here
BATON ROUGE - As parts of suburban St. Louis burned Monday night, advocates in Louisiana said the situation is a learning experience that should force a new conversation about race in America.
Within an hour of the announcement that a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the shooting death of an African American teenager, protests turned violent. Protesters started by throwing things at police in SWAT gear and eventually smashed police cars, raided businesses and set buildings on fire. By midnight, the FAA issued a no-fly-zone over the St. Louis area.
St. Louis County Police said officers used tear gas to disperse crowds.
In Louisiana, a small group of people gathered outside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse Monday evening to protest the grand jury's decision.
Earlier, advocates said the situation in Ferguson could close race relation talks instead of open them.
"I'm sad to think that the (decision) could come down in a way that just continues to perpetuate problems that we are hoping to solve," Dialogue on Race Louisiana CEO Maxine Crump said.
"We really need to sit down, relax and talk about these things and be comfortable to talk about it," Baton Rouge Community College criminal justice professor Paul Guidry said.
"No doubt Ferguson has opened that door up again to say we need to take a step back a little and pause maybe...like a reset button and come back to the table and start talking about the racial issues that we have in our community, especially when it comes to law enforcement and things of that nature," Guidry said.
Baton Rouge Police said there were no added patrols Monday night related to the grand jury's decision.
There were other protests in other major U.S. cities, too.