Violent protests and acts of civil disobedience - from car burnings to marches on highways - broke out in several U.S. cities overnight after a grand jury decided against indicting a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
The grand jury's decision was announced by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch more than three months after Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in a sharply disputed encounter in the St. Louis suburb.
Riots, looting, fires and gunshots erupted in Ferguson -- the community first rocked by the Aug. 9 shooting -- shortly after the decision was announced. Protesters hurled bottles at officers near police headquarters, and flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses. St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up unruly crowds.
At least 150 gunshots were fired and a semi-automatic handgun was seized, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference early Tuesday.
Police released records early Tuesday showing 61 people were arrested in Ferguson on charges that included burglary and trespassing, The Associated Press reported. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said early Tuesday that 21 were arrested in the city.
[NATL]Protests Erupt After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
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"I'm disappointed I didn't see more peaceful protests out there," Belmar said. "What I've seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August."
Across the country, reaction ranged from marches that threatened to shut down busy streets to gatherings near national landmarks. Most remained peaceful, officials said.
In California, a large crowd marched through the streets of Oakland, and protesters shut down Interstate 580. A bank window was broken and several people were arrested, The Associated Press reported.
Crowds in Los Angeles blocked traffic and stopped traffic briefly on the 10 Freeway. The USC campus was placed on lockdown as demonstrators marched by.
In Philadelphia, angry protesters took to the streets after the announcement, chanting "No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police," and holding both arms in the air. Albeit loud in voice, they remained peaceful in actions as police trailed their march.
A man was arrested after hurling fake blood on NYPD Chief Bill Bratton in New York's Times Square during a demonstration. Hundreds marched from Union Square to Upper Manhattan through traffic-clogged streets, with signs such as "Jail killer cops."
At the Chicago police department's headquarters, several hundred people chanted "This is what democracy looks like," and carried photographs of those they said were killed by officers.
Outside the White House, roughly 300 gathered for a peaceful demonstration, chanting "black lives matter." Some carried signs urging the demilitarization of police.
Officials and lawyers for Brown's family had appealed for calm. At a press conference before the announcement, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had said, "I want people to think with their heads and not with emotion."
"I do not want people in this community to think they have to barricade their doors and take up arms," he said. "We are not that kind of a community."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for protecting lives, property and free speech, but fearful that protests would turn violent -- as sometimes occurred during the tense days after the shooting -- schools closed and shop owners boarded up stores.
The Missouri grand jury considered everything from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter to no charge against Wilson.