Battlefield USA: Riots in Ferguson Hit Fever Pitch
It was a battlefield on the streets of America as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets during a violent night in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Some in the crowd hurled Molotov cocktails back at the cops.
Watch the Segment
Twitter erupted over the chaos with 1.6 million tweets. The protest was even streamed live on the internet by a local radio station using a night vision camera.
It happened on the fourth straight night of racial unrest over the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer.
"Baghdad USA" said the headline on The Huffington Post website as President Obama spoke about the violence Thursday afternoon from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.
The president said, "There is never an excuse for violence against police or against those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests."
Local police have refused to identify the officer who shot the teenager until a full investigation is completed. They say they are worried about threats against his life. But the hacker group Anonymous, whose members wear masks straight out of the movie V for Vendetta, released photos of the cop.
INSIDE EDITION asked a spokesman for Anonymous, who would speak to us only through emails, whether the group was putting the officer's life in jeopardy, saying, "To the people who say that releasing the officer's info puts his life in danger, he's already taken one innocent life, that's the least he deserves."
Police Chief Thomas Jackson said at a press conference, "I guess Anonymous put out a name this morning, Brian something, that is not the name. I haven't seen anything else."
There's also growing controversy over an angry confrontation caught on video by a reporter covering the unrest. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery shot cell-phone video of a cop in full SWAT gear ordering him to clear out of a McDonald’s restaurant near the riot scene.
Lowery was arrested, along with a Huffington Post reporter who tweeted a photo of cops inside the McDonald’s.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough condemned the Washington Post reporter, saying, “Next time a police officer you have got to move along because you have riots outside, you should probably move along. Maybe I am in the minority."
But the reporter fired right back in a live phone interview on CNN saying, “I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he's sitting there sipping his Starbucks, smugly. I invite him to come down here to talk to the residents of Ferguson, where I have been.”
Despite the events of the last several days, Ferguson typically is a not a violent town. The crime rate for a neighboring community is three times as high.