Ferguson Residents Angry As Michael Brown Memorial Destroyed By Fire Tuesday Morning



A memorial dedicated to slain teenager Michael Brown was destroyed by a fire Tuesday morning. The memorial, made mostly of teddy bears and homemade signs, had been kept on the side of the street feet from where Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. Another memorial, located in the middle of Canfield Drive at the exact spot where Brown’s slain body laid for four hours, remains intact.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this point. The town’s fire department was called to the scene at 6:45 AM local time to respond to a fire on Canfield Drive. When they arrived, they saw a somewhat large fire where the memorial had once stood. Resident and visitors had added to the memorial over the past few weeks. By the time the fire occurred Tuesday morning, hundreds of stuffed animals, cards, flowers, signs and balloons had become part of the display.

Below is a picture I took weeks ago of the memorial. It had since grown in size.

canfield drive5


Residents in the immediate area are suspicious and feel that the blaze could have been set intentionally. They are also upset that Ferguson police arrived on the scene before firefighters and just stood around the memorial and watched it burn. Piaget Crenshaw, one of the key witnesses to Brown’s shooting who lives on Canfield, shot the following video of the memorial burning and posted it to Facebook.



It is very possible that the fire was accidental. Most evenings, candles were lit and left at both memorials. Reporters on the scene posted pictures showing the remnants of candles in the charred remains. Laura Hettiger of KMOV posted a few tweets from the scene Tuesday morning.




It is totally understandable for area residents to be overly suspicious of the police at this point. Besides the ongoing issues that have been well-documented, even before Brown’s shooting, hundreds of Ferguson residents attended two closed-door meetings with the Department of Justice at a local church Monday evening. The meetings were not open to the media or non-residents and allowed residents to openly discuss their opinions and grievances with the local police department and government. It is possible that some residents feel the fire is retribution for the meetings and the continued civil rights investigation by the DoJ into the town’s police department. Shortly after the fire was put out Tuesday morning, people started rebuilding the memorial.  

At the same time, residents were gathering evidence at the scene to verify if gasoline was used.

A few hours after the blaze was extinguished, a large group of protesters was on the scene. Besides rebuilding the memorial, they were chanting “No justice! No peace” and “we are Mike Brown!” with their hands in the air.


Image courtesy of Riverfront Times

Justin Baragona

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