POLITICS

Police Officials Condemn Ferguson Protests

WASHINGTON -- Police officials condemned the actions of protesters following a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown.

Speaking at a press conference early Tuesday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that there had been 29 arrests so far and that a dozen buildings had been set on fire in Ferguson, most of which were "total losses."

Belmar said that he was "disappointed in this evening," and that he didn't see a lot of peaceful protests following Monday's grand jury decision.

"What I've seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we had in August," he said, referring to the protests that followed the killing. Even so, he said that some protesters were in the streets Monday evening for "the right reason."

"There are protesters out here who are out here for the right reason. Tonight it just didn't seem that way," he said.

Belmar said that he had personally heard 150 gunshots on Monday, but said not a single one had been fired by police. He added that he believed even 10,000 police wouldn't have been able to prevent the kind of destruction that occurred on Monday.

Missouri Highway Patrol Chief Ron Johnson said that the protests on Monday had hurt the Ferguson community.

"Those are dreams. Those are small business owners. We've torn those dreams away," Johnson said, referring to the numerous businesses that were destroyed on Monday.

"Our community has to take responsibility for what happened tonight," Johnson said. "We definitely have done something here that is gonna impact our community for a long time."

"That's not how we create change," he said.

Additional reporting by Mollie Reilly, Ed Mazza and Andrew Hart.

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