Ferguson Missouri riots: Police use rubber bullets and tear gas as new witness says Michael Brown was shot while ‘backing away with hands up’

As anger over black teenager’s death escalates, Barack Obama has been criticised for staying away on holiday

Police have begun using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets on those protesting the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, as another witness said Michael Brown was backing away with his hands up as an officer repeatedly fired at him.

The situation in the suburb of St Louis has rapidly deteriorated following largely peaceful vigils on Tuesday night, and has led to calls for Barack Obama to cut short his golfing holiday to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Last night some protesters were seen hurling rocks at the heavily-armed and camouflage-wearing police units, while there were reports of young men preparing what appeared to be petrol bombs in a bus shelter.

Angry protests have taken place in Ferguson every night since Saturday, when the 18-year-old was shot to death in what police say was a struggle over a gun in a police car.

A new witness, Tiffany Mitchell, told CNN she was watching when Mr Brown and an officer, who has not been named, were “tussling through the window”.

Ms Mitchell said the officer was pulling the teen in as he struggled to get away, and then “a shot was fired through the window”.

Read more:
Parents demand justice for teenage son who police gunned down
Violence erupts after police shoot second man amid calls for calm
Editorial: Racial equality in America suffers another violent setback


“The kid finally gets away and he starts running. As he runs, the police get out of his vehicle and he follows behind him shooting,” Mitchell said, adding that Brown turned around and put his hands in the air.

“The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete.”

Another witness, Dorian Johnson, has said that Brown was not struggling with the officer and had his hands in the air when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.

Schools in the district around Ferguson have cancelled all classes until Monday, while national figures ranging from the civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton to the President himself have issued statements calling for calm.

Mr Obama was briefed on Wednesday night about the events unfolding in Ferguson by a team that included the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, the White House said.

While it has been said that the President could do more to calm the situation, an official at the White House came in for special criticism for tweeting about a party Mr Obama was attending as another night of unrest got underway in Missouri. The post has since been deleted.

A common theme among protesters has been the “brutality” of the heavily armoured police, who on Wednesday night also arrested two journalists while shutting down a McDonald’s branch from which they were reporting.

 Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson said that the protests represented “an opportunity to fix what’s wrong” with race relations in the town. While around two-thirds of the 21,000 population are black, the vast majority of the 53=strong police force is white.

Meanwhile, police in California were investigating a separate incident of an officer fatally shooting an unarmed 25-year-old black man in Los Angeles.

On social media, groups claiming to be associated with the Anonymous hacker activist group called for nationwide protests and threatened to reveal personal information about Ferguson police officers.

The Ferguson police said there have been attempts to hack their website, which suffered a temporary disruption, and that the cyber-threats prompted their decision not to release the officer's name.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced