On a small hill overlooking an area of Ferguson where rioters ravaged stores Sunday night, a crowd of youths stared down police and reveled in the confrontation late Monday.
Little could be seen of what lay at the bottom of the hill, where bright police lights blinded out the source of the tear gas that riot officers were tossing at the young men and women.
"Hands up, don't shoot," the protesters chanted, inching closer to the barely visible police line. One man drifted several dozen feet closer with his arms up, lifting his shirt and spinning around as if to say: Look, no gun. Then an older woman in a dust mask spotted him and shouted, "Get your ass back here!"
When a Los Angeles Times reporter would interview one of the young demonstrators, the message was often the same, give or take a profanity: They wanted respect from the police. And they didn't want to become another Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man shot to death by police on Saturday.
Then they would go back to shouting at the police.
"These are the next kids to get shot, right here," said Troy Woods, 48, of St. Louis, gesturing at the demonstrators -- "16, 17, 18 years old. ... They treat us like second class all the way down the line."
Ricky Jones, 34, shouted his grievances. "Insurance is high, gas is high, but that's not why I get mad," he said. "At the end of the day, when I'm driving home, they ask me to pull over and get out of the car. No 'license and registration, please.' Get out of the car. Lay on the ground. Put your hands on your head."
And whenever the next young black man gets killed by police, like Brown, he says, "it doesn't even matter what the story is." The outcome, he says, is basically the same.
Regina Woods, 43, watched the action from inside her car as police pushed the demonstrators farther and farther up the hill with tear gas and noisemakers.
"I came out to monitor our youth in their peaceful demonstration," she said, nodding to a group of shouting protesters. A few minutes earlier, some of them had started throwing stones at police.
Just then, another tear gas canister landed on top of the hill. She fled, along with many of the other onlookers.
Moments later, police took the hill. No gunfire had been heard.
REACTION TO A YOUNG MAN'S DEATH
Michael Brown, 18, was shot to death in Ferguson, a mostly black St Louis suburb, on Saturday afternoon after what police said was a struggle with a gun in a police car. The FBI has opened a probe into the racially charged case.
Brown's family has hired Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot to death by a community watch volunteer in 2012.
Police in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse a crowd estimated in the hundreds gathered near a building that burned during Sunday night's rioting, he said.
Fire trucks, ambulances and more officers converged on the area in a chaotic scene. One officer in riot gear stood behind a squad car in a standoff with a group of young demonstrators.
Emergency services said they had responded to reports of a stabbing and a shooting, but had not confirmed such incidents and emergency workers were told later to pull back from the area.
A witness in the case told local media Brown had raised his arms to police to show he was unarmed before being killed.
"He just graduated and was on his way to college," said Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, speaking through tears at a news conference. She said her first-born son's first day back at school would have been Monday.
"We can't even celebrate," she said.
The FBI opened a federal inquiry into the case intended to supplement the main investigation by St. Louis County police, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
It was not immediately clear from police why Brown was in the police car. At least one shot was fired during the struggle, and then the officer fired more shots before leaving the car, police said.
OFFICER NOT IDENTIFIED
The officer, who was not identified, is a six-year veteran and has been put on administrative leave, police said. The officer's race has not been disclosed.
Dorian Johnson told television station KMOV that he and Brown had been walking when an officer confronted them, drew a weapon and shot. Johnson said that Brown put his hands in the air and started to get down, but the officer kept shooting.
Jackson said there was plenty of physical evidence and witness testimony. "I really believe we can get to the truth of what happened here," he said.
Demonstrations to call for justice for Brown turned violent Sunday night. Crowds broke the windows of cars and stores, set a building on fire and looted shops. At least two dozen businesses were damaged, 32 people were arrested, and two officers injured.
"I think it is crazy. It's nonsense. What does it bring back? It's not going to bring the man back," said Adrian Brewer, 30, an African American from a city near Ferguson.
Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered earlier on Monday at the town's police station to demand that the officer responsible for Brown's death face murder charges. Police arrested up to 15 people during that mostly peaceful demonstration.
On Monday night, demonstrators driven out by tear gas gathered at the station, chanting "hands up, don't shoot."
Brown's mother said her son had been planning to study heating and air conditioning repair at a technical college.
Michael Brown Sr., the teen's father, told reporters his son was "silly" and "could make you laugh."
"We need justice for our son," he said.
Three of the Ferguson Police Department's 53 members are black, Jackson said. About two-thirds of Ferguson's population of about 21,000 are black, according to U.S. Census figures.
Ferguson's median household income is $37,517, less than the Missouri average of $47,333.
Most of the communities around Ferguson have gone from white to mostly black in the last 40 years, said Terry Jones, political science professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis.
"There's a long history of racial injustice," said Jones. "Slowly and not so surely, the St. Louis metropolitan area has been trying to figure out a way forward. As the Michael Brown shooting indicates, there are often setbacks."Copyright © 2015, CT Now