St. Louis County Police say officers have used smoke and pepper spray to disperse crowds near the Ferguson Police Department after some protesters smashed the windows of a police car and threw rocks and other items at authorities.
Several gunshots have also been heard on the streets of Ferguson after the announcement that a white police officer will not be indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.
As St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch read his statement on a grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, a crowd gathered around a car from which his news conference was being broadcast on a stereo. Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, sat atop the vehicle.
When the decision was announced, McSpadden burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.
Soon afterward, Michael Brown's family issued this statement:
"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.
Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.
Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."
About 15 minutes later, county police used a bullhorn to tell crowds outside the Ferguson Police Department to disperse, saying it had become an unlawful assembly.
The crowd converged on a barricade where police in riot gear stood along the street. They pushed the barricade down and began pelting police with items, including a bullhorn. Some chanted "murderer." Gunshots were heard down the street and somebody threw a water bottle that bounced off a police shield.
Some in the crowd reportedly tried to stop others from taking part in vandalism and other violent reactions.