Michael Brown's stepfather is being criticized for appearing to incite a crowd of protesters shortly after learning of the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer, in the fatal shooting of his unarmed stepson.
When the grand jury's decision was announced Monday, Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, stood silently on the hood of a car, surrounded by protesters, seemingly letting the news that Wilson would not be charged in her son's killing soak in.
"I have been living here my whole life, I have never had to go through anything like this," McSpadden said. "None of you know me, but I don’t do nothin’ to nobody. Anybody say so, they’re a liar. They’re a damn liar."
McSpadden, overcome with grief, broke down and was comforted by Brown's stepfather, Louis Head, who climbed on top of the car, turned to the crowd and repeatedly shouted, "Burn this b---- down!"
In the hours that followed, Ferguson erupted in violent protests in the wake of the grand jury's decision. Officials said two police cruisers and at least 12 buildings were set on fire, and that hundreds of gunshots were fired during the demonstrations. Eighteen people were injured in the unrest, and at least 61 protesters were arrested.
"I'm disappointed," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters at a 1:30 a.m. press briefing. "I didn't see a whole lot of peaceful protesters out there."
At a press conference in St. Louis on Tuesday, Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump was asked about Head's inflammatory comments.
"Raw emotion," Crump said. "Not appropriate at all. Completely inappropriate."
But Crump told reporters not to judge the family's visceral reaction to the decision.
"Don't condemn them for being human," he said.