Small Business Owners Awake To Losses After A Night Of Ferguson Protests
Fires and looting in Ferguson following the failure of a grand jury to indict Darren Wilson have left some local small business owners with little or nothing this morning.
Police reports state that a Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant, a self-storage facility and a meat market were looted and burned to the ground during the protests last night, which lasted until about midnight.
Other businesses weren’t completely destroyed, but were damaged in the unrest. By late into the evening, smoke and flames from fires set to various businesses around the suburb could be seen.
It’s important to note: Reporters on the ground, even as they covered the sometimes disturbing scene, said that these were isolated incidents; that this wasn’t a wholesale case of citizens taking advantage of a vulnerable situation.
“…Kelly Braun, who runs Marley’s Bar & Grill, stayed open even as she got a phone call saying her building was the next to burn. But police stationed nearby gave her confidence that her business would survive the night,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says 29 people were arrested overnight. (Other reports put the figure at 61.) St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters “there was basically ‘nothing left’ along West Florissant between Solway Avenue and Chambers Road.” Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson lamented the damage, saying that peaceful protest eluded Ferguson, causing an impact on the city that the community will feel “for a long time.” The Post-Dispatch continued, “By midnight, at least ten flights had been diverted from Lambert International Airport because of flight restrictions in the area. A temporary flight restriction was still in effect. Today, Alderman Antonio French, whose headquarters for the community outreach program #HealStL was burned down, retweeted this message.
Of course, buildings and businesses can be rebuilt. More importantly, and a huge relief, there are no reported killings from last night’s activity. (Though there are reports of some gunshot wounds.) Let’s hope for peaceful protests and the first steps towards fairness and a more just system.