African-American teen Michael Brown was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot dead by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting happened in the St. Louis suburb at 2 p.m. on August 9. As a result, there have been mass protests across St. Louis, rioting, looting as well as calls for a full investigation into the actions of the as-yet unidentified cop.
Here’s what you need to know about an American tragedy:
1. Brown Was Shot 8 Times
According to reports, the incident began when the cop encountered Brown, 18, and a friend on the street. A scuffle ensued that resulted in the cop fleeing for his car. As he fled, he turned and fired on Brown from about 35 away. Witness statements said that Brown had his hands in the air as he was shot. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said that her son was shot eight times.
2. The Cop Has Been Suspended
— Khaled Bey (@KhaledBeydoun) August 11, 2014
The cop at the center of the shooting has been placed on administrative leave by the Ferguson Police Chief, Tom Jackson. His identity will be released within by noon on August 12. Protesters have demanded that officer be fired and charged with Brown’s death. The St. Louis Dispatch reports that activists in the area want the police force to reflect “racial demographic of the largely African American community.”
3. The FBI Has Opened a Civil Rights Investigation Into the Shooting
The Associated Press reported on the afternoon of August 11 that the FBI were launching an investigation into the case, independent to the Ferguson PD’s inquiry. The feds are trying to determine whether or not Brown’s civil rights were violated in the shooting. FBI spokeswoman Cheryl Mimura, who works in the St. Louis field office, told the media that the feds are working with the St. Louis County police in the case. She added that the FBI would be investigating the case regardless of the media attention it had generated.
4. There Has Been Mass Looting Since Brown’s Death
Throughout the night of August 10, a little of 24 hours after Brown’s death, the city of Ferguson burned as looters and rioters gained control of the town. Cops were forced to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. The Ferguson PD had to use auxiliary units from surrounding towns to help them fight the looters. There were reports of shots fired amid the chaos. The looting even spread to the neighboring town of Dellwood.
5. Brown’s Family Will Be Represented by Trayvon Martin’s Family Lawyer
As the rioting and looting continued in Ferguson on August 10, Benjamin Crump, the lawyer famous for representing the family of Trayvon Martin, announced he would represent the Brown family. The St. Louis Dispatch reports that Crump had been hired by the Brown family. At the same time, Attorney General Eric Holder asked civil rights lawyers within the Justice Department to look into the case.