At Vandalized Ferguson Businesses, Anger And Tears | KUOW News and Information

At Vandalized Ferguson Businesses, Anger And Tears

Nov 25, 2014
Originally published on November 25, 2014 8:29 pm

Residents and business owners in Ferguson, Mo., awoke Tuesday morning to assess the damage done to their neighborhoods. In the aftermath of the grand jury's decision Monday night not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, many business were vandalized and some were destroyed.

At a local Quiznos, volunteers from the neighborhood — not one of them an owner or employee — were cleaning up glass from the broken storefront windows. Many said they were in no mood to talk.

"What can you say? I mean, I've lived here 40 years. I love this community and I'm devastated," resident Susan Ankenbrand said.

Ankenbrand says neighbors were assured by the police that precautions had been taken and she doesn't understand how it got this bad. She says she's not sure how Ferguson will move on without being divided.

"I don't know, we've had all these meetings and ... trying to find a way to move forward and how do you move forward from this?" she said. "Besides being so sad, I'm angry."

Ankenbrand is angry at the protesters, and she's got company. A couple of blocks up the street, local bus driver Jerry Lewis, dressed in his Metro uniform, shook his head over the destruction in response to the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson.

"He didn't get indicted, OK? God has a plan for him," Lewis said. "And that's what everybody failed to realize."

Lewis says he feels most sorry for the employees of the businesses who will be out of work during the cleanup.

"What about their Christmas? What about their Thanksgiving?" he said. "What about keeping a roof over their heads?"

And in this particular area, near the site of Monday night's protest in front of the police station, a bunch of businesses were hit — some worse than others.

A Chinese restaurant was broken into; a 2-foot-tall ceramic Buddha lay headless on the floor. A beauty shop was set ablaze and then hosed down. The huge plate glass windows of the local hardware store were broken, as were those of an optometrist's office and a dental office.

"I love our patients. We have black patients, white patients, all kinds of patients," said Marilyn Crider, who manages Ferguson Dental. The office had a full schedule of patients for Tuesday, but she says it's going to be closed, now, until next week. Trails of black mascara streaked her cheeks.

"I've been crying all night; I'm going to cry again," she said. "It's so sad. It's just so sad. You know, these people in Ferguson, they're good people. They didn't deserve this; they didn't do this."

Crider's dental office has been hit twice, once last August and again, Monday night. She keeps the brick from the first time as a memento.

A half-mile down the road, a man dressed in jeans, sneakers and a black Cardinals cap preached from his Bible in front of the burned carcass of a Little Caesars Pizza. To his left, a handful of young women were standing and staring. Asked if they worked there, one replied, "Apparently not anymore."

"We were here last night and ... we left because people were running in the streets and we decided for our safety to leave and then hours later, we had no job," said Rebecca, who didn't want to give her last name because, she said, she knows people who have gotten death threats after talking to the media.

Rebecca said she's in community college and her job at Little Caesars helped pay for school. The man reading his Bible is Tirezz Walker. With tears in his eyes, he said this burned building is the result of decades of racism.

"I'm very emotional right now," Walker said. "I believe that the verdict was wrong and justice is going to be served because God's going to bring forth justice and the people."

Walker says he'll be out with the people, protesting again Tuesday night.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji was out in the community today as residents wondered how they got here again, cleaning up in the aftermath of protest.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: First stop - Quiznos, where volunteers from the neighborhood - not one of them an owner or employee - were cleaning up glass from the broken storefront windows. A couple of the people I approached said they were in no mood to talk.

SUSAN AKENBRAND: What can you say? I mean, I've lived here 40 years. I love this community. And I just - I'm devastated.

MERAJI: Susan Akenbrand says neighbors were assured by the police that precautions had been taken. And she doesn't understand how it got this bad. She says she's not sure how Ferguson will move on without being divided.

AKENBRAND: I don't know. I - we've had all these meetings and trying to find a way to move forward. And how do you move forward from this? I'm just - besides being so sad, I'm angry.

MERAJI: Akenbrand's angry at the protesters, and this morning, she's got company. A couple of blocks up the street, Jerry Lewis, a local bus driver dressed in his Metro uniform, shakes his head over the destruction in response to the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.

JERRY LEWIS: He didn't get indicted. OK. God has a plan for him, you know? And that's what everybody failed to realize.

MERAJI: He says he feels the most sorry for the employees of the businesses who will be out of work during the cleanup.

LEWIS: What about their Christmas? What about their Thanksgiving? What about keeping a roof over their heads?

MERAJI: And in this particular area near the site of the protest in front of the police station, a bunch of businesses were hit - some worse than others. A beauty shop was set ablaze and then hosed down. The huge plate glass windows of the local hardware store were broken - same with an optometrist's office and the dental office.

MARILYN CRIDER: I love our patients. We have black patients, white patients - all kinds of patients.

MERAJI: Marilyn Crider manages Ferguson Dental. They had a full schedule of patients today, but she says they're going to be closed now until next week. Trails of black mascara streaked her cheeks.

CRIDER: I've been crying all night. I'm going to cry again. It's so sad. It's just so sad. You know, these people of Ferguson - they're good people. They didn't deserve this. They didn't do this.

MERAJI: Crider's dental office has been hit twice - once last August and again last night.

CRIDER: That's our brick. We're saving it.

MERAJI: She keeps the brick from the first time as a memento. Half a mile down the road, and man dressed in jeans, sneakers and a black Cardinals cap preaches from his Bible in front of the burnt out carcass of a Little Caesar's pizza. To his left, a handful of young women are standing and staring. I asked if they worked there.

REBECCA: Apparently not anymore - nope. We were here last night, and around seven o'clock we left because people were running in the streets, and we decided for our safety to leave. And then hours later we had no job.

MERAJI: What's your name?

REBECCA: My name's Rebecca.

MERAJI: What's your last name?

REBECCA: I don't feel comfortable with that right now.

MERAJI: Rebecca says she knows people who have gotten death threats after talking to the media, and she wouldn't give me her last name. But she told me she's in community college and her job at Little Caesar's helps pay for school. Shereen Marisol Meraji, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.