Obama decries violence

President Obama sharply rebuked protesters Tuesday night for racially charged violence in Missouri, saying there was no excuse for burning buildings, torching cars and destroying other property.

Obama said destructive actions are criminal acts and those who responsible should be prosecuted. “To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that. I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities,” he said.

Announcement criticized

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s decision to announce the Ferguson grand jury decision in the evening drew complaints Tuesday from many who wondered whether that helped fan the flames of unrest and violence leading to destruction in the St. Louis County town.

McCulloch’s news conference that began just before 8:30 p.m. Monday, during which he disclosed Officer Darren Wilson would not face indictment.

By the time of the announcement, many protesters had already gathered in Ferguson and the decision sparked violent protests that included gunshots and the burning of several businesses and vehicles in the St. Louis area. At least 18 people were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Darnesha Tabor, 20, who lives in Hazelwood, a community near Ferguson, questioned the timing.

“They made the decision to announce the decision later at night when you know things are going to go awry,” Tabor said. “You can’t fully control things at night because it’s dark outside. … I feel like they let a lot of things unfold in Ferguson.”

Holder disappointed

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he was “disappointed” by the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed a grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“It is clear, I think, that acts of violence threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators,” Holder told reporters. “Those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.”

Holder said he was encouraged by some of the peaceful demonstrations in the suburban St. Louis city and by those protesters who discouraged others from rioting, calling them “heroes, in my mind.”

The attorney general said he has instructed his staff to work with leaders of the nonviolent protests to help root out and isolate anyone bent on destruction.

– From news service reports