FBI Investigating Police Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

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Photo: Sid Hastings/AP/Corbis

The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown over the weekend in a St. Louis suburb was being examined by the FBI even before last night's vigil turned into widespread unrest. "We've been reviewing the matter [since Saturday], today we officially opened an investigation into a potential civil rights violation," said a spokesperson for the bureau's local office on Monday, according to NBC News. "Regardless of the media attention or the public's attention to this matter, this is something that we would routinely do." 

Brown was shot multiple times by an as-of-yet-unnamed officer during what St. Louis County police officials said was a "physical altercation," including a struggle for the officer's gun. The black teen was otherwise unarmed, and the details surrounding the confrontation are still unknown.

The burned-out shell of the QuikTrip gas station torched during the violence that erupted. Photo: Sid Hastings/AP/Corbis

On Sunday night, protesters chanted "No justice, no peace" and "Don't shoot me" with their arms raised before clashing with police. At least 32 people were arrested and charged with looting and vandalizing a dozen stores, requiring 300 officers to quell the fighting.

ATM removed and opened at the burned-out QT gas station torched during the violence that erupted overnight. Photo: Sid Hastings/AP/Corbis

"The FBI notified me that they will be opening up a [sic] investigation that will run parallel to this investigation," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar at a news conference today. "The Bureau will take a lot of the information that we have developed already, they'll take that information, they may do their own interviews, they may look at the evidence themselves — it's a parallel or a concurrent investigation."

Protests have continued into Monday, with marchers meeting police in the streets:

Meanwhile, Brown's family has warned against violence in the 18-year-old's name, with a spokesperson telling the local news, "The only thing the family wants is justice."

Update: Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement on the Brown shooting Monday:

“The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri this weekend deserves a fulsome review. In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and US Attorney's Office, have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry. The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right. I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”