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.
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.
“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: