The stepfather of Michael Brown now faces an investigation of his own, following an angry outburst after the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed his unarmed stepson in a Missouri suburb. St. Louis County Police officials told the New York Times on Tuesday that they were investigating whether Louis Head’s comments to protesters on Nov. 24 incited a riot. Head repeatedly said “Burn this b--ch down!”atop the hood of a car to an angry crowd outside the Ferguson police department, just after the grand jury announced its decision.
That night, protesters stormed through Ferguson, looting stores, breaking windows and setting more than a dozen buildings on fire. Authorities are investigating whether Head’s comments that night influenced these violent actions. The investigation is part of a comprehensive analysis into the widespread violence that took place. Police are working to identify the looters and people who damaged property. “The investigation includes multiple arsons, robberies, destruction of properties and larcenies,” officer Shawn McGuire, a St. Louis County Police spokesperson, told the New York Times in an email.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has repeatedly called for his arrest. Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Brown’s family, called Head’s rant inappropriate but asked that the anguished stepfather not be punished, according to USA Today. Democratic Missouri Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who has supported peaceful protests in Ferguson, said an investigation into Head’s comments could make it harder for the community to heal. “I feel like that’s only putting more fuel to the fire,” Nasheed told the New York Times, adding that she did not believe Head had caused the rioting.
Meanwhile, Head told the New York Times he has not heard from the police regarding the investigation. “I’m not worried about nothing,” he reportedly said.
There have been no violent protests in Ferguson this week and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said the National Guard would begin withdrawing troops. As of Tuesday afternoon, the governor said 1,268 Missouri National Guard troops were stationed in the region, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.