Outrage and tension generated the streets of Ferguson by the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.
The jury decided that no probable cause existed to file charges against Wilson. As a result, businesses were looted, buildings engulfed in flames and police cars torched by anger protesters.
Video of Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouting, “Burn this mother f—cker down! Burn this b-tch down!” into the crowd of protesters and bystanders minutes after the jury’s decision. Because of the upsurge of riots that followed his words, Head faced criminal charges for inciting them.
Contrary to Brown’s parents taking the peaceful route throughout this trial, Head’s words were brought on by pure anger.
Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, was standing right next to Head when he made the comments.
According to CNN, when McSpadden was asked if her husband could be responsible for the fires and rioting, she replied, "That's impossible…These things have been going on since August 9, when it first happened."
Since the shooting, hundreds of people have gathered each evening expressing frustrations of Brown’s death. Dozens have been arrested, many injured by tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets fired by a police force dressed in riot gear and armed with assault rifles.
Reflecting on the severity of the riots on the night of the jury’s decision, St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar said he had personally heard 150 gunshots.
"What I've seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst night we ever had in August, and that's truly unfortunate," said Belmar, referring to the rioting that erupted after Brown was killed Aug. 9.
From a prosecutor's standpoint, proving the cause and effect of Head’s words would be the greatest obstacle.
According to Missouri, statutes forbidding riots:
1) A person commits the crime of rioting if he knowingly assembles with six or more other persons and agrees with such persons to violate any of the criminal laws of this state or of the United States with force or violence, and thereafter, while still so assembled, does violate any of said laws with force or violence.
2) Rioting is a class A misdemeanor.
Law Enforcement Analyst Tom Fuentes believed the prosecution would be improbable because it's likely many people who had gathered in Ferguson as the grand jury's decision was revealed were already determined to act.
"I think they'll have a hard time proving that somebody that heard him in the midst of all that noise actually went over and did an arson or committed an act of starting a fire,” Fuentes said. “I think most of the people you see in the crowd are not watching CNN. They're not watching media reporting of him saying that.”
Head admitted that after the announcement his emotions got the best of him. In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, he expressed remorse for his words.
"I was so angry and full of raw emotions, as so many others were, and granted. I screamed out words that I shouldn't have screamed in the heat of the moment. It was wrong, and I humbly apologize to all of those who read my pain and anger as a true desire for what I want for our community.”