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St. Louis Official: ‘Mood Changed’ After Brown’s Stepfather Called for Riot

St. Louis Official: ‘Mood Changed’ After Brown’s Stepfather Called for Riot

Tuesday afternoon on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Tapper asked St. Louis Alderman Antonio French whether or not Michael Brown’s stepfather played a role in the violence that engulfed the streets of Ferguson in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson.

“I want to get your reaction to the remarks of Michael Brown’s stepfather last night, because that was a very intense and heated moment,” Tapper began. “Look, this is not a problem that was created last night, but I don’t think that what he said, ‘burn this m.f.er down,’ or ‘burn this bitch down’… How do you think that contributed, if at all, to what happened last night?”

“So I was there when that happened,” French explained. “I think he was expressing a sentiment that a lot of folks in that crowd felt. When he said those words, though, the mood did change and things got a little bit out of control.”

“I just think there is such anger and emotion around this topic, around this case, and I think it was an incredibly poor choice to release the announcement late at night, and to presumably do that without coordinating with law enforcement, it just looked like government was not prepared.”

“What happened, what went wrong?” Tapper pressed.

“I’m not sure what went wrong,” French answered. “Even at the press conference just a few hours before I think state officials had said that every contingency had been prepared for, but when I was out there on West Florissant, there were no police, no National Guardsmen, and chaos.”

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter @NussBB

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