Michael Brown’s stepfather consoled the dead teen’s distraught mother after Monday’s controversial grand jury announcement and then turned to the crowd of demonstrators, saying, “Burn this mother f—er down” and “Burn this bitch down,” according to a New York Times video.
The comments by Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, came shortly before an eruption of rage by some protesters over the decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
A row of businesses on West Florissant Avenue, a major thoroughfare in the St. Louis suburb, was engulfed in flames Monday night. Police cars and vehicles at a nearby dealership were turned into fireballs. There were so many blazes that firefighters couldn’t reach every one.
In The New York Times video, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, is visible in the crowd Monday night in Ferguson.
McSpadden speaks to the crowd briefly, saying she has lived in the community her whole life and never experienced anything like this.
“I don’t do nothing to nobody,” she said, crying uncontrollably and placing her hands over her face. Head comforts her before his outburst.
Shouts of “F— the police” can be heard from the crowd.
CNN is trying to reach Head for comment.
At a news conference Tuesday, an attorney for the Brown family, Benjamin Crump, said the video captured the couple’s “desperation and frustration” over the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson.
Crump said videotaped remarks by Michael Brown’s stepfather were inappropriate. But Crump said not to condemn him for being human.
“God forbid your child was killed … and then they get that just devastating announcement in the manner it was announced, and somebody put a camera in your face,” he said. “What would be your immediate reaction?”
The family “understands we all have a responsibility to protect the community,” Crump said.
“Nobody is going to condone violence,” he said.
Ahead of the announcement about the decision, the Brown family had urged people not to react with violence and destruction. Their attorney said the violence that took place on the streets of Ferguson overnight was “completely inappropriate.”
Brown’s parents were expected to speak at Tuesday’s news conference but later decided not to do so.
Crump said Michael Brown Sr. “doesn’t want to misspeak because of such emotions that are going through him that will later be used against him.”