President Obama appealed for calm and understanding in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury decided not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, pleading with both residents and police officers to show restraint. "We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make," he said, saying that while he understands some Americans will be "deeply disappointed—even angered," police and communities need to move closer together, and "that won't be done by throwing bottles. That won't be done by smashing car windows. That won't be done by using this as an excuse to vandalize property. It certainly won't be done by hurting anybody."
But scenes playing out in Ferguson just minutes after the grand jury's announcement stood in stark contrast to Obama's calls for calm. Police say protesters smashed windows, vandalized police cars, and threw rocks at authorities as anger erupted after the announcement. There have been reports of looting and arson, and police have fired what they initially said were smoke pellets and what CNN and others say is tear gas. Protesters have also shut down Interstate 44, and other protests are taking place across the country, including in New York, Chicago, and outside the White House.