Prior to the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, businesses in Ferguson, Missouri, tried to prepare for the inevitable looting and rioting that was expected to occur by acknowledging the businesses were "black owned."
Powerful pictures from hours before the announcement of the decision last night spread across social media. Many business owners decided to preemptively board up their windows and doors in anticipation for what many predicted would be violent protests and rioting across the city.
“NOW BOARDED: This is a common sight in #Ferguson,” read a tweet accompanying a picture of a boarded up business. “Business owners say they hate it, but fear they have no choice.”
Business owners even held a press conference prior to the announcement to discuss how they were preparing for the unrest, and in an effort to protect themselves, many tried to show solidarity with the protesters by putting up signs that said, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Some even went so far as to post, “black owned” on their storefronts so that protesters would hopefully avoid damaging their business.
Still, most of the preparation did not help, as many businesses were set on fire Monday night. Shocking pictures show fires across the city, and people can be seen breaking into and stealing from stores that made sure people knew they were “black owned.”
“We knew that if the verdict came against what people wanted it to be, this right here was going to be the outcome,” said restaurant owner Steve Moore to The Wall Street Journal as he watched a nearby Little Caesar’s burn. “I am not surprised. This is going to get even worse.”
Despite best efforts by business owners and residents of Ferguson, the city erupted in chaos after the announcement late Monday night, and as things calm down on Tuesday, many wait to see the true extent of the damage done by angry rioters.