Investigators in Ferguson, Mo., are working to identify arsonists and looters in order to potentially bring charges against them. A trail of destruction was last in the city during protests over the killing of Michael Brown last year.
Police are searching for the people responsible for setting over two dozen fires in the wake of a grand jury’s decision in Nov. 2014 not to indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the death of the 18-year-old Brown. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting in the arson investigations.
The looting investigations are being handled by the St. Louis County Police Department. Police are watching surveillance videos, a spokesperson for the police department said. Law enforcement officials are taking screenshots every time they get a clear image of someone’s face. Five hundred images have been captured so far, but only about 10 individuals have been positively identified, the spokesperson said, and no arrests have been made yet. Police are distributing 250 screenshots to local media and posting them on social media in order to identify the looters.
Police will be releasing videos to the public every Tuesday to see if they can help identify any suspects. Right now, the spokesperson said, they’re focused on finding repeat offenders. If identified, some of the more egregious offenders could face prosecutions, although authorities specified that non-looters who were caught in mass-arrests would not face charges.