Fire and fury

Fire and fury

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From Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., the United States have been rocked by protests after a white policeman was cleared in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

The unrest after Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, a predominantly black city with a white-dominated power structure, underscores the nature of race relations and strained ties between African-American communities and police.

"Flames rose into the air, and there was a lot of popping and bangs ."
Jim Young, Reuters Photographer

I'd been in Ferguson for 11 days, waiting for the grand jury's verdict on the Michael Brown shooting.

I shot the crowd which had gathered outside the Ferguson police department to listen to the prosecutor announce the decision and after a brief, initial emotional reaction, it all settled down.

But as I walked down the street, protesters had just started destroying a police car, kicking and smashing the vehicle. I got hit in the back by a rock thrown by the crowd behind me, but I was wearing a bulletproof vest which softened the blow. A brick bounced off my helmet.

The police moved in to disperse the crowd, but the protesters kept trying to flip the car over, and the officers responded with tear gas. Crowds of people looked on as flames rose into the air, and there was a lot of popping and bangs.

Myself and two colleagues decided to drive about two miles away, where buildings had been set on fire, and that's where I saw a strip mall engulfed by flames.

As I shot the fire, a group of young kids walked in front of me. They were silhouetted and, for a moment, I thought the boy was holding a real gun as there had been reports of a lot of shooting all night.

Throughout the night I filed all the pictures off the back of my camera using a wireless transmitter and mobile Wi-Fi. The connection was up and down all night but it always worked, taking from a few seconds to two to three minutes a picture.

It worked great as I could send the pictures as soon as I shot them without needing to carry a laptop around or have to pull away from the action.

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Slideshow

Police form a line in a street under a Seasons Greeting sign, in Ferugson.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Jim Young

Police form a line in a street under a Seasons Greeting sign, in Ferugson.

A woman approaches the barricade to confront the police outside the Ferguson Police Department.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A woman approaches the barricade to confront the police outside the Ferguson Police Department.

A police car burns on a street in Ferguson.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Jim Young

A police car burns on a street in Ferguson.

California Highway Patrol officers walk to clear the 101 freeway from protesters in Los Angeles.
. LOS ANGELES, United States. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

California Highway Patrol officers walk to clear the 101 freeway from protesters in Los Angeles.

A protester stands with his hands on his head in a cloud of teargas in Ferguson.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A protester stands with his hands on his head in a cloud of teargas in Ferguson.

Protesters run from a cloud of tear gas in Ferguson.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Jim Young

Protesters run from a cloud of tear gas in Ferguson.

A protester stands in the street after being treated for teargas exposure.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A protester stands in the street after being treated for teargas exposure.

A resident, lying shirtless, keeps warm as another approaches the blazing skeleton of Juanita's Fashions R Boutique after it was burned to the ground.
. FERGUSON, United States. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A resident, lying shirtless, keeps warm as another approaches the blazing skeleton of Juanita's Fashions R Boutique after it was burned to the ground.

A protester jumps on a Ferguson police car set on fire.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Jim Young

A protester jumps on a Ferguson police car set on fire.

A demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration in Oakland.
. OAKLAND, United States. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

A demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration in Oakland.

A protester confronts a police officer.
. Ferguson, United States. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A protester confronts a police officer.

A New York City Police officer struggles with demonstrators as they block traffic near the Lincoln Tunnel.
. NEW YORK, United States. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A New York City Police officer struggles with demonstrators as they block traffic near the Lincoln Tunnel.

A woman speaks to an LAPD officer during a demonstration at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.
. LOS ANGELES, United States. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn UNITED STATES

A woman speaks to an LAPD officer during a demonstration at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.

Inmates in the South Bay House of Corrections cheer as demonstrators clash with police on the street below the facility in Boston.
. BOSTON, United States. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Inmates in the South Bay House of Corrections cheer as demonstrators clash with police on the street below the facility in Boston.

A protester faces off against a line of police on the 110 freeway during a demonstration in Los Angeles.
. LOS ANGELES, United States. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A protester faces off against a line of police on the 110 freeway during a demonstration in Los Angeles.

Police officers react to violent protesters during a second night of protests in Ferguson.
. FERGUSON, United States. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Police officers react to violent protesters during a second night of protests in Ferguson.

A protester has help washing his eyes out after being pepper sprayed during a second night of protests in Ferguson.
. FERGUSON, United States. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A protester has help washing his eyes out after being pepper sprayed during a second night of protests in Ferguson.

Amanda Ashe of Oakland, left, faces off with a police officer during the second night of demonstrations in Emeryville.
. EMERYVILLE, United States. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Amanda Ashe of Oakland, left, faces off with a police officer during the second night of demonstrations in Emeryville.

James Cartmill, of Veterans for Peace, holds an American flag upside down, to indicate distress, during a demonstration in Oakland.
. OAKLAND, United States. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

James Cartmill, of Veterans for Peace, holds an American flag upside down, to indicate distress, during a demonstration in Oakland.

A man leaves a Smart & Final food and supply store during a demonstration in Oakland.
. OAKLAND, United States. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

A man leaves a Smart & Final food and supply store during a demonstration in Oakland.