On Tuesday morning, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson condemned the violence that rocked Ferguson, Missouri, and St. Louis on Monday night as crowds reacted to the announcement that Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, would not be indicted.
Authorities said 61 people were arrested in Ferguson Monday night and 21 people were arrested in St. Louis on a wide range of trespassing, arson and other charges.
Despite the chaos, Slay and Dotson pledged that their city would be able to celebrate a normal Thanksgiving weekend.
Blaming Monday's violence and arson on "criminals using the cover of organized protests," Dotson promised a faster police response in the future, and claimed that even on Monday night, "bands of individuals roaming throughout the city looking for opportunities to commit crimes" were confronted by police at every turn.
.@ChiefSLMPD: “We do not tolerate criminal activity … when crime starts you’ll see intervention much more quickly than you did last night."— TheBlazeNOW (@TheBlazeNOW) November 25, 2014
"You can go about your daily business," the chief told Saint Louis residents, stressing that the worst of Monday's protests took place in an area of only "about three blocks" of the city.
Dotson said that future protests would be shepherded by police and would cause only minor disturbances, "no different than you would see downtown" during a Thanksgiving Day parade.
In St. Louis on Monday night, Dotson said, police conducted felony arrests for everything from "unlawful weapons to knowingly burning to property damage."
When a reporter asked if looting had occurred, Dotson confirmed that burglaries had taken place but he declined to use the term "looting."
Of the St. Louis police officers who dealt with Monday's protests, Slay said he was "very very proud of 'em."
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