Ferguson Businesses To Government: Where Were You Guys!?

Matt Vespa
|
Posted: Dec 11, 2014 2:15 PM
Ferguson Businesses To Government: Where Were You Guys!?

After the Ferguson Grand Jury decided not to charge then-Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the city erupted in a torrent of looting, vandalism, and arson. Businesses in the surrounding areas were destroyed and livelihoods shattered. Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom; Katie wrote abut how a concerted crowdfunding effort that allowed small business owner Natalie Dubose to get back on her feet. Dubose lost her cake shop, in which she invested all her resources, in the riots.

Yet, not everyone was lucky. Recently, Corwin Parks and Brittany Hughes of CNSNews.com went down to Ferguson after the riot had subsided to get other business owners’ views on the matter. In all, they felt abandoned by the government–and most have yet to be contacted by the governor’s office or the city regarding financial assistance to relieve them of their staggering losses (via CNSNews):

“We haven’t received one call from the state or the governor’s office at all -- not one,” said Kurt Barks, owner of Complete Auto Body and Repair in Ferguson, one of dozens of businesses that were trashed and robbed in the hours following the grand jury’s decision.

Another store owner, Nigerian immigrant Idowu Ajibola, told CNSNews.com, “This is ground zero. This is where the first violence happened. I would have assumed, I would have thought it would have been the first place they would have tried to protect.”

But “the government, they weren’t there for us,” he said. “They weren’t there for us at all -- not the first time around, not the second time around, even after they promised that they would.”

As the grand jury’s announcement grew closer and closer, Ajibola told CNSNews.com he was given reassurances by state and local officials that his business would be protected if violence broke out once again.

“They told us we were well prepared for the second time around,” he said. “We went to a series of meetings.”

But as anger gave way to chaos following the grand jury’s announcement that fateful Monday night, Ajibola said he watched with fear and anxiety as store after store was destroyed before his eyes on television, including his own shop. The help he was promised never came, he said.

Two weeks later, Ajibola, who estimates he’s sustained about $500,000 in losses and damages from the riots, said he still hasn’t heard from the state government or local officials about any offers to help rebuild.

As businesses take stock of the damage, the latest document dump on the shooting hasn’t revealed any new developments, although; the federal autopsy noted that the “chest injury might have been an exit wound from a shot that entered Brown's arm,” as reported by the Associated Press.  The interview with Dorian Johnson, who plead guilty to filing a false police report in the summer of 2011, is being withheld.