Investigators are considering whether to charge Michael Brown's stepfather with attempting to incite a riot for urging a crowd in Ferguson, Missouri, to "burn this bitch down" as part of a larger inquiry into violence after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager, authorities told NBC News on Tuesday.
Louis Head, who is married to Lesley McSpadden, the young man's mother, could be seen screaming that call and stronger ones at a gathering in Ferguson shortly after the grand jury's "no bill" decision in the case of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson was announced late Nov. 24.
Head isn't the focus of the inquiry, St. Louis County police Sgt. Brian Schellman told NBC News. His comments are just one part of a county and state investigation into arson, looting, destruction of property and other alleged offenses the night of Nov. 24, Schellman said.
No timetable was given for the inquiry, the results of which will be turned over to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson indicated in interviews with Fox News and CNN that his officers would be among the investigators, telling Fox News specifically on Monday, "We are pursuing those comments, and there is a lot of discussion going on about that right now."
But Ferguson and St. Louis County police "clarified" Jackson's assertion Tuesday, telling NBC News that Jackson's department "will not be conducting any investigations with respect to protest activities which followed the announcement of the Grand Jury's decision." Instead, the investigation is being overseen by the county, Schellman said.
McSpadden — Head's wife and Brown's mother — told NBC's TODAY last week that she thought her husband shouldn't be held responsible for an understandable outburst in the heat of a highly emotional moment.
"I don't feel that he stirred the crowd," she told NBC News' Savannah Guthrie on Nov. 26. "The crowd was already stirred. It's been stirring since August 9th. I wouldn't hold him accountable for that."
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— Ron Allen and M. Alex Johnson