St. Louis is a fairly segregated city, with relatively few immigrants. White flight is a real phenomenon there. This gives all the problems of poverty, exacerbated by racial tension.
Knowing, as I do, the ease with which the police can pass off fabricated evidence, I tend to side with the people of Ferguson. Besides which, if unarmed teenagers are jumping into to cop cars completely unprovoked, there still is a problem.
Part of Ferguson’s image problem may be that many people’s mind completely turn off when they see looting. I’d wager that it isn’t totally random, but rather the most predatory businesses get hit harder. If the people could get that police officer, they would, but they had to settle for a substitute target.
While my perspective is limited by not being in North St. Louis County for many years, this still is more context than my readers may have. So I throw in my two cents.