Students work to repair damage left from Ferguson protests - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Students work to repair damage left from Ferguson protests

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The chaos of the looting and rioting in Ferguson, MO, inspired college students to turn the crimes into an opportunity to help. (Source: KSDK/CNN) The chaos of the looting and rioting in Ferguson, MO, inspired college students to turn the crimes into an opportunity to help. (Source: KSDK/CNN)

FERGUSON, MO (KSDK/CNN) - The chaos of the looting and rioting inspired college students to turn the crimes into an opportunity to help.

Steps away from a group of protesters, the group spoke Tuesday about turning the burning of buildings into a lesson for others.

"This is not a product of [people] being animals," said volunteer Alfred Long. "This is a product of them being treated like animals. This is a product of them not having an outlet."

The college students said they understand why the looters and rioters were out. They said people don't feel like they are being heard, and they have experienced others' perceptions of them as troublemakers.

They have spent the last few days working to dispel those perceptions. They picked up trash, tried to make repairs and cleared debris, even though there were some that did not welcome them.

"I asked for a broom; as I reached for the broom he snatched it very hard and said, 'No we got it.'" Tierra Brown said. "You have to step back and say, 'I understand because you're hurting as well.'"

The protests against police followed an officer fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed teen. Witnesses said Brown had his hands up when the officer fired, but police said he was fighting and reaching for the unnamed officer's gun. The matter is under investigation. 

Copyright KSDK via CNN. Viewer video used in the report. All rights reserved.

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