FERGUSON, Mo., — The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday that it had opened an inquiry into the weekend shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer that sparked a night of looting and vandalism in this suburb of St. Louis.
Special Agent Cheryl Mimura, of the F.B.I.’s office in St. Louis, said that the agency had begun an investigation into possible civil rights violations connected to the death of Michael Brown, 18, who had been planning to begin college classes on Monday.
The circumstances of Mr. Brown’s death remained in sharp dispute two days after he was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, a city of about 21,000 northwest of St. Louis. The police have said an officer, who has not been identified, was “physically assaulted” before opening fire early Saturday afternoon. The authorities also said there had been a struggle “over the officer’s weapon.”