Last night St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCollouch got the riot he wanted. (More)

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to recognize the machinations behind St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCollouch’s decision to release his grand jury’s decision after darkness fell last night. County Police Chief Jon Belmar said “I didn’t foresee an evening like this.”

If so, that puts him in a tiny minority. In August, Missouri authorities ordered a nighttime curfew, precisely because peaceful daytime protests in Ferguson were turning violent after dark.

In other words, McCollouch timed his announcement perfectly, if he wanted to spark a riot. And apparently he got a little help:

Here’s a link to the scanner audio:

And here’s the New York Times’ lead photo:

Their caption: “A police officer runs by a burning police car during a demonstration on Monday night in Ferguson, Mo.”

A burning police car set alight by a white male wearing an American flag bandana. Until that car was burned, the protests had been calm. Once that car was burned, all hell broke loose.

The Guardian has the complete grand jury report, as well as an analysis of the Missouri law on police use of deadly force. They’re worth reading.

Even more read-worthy is this amazing essay by Syreeta McFadden:

Meanwhile, the (white) leaders attempt to offer a smattering of words to mimic something akin to reform. The “insulated, isolated” Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, announced in advance of the decision a commission to investigate why things fell apart so rapidly, that “they are on edge”. The preachy St Louis mayor, Francis Slay, announced plans to expand a jobs initiative, that “we will protect your right to peacefully assemble”. There will be all sorts of commissions and initiatives, just as there were after Los Angeles in 1992 and Cincinnati in 2001, just as President Johnson announced in 1968 and President Clinton did in ’97.

But in 2014, can any new commission or initiative or reform really provide very obvious and knowable answers that any other commission or initiative or reform couldn’t?
And so we protest. Because it is our only recourse. We do not explode in violence, but we do not accept these terms that anticipate and perpetuate failure. We channel a sustained, clear-eyed rage, and we insist that our policies and our enactment of those policies ensure equal protection for the most vulnerable among us and accountability for officers in uniform when they kill unarmed youth with impunity.

We protest so that some day, some years from now, justice is not a surprise, nor a dream, nor deferred. So that justice just is.

As the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart wrote, last night local and state officials failed the test of leadership.

Unless, that is, they wanted a riot to reinforce the narrative of “lawless Ferguson thugs.” If that’s what they wanted, they led just fine. Congratulations, Mr. McCollouch. You got the riot you wanted.