A reporter's perspective on the reaction in Ferguson

I got here the Thursday after Michael Brown was killed. When I first got here I was surprised at how intense things were on the ground. And I remember overhearing someone in the crowd say they were surprised something that they would see in the Middle East was happening in the middle of America.

You could see that the shooting basically ripped open a scab that had been there for a while in this community.

There was one moment when we came back in October after a lot of the cameras had gone. We met a kid named Frankie Edwards who was out here trying to make a difference.

"Let me know if you need a job, let me know ASAP so I can go on get to workin' on that for ya," said Frankie to another young man.

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CBS associate producer Jonathan Blakely learned the tension in Ferguson was deep, but the people are genuine.

CBS News

From a law enforcement perspective, there's one lieutenant with a St. Louis County Police Department, Jerry Lore, who you know night after night seems to make a connection with protesters that not a lot of cops have been able to make.

Over the past few weeks we've heard from government officials and law enforcement that once this grand jury decision was announced that they would protect small businesses and look out for residents.

"Together, we are all focused on making sure the necessary resources are at hand to protect lives, protect property, and protect free speech," Nixon said before the grand jury decision was announced.

This past Monday and Tuesday, we were out here on West Florissant. I witnessed at least 40 minutes straight of looting in the exact same spot that it happened in August.

I think from the moment this story broke, I could relate to a lot of the anger that these residents were feeling. As an African American, I've had that talk about what to do when you encounter police. I completely understand and empathize with some of those initial emotions.

I wish I could say that things have gotten better, but it doesn't feel that way. It still feels like there is a long way to go.

One thing that is refreshing though, is just the generosity that all of these residents still have. This past Thursday I was invited to Thanksgiving by a group of protesters.

They didn't have to invite me, I've been sticking a camera in their face for the past few months. They didn't have to be kind and invite me to Thanksgiving, but they did. And so when you see things like that, you know that there are people who can facilitate that positive change if they just stayed focused and find something else to turn focus to.