More clashes rock Ferguson
FERGUSON, Missouri – The grief-stricken community of Ferguson was once again wracked by violence and chaos overnight Monday.
Police fired tear gas at protesters amid the sound of explosions, shots rang out and armored police trucks sped down Florissant Avenue. At least two people, both males, were shot “in the dark of night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a press conference. Two guns and a Molotov cocktail were confiscated. There were two fires, one at a local business and another at an unoccupied residence, Johnson said. Police were hit with bottles and rocks. Seventy-eight people were arrested overnight.
Johnson said police did not fire any bullets at protesters, whom he encouraged to turn out for demonstrations during the day.
“There is a dangerous dynamic in the night,” Johnson said, noting that the criminal activity overnight “came from a tiny minority of law-breakers.”
Just before midnight, police cracked down on some of the last remaining protesters. The driver of a pickup truck offered to give rides home to some protesters who looked to be teenagers. Riot police stopped them and told them to put their hands in the air. What appeared to be a glass bottle with a cloth coming out of it could be seen in the back of the truck. The driver and the protesters were all detained.
Minutes later, police told reporters to leave the designated media staging area, saying their lives were in danger and that shots may have been fired. Two journalists were reportedly taken into police custody overnight, and rocks were thrown at msnbc hosts Chris Hayes and Craig Melvin while they reported on air. Earlier, a Getty photographer was detained and later released.
Earlier in the evening Monday, the mood was calm. Religious leaders sang spirituals, the elderly found ways to keep moving and protesters traded days of unrest for celebrity sightings including hip-hop artist Nelly who joined this community ravaged by violence and grief for a few hours of relative calm Monday under the watchful gaze of the National Guard.
Monday was the first night since Friday without a police imposed curfew, and Ferguson residents braved the 90-degree heat to call for justice in the killing of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old teenager who was unarmed when a police officer shot him at least six times on Aug. 9. The officer has not been arrested.