Law-enforcement tactics in Ferguson, Missouri, have shifted more than once since last week’s shooting of Michael Brown, and last night marked a new posture: the curfew was lifted, but the National Guard was on hand. And for a while, it appeared that protesters, told to keep moving throughout their demonstrations, would see a fairly calm evening in the community.
It did not last. As Trymaine Lee, Amanda Sakuma, and Zachary Roth reported for msnbc, Ferguson was once again confronted with “violence and chaos” overnight.
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. Thirty-one people had been arrested by 2 a.m. CT.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.”
Among those arrested last night were Getty Images photographer Scott Olson – the latest in a series of journalists detained by police – who was released soon after. As Rachel noted on the show, it was another “rough night” for so many in and around Ferguson, including the First Amendment.
It was last Thursday night when the community saw a peaceful evening, free of tear gas and arrests, but given the developments since, that’s starting to look like an aberration in a crisis that isn’t getting better. Indeed, no one seems able to say when or how conditions in Ferguson will improve.
From last night’s show: