Ferguson Protesters: The Peaceful, the Elders, the Looters, and the ‘Militants’

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and DeNeen L. Brown, Washington Post, August 18, 2014

On one corner of a battered stretch of West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of ongoing protests, young men pull dark scarves up over their mouths and lob Molotov cocktails at police from behind makeshift barricades built of bricks and wood planks. They call the gasoline-filled bottles “poor man’s bombs.”

The young men yell expletives and, with a rebel’s bravado, speak about securing justice for Michael Brown, the black teen fatally shot Aug. 9 by a white police officer, “by any means necessary.”

They are known here as “the militants”–a faction inhabiting the hard-core end of a spectrum that includes online organizers and opportunistic looters–and their numbers have been growing with the severity of their tactics since the shooting.

Each evening, hundreds gather along West Florissant in what has become the most visible and perilous ritual of this St. Louis suburb’s days of frustration following Brown’s death. Dozens have been arrested, many injured by tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets fired by a police force dressed in riot gear and armed with assault rifles.


Some of the men are from the area–Ferguson or surrounding towns also defined in part by the gulf separating the mostly white law enforcement agencies from a mistrusting African American public. Many others–it is hard to quantify the percentage–have arrived by bus and by car from Chicago, Detroit, Brooklyn and elsewhere.

They will not give their names. But their leaders say they are ready to fight, some with guns in their hands. “This is not the time for no peace,” said one man, a 27-year-old who made the trip here from Chicago.

He spoke after a small group of fellow militants held a meeting behind a looted store, sketching out ambitions for the days ahead.

“We are jobless men, and this is our job now–getting justice,” he said. “If that means violence, that’s okay by me. They’ve been doing this to us for years.”

Police on the streets Monday night said some of those wearing red bandannas are members of the Bloods gang.


There is a group of “peaceful protesters” that congregates around the QuikTrip, which was looted and burned during the first night of protest. Another gathers near the Ferguson police station. A third, more scattered faction uses the social-media community Black Twitter to organize demonstrators.

“People have been tweeting, ‘We are ready to die tonight,’ ” said Mary Pat Hector, a national youth organizer with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s national action network. “It is a trending topic.”

Hector traveled from Atlanta, hoping her presence as a non­violent protester would help counter what she described as “so much negative energy.”

Then there are the looters, leaderless men who under cover of nightly political protest target liquor stores, beauty-supply shops and other businesses with inventories easy to sell and in high demand.

Ferguson police officials would not quantify how many looters have been arrested since the Brown shooting but presented a Washington Post reporter with a stack of roughly 50 arrest reports. While some of those arrested for stealing are from Ferguson, a large number have addresses listed in Illinois or in Texas.

“It’s like looting tourism,” an officer commented as he showed the reports. He asked not to be named. “It’s like they are spending their gas money to come down here and steal.”

DeAndre Smith, fresh from looting the QuikTrip on a recent night, told reporters: “I’m proud of us. We deserve this, and this is what’s supposed to happen when there’s injustice in your community. St. Louis–not going to take this anymore.”

Many on the streets share that sentiment and feel, in terms of race relations, this city and its surrounding communities never emerged from the civil rights era. Two-thirds of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents are black, but only three of the police force’s 53 officers are.

“This was a chance to vent about the national treatment of black men across the country,” said Ronnie Natch, a music producer and leader of the “peaceful protesters.”


Among those who have arrived are self-described young activists, some of whom participated in the Occupy movement. Many of them are white and have been showing protesters how to assemble homemade gas masks–essentially surgical masks fortified with duct tape. But the peaceful protesters acknowledge they are probably in the minority as the crowd begins to swell on Ferguson’s streets after nightfall.


There is also another group: the elders.

Malik Shabazz, national president of Black Lawyers for Justice, said he has been patrolling West Florissant Avenue each night, trying to keep the peace. On Friday night, he used a megaphone, telling young people to go home.

“The big mission was to make sure there was peace tonight, and we accomplished that,” Shabazz said as dawn approached. “Now it’s time to go home and get some rest. You do this with love and no fear.”


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  • TruthBeTold

    I believe there are three basic groups involved.

    The first is the local residents who believe, rightly or wrongly, that this shooting was unjustified. They are divided into two groups. Those who want peaceful protests and those who want to vent their rage.

    The second group is the the looters who are taking advantage of the situation.

    The third group is the outside agitators and provocateurs who are deliberately inflaming tensions for their own racial, political motives.

    I was watching MSNBC to see how they were covering this issue and I found it very interesting that reporters were acknowledging the outside agitators and provocateurs.

    I believe they were doing this to distance the ‘legitimate’ concerns of local residents as opposed to the agitators who are causing trouble and giving the protesters a bad rap.

    • Uncle_Dan

      The protesters are just the prelude and cover for the riots that follow. Even without the riots, the protests are still without merit. There’s nothing to protest. The cop did the job he was hired to do. Either he did it well or poorly, which will be determined by an investigation. When all the facts are laid out, then, an only then MIGHT there be something to quarrel about.

  • “We are jobless men”

    Quick, anyone who either owns a business or has hiring authority in a larger business: Would you hire any of these people to do anything? What positive productivity could you expect from any of them?

    • Uncle_Dan

      “We are jobless men” — and so we break things. You got a problem with that?

      When I was out of work, I ran guns to Ethiopia, and fought in Spain. And got well paid for it on both occasions.

      • evilsandmich

        I wouldn’t stretch his statement of ‘jobless’ into the desire for a job

        • Uncle_Dan

          They are well paid for doing nothing. Is this a great country or what?

    • propagandaoftruth

      The Peaceful, the Elders, the Looters, and the Militants…

      Sergio Leone on crack.

    • Magician

      … well but I am starting to see businesses and large corporations being forced to hire black males.

      I want to punch the screen whenever I see, “We are a proud company that does not discriminate by race when giving jobs to people. By the way,specify your race when you apply for jobs at our company”

      • Spikeygrrl

        STARTING to see? What planet have you been vacationing on for the past 25 years?!

        • Magician

          ha! ha! but at least in the past companies and the government at least tried their best to hide it as much as possible.

          And now, they are not even trying to hide any more

          • Spikeygrrl

            I spent more years than I care to remember as co-owner of a business-to-business sci/tech marketing communictions services company. NOT ONE of my client companies — from the highest-tech Fortune 500 to the old-line, family-owned industrial shops — ever made any effort to pretend that such hires were anything OTHER THAN Politically Correct image-polishing. I’m out of the conventional workforce now, but if I’m correctly understanding today’s corporate scuttlebutt, HR Departments and corner office types now routinely attempt to convince others (and themselves?) that AA hires are actually qualified for the jobs they’re placed into.

            Thank goodness I was never the “beneficiary” of an AA program! It would have SUCKED to spend my whole career wondering if I “made it” in what was then a heavily male-dominated industry because I really was That Good…or just because I’m a woman.

    • I’ll go with “Shrinkage” for 500, Alex.

    • Jack Burton

      Hmm, what kind of a job starts in the afternoon, allows the employees to show up late, slack off, leave early and steal from the establishment?

      • Nancy

        The kind where you sleep all day, collect your welfare check, and run around like an animal all night.

        Courtesy of John Q. Taxpayer.

        • Jack Burton

          They wish that were a legitimate job.

  • anony

    Ok, you go get justice; we’ll put an end to your search for it.

  • MekongDelta69

    Leave it to a black woman and a hyphenated three name White feminazi from the Leftist WaPo to glorify black gangsta thugs.

  • Luca

    The liberal journalists must have worked late into the night word-smithing and whitewashing this article. Nothing like a little subliminal messaging by careful use of words on a low-IQ, drug-hazed audience.

  • Periapsis

    Nice work blacks, you turned the area into a no-go zone so radioactive nobody would dare start a business there. There goes jobs you say you need, but I see every day evidence that many blacks are charitably, “sweat riders” at best who are pushed ahead of men like me who come to work every day on time and do their jobs. At worst they interfere with those who do give a damn. Rioting is the kiss of death to homeownership in the area, property values plummet faster than a sinking ship thanks to riots. Many whites are going to leave the area, I for one will not stay in an area where riots are a constant threat. Whites who live in Ferguson rightly are feeling threatened, and will both arm themselves and move out of the area ASAP. So there goes the schools, public utilities, everything, Face it darkies, you really own this ****. Where’s their Africans, there’s Africa.

    • Spikeygrrl

      Ok, I give up: “sweat rider”? TIA!

      • Periapsis

        Someone who just stands by while I sweat buckets in a 110 degree F engine room and claims the credit is a sweat rider.

        • Spikeygrrl

          Got it. Thanks.

  • LHathaway

    The possibility that Michael Brown Received justice doesn’t seem to have occured to them. .

    • Periapsis

      Yep, he got justice when the cop he was about to kill blew his head off, after riddling him with more bullets. I am beginning to think police should start carrying sub-machine guns like some do in Europe, chambered for.45 ACP caliber ammunition so they can drop thugs faster. Someone that is still standing after being hit by a burst of 230 grain hollow-points is not of this Earth, or wearing body armor.

  • Adolf Verloc

    If you’re ready to die tonight, that can be arranged.

  • The reporting is interesting because there’s not one really reasonable, sensible black in the whole damn thing. A reasonable black would say, “Cop doing his job. Let me go to work and do mine.” But no. Sensible blacks are hard to find. “OJ did it. I voted for Romney. Officer Wilson is not a murderer.”

    We have to separate from these primitive minds with threatening, deadly personalities.

  • Magician

    “We are jobless men, and this is our job now–getting justice,” he said. “If that means violence, that’s okay by me. They’ve been doing this to us for years.”

    Look how thoughtful, courteous and well-mannered this insect is.

    • Michael Whalen

      You’re jobless men, huh? I would say that you are building up a good resume. I’m sure that the people who own the businesses you have just burned would be glad to hire you.

      • Who Me?

        “We are jobless men”?
        No. You are jobless, true, but you are NOT men. Men go to work, pay taxes, support their families (and yours, too), have children by their wives, and set an example for the young people of their community. You, on the other hand, do none of these things. You are low-life, ghetto thugs, stealing and preying upon others, carelessly having children by multiple equally clueless ghetto females, demand that working taxpayers feed your children and subsidize your utterly worthless lifestyles and pay for your “bling”.

  • Andy

    I like how these stories that discuss Malik Shabazz never mention his history. Can you imagine the press leaving out past calls for genocide by a pro-white leader?

    • Who Me?

      Isn’t Malik Shabazz the one who called for killing some cracker babies a few years back?

      • Andy

        That’s the one.

        • Periapsis

          Has he been found shot to death yet? If not, he sounds like another Michael Brown in the making.

  • * B R E A K I N G*
    Supposedly Dorian Johnson is recanting his previous statement(s). Apparently he will not face robbery charges. This might clear Officer Wilson, but the bantu hordes will not (of course) be appeased.

  • Paleoconn

    The fact that these race hustlers are taken seriously in articles like this shows how irrelevant the MSM has become.

  • Last night’s episode of Survivor: Ferguson was somewhat lame, and if upcoming episodes are like this or worse, don’t be surprised if the network bosses cancel this show.

    Two days ago I came up with the idea of Governor Useless putting a halt on the first of the month welfare benefits to everyone in those Ferguson apartment farms (although he would probably have to do it for several North County zip codes), and therefore all the black queens that somehow can’t control their sons will suddenly find a way to control their sons. We know he would never do it.

    But there is precedent for this, from a surprising place and person.

    This is a paragraph from pps 41-42 of a certain book. I won’t name the title or the author until after you’re done reading it, just to give you a chance to guess.

    Several years earlier, I had faced a similar situation as governor. A right-wing extremist group had established a compound in the mountains of north Arkansas. Among the men, women and children who lived there were two suspects wanted for murder. The people lived in several cabins, each of which had a trap door that led to a dugout from which they could fire on approaching authorities. And they had a lot of weapons to fire. The FBI wanted to storm them, too. At a meeting I convened with the FBI, our state police, and cooperating law enforcement people from Missouri and Oklahoma, I listened to the FBI’s case, then said that before I could approve the action, I wanted someone who had fought in the jungles of Vietnam to fly over the place in a helicopter and make an assessment. The battle wise veteran who made the inspection for me returned to say, “If those people can shoot at all, you’ll lose fifty men in the assault.” I called off the raid, put a blockade around the camp, cut off food stamp aid to the several families inside who had been receiving it, and prevented anyone who left the premises to get supplies from going back. Eventually, the holdouts gave in, and the suspects were apprehended with no loss of life.

    The name of the book is My Life and the author is Bill Clinton.

  • none of your business

    by J. Christian Adams Meet the Radical DOJ Unit Investigating Ferguson Shooting

    PJ Media has been covering the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division for years. This is the unit that will be investigating the shooting in Ferguson and deciding whether to charge the police officer with civil rights crimes.

    PJ Media had to sue Eric Holder to obtain the resumes of the lawyers he hired to populate this unit. No wonder. The “Every Single One” series at PJ Media revealed that all of Holder’s attorney hires were leftists, some even with a history of anti-police activities. Read the detailed biographies of the lawyers here.

    Why does it matter that the DOJ unit that will investigate the Ferguson police is stacked with leftists and ideologues? Because anti-police biases of lawyers in this unit have resulted in gross prosecutorial misconduct against police officers.

    United States District Judge Kurt Engelhardt issued this blistering 129-page opinion documenting prosecutorial misconduct by DOJ lawyers seeking to convict New Orleans police officers of civil rights violations. These lawyers are still employed by the Criminal Section at the Civil Rights Division. Hans von Spakovsky has this summary of the rage directed at the DOJ from the bench.

    Trying to figure out what the prosecutors had done sent the court “on a legal odyssey unlike any other.” But that legal odyssey led the judge on September 17 to grant a new trial to the New Orleans police officers.

    It is the first time, according to Judge Engelhardt, that federal “prosecutors acting with anonymity used social media to circumvent ethical obligations, professional responsibilities, and even to commit violations of the Code of Federal Regulations.” The 129-page order, which details the misbehavior of the Louisiana DOJ lawyers and the Civil Rights Division’s Dobinski, is appalling reading. And it isn’t just that Dobinski was a high-level Justice Department lawyer who was posting anonymous blogs about the trial.

    She also encouraged other anonymous bloggers, who “repeatedly posted vigorous pro-prosecution statements strongly condemning the defendants, their witnesses, and their entire defense.” To make matters worse, Dobinski was the supervising “taint” attorney assigned to the New Orleans case.

    PJ Media covered Dobinski’s misconduct here, here and here. As Holder moves forward in Ferguson, keep the documented misconduct of his lawyers in mind.