Highway Patrol Boss Hits Out at ‘Violent Agitators’ Using Demonstrations to Commit Crimes as Two Are Shot and 31 Arrested

David McCormack and Louise Boyle, Daily Mail (London), August 19, 2014

Police came under heavy gunfire and arrested 31 people during another night of racially-charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer ten days ago.

Demonstrations, mostly peaceful but with spasms of violence by smaller groups, have flared since Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead while walking down a residential street on August 9.

State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said on Monday night ‘our officers came under heavy gunfire’ in one area.

Captain Johnson said that ‘violent agitators’ are using largely peaceful demonstrations as an excuse to commit crime. He said some of those arrested had traveled across the country, from as far afield as New York and California, to take advantage of the town’s unsettled state.

‘Not a single bullet was fired by officers despite coming under heavy attack,’ he told a news conference today.

Riot police had confiscated two guns from protesters and what looked like a petrol bomb. Four officers had been injured.

Johnson separately told CNN that two people were shot within the crowd, but not by police, and were taken to hospital. {snip}

{snip}

Michael Brown’s parents told Today on Tuesday that bringing justice for their son, by prosecuting his shooter Officer Darren Wilson, is the way to bring peace to Ferguson.

The National Guard, the U.S. state militia, has been deployed in the St. Louis suburb of 21,000 people to stop looting and burning that have punctuated the protests.

{snip}

Monday night’s clashes between riot police and protesters followed hours of mostly peaceful demonstrations.

Police had closed a roadway to traffic to provide a path for marches but said a smaller group within the larger crowd hurled bottles, rocks and petrol bombs at officers standing near armored vehicles.

Officers responded by firing tear gas-filled canisters and a noise cannon to try to disperse the throng. Police also used stun grenades on protesters who hurled rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails.

Police sat with guns pointed atop armored vehicles while authorities used LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) crowd control systems to send out a painful noise to try and disperse the crowd.

{snip}

Obama said he told the governor the use of the National Guard should be limited and called for conciliation in communities hit by the unrest. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will visit Ferguson on Wednesday, Obama said.

Holder said more than 40 FBI agents were canvassing Ferguson neighborhoods in their investigation and an additional medical examination was being performed on Brown. {snip}

{snip}

Looting has left a number of Ferguson stores in shambles. Two fires were set on Monday evening, one at a business and one at an unoccupied home, Johnson said.

{snip}

Rapper and St. Louis native Nelly appeared in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night and appealed to local residents to remain calm following more than a week of protests.

Speaking before a large crowd, Nelly said violent protests weren’t the right way for the community to come to terms with what had happened.

‘We’ve got to understand that we have options and stop choosing the reaction option cause at the end of the day we gonna pay–our brothers are gonna be the ones in jail,’ he said.

The rapper, best known for his 2002 number one Hot In Heere, had been heavily criticized on social media in recent days for being of touch with what was happening in Ferguson after he called on local people to ‘calm down.’

‘I understand the frustration, but we have to strategize before we overreact,’ he told TMZ on Saturday. ‘We don’t get no do-over on s**t like this, so we have to do it right the first time.

‘Ain’t nothing happen no different that hasn’t been happening . . . At the end of the day, we should have waited to strategize first and take all the right steps to organize.’

Topics: , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.