Ferguson Day 10: Not Even The National Guard Can Stop Violence In Ferguson
By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 19, 2014 3:30PM
Can anyone stop the Ferguson, Missouri police and a handful of protesters from making a bad situation worse? That’s what we asked ourselves after yet another night of unrest in the St. Louis suburb. Tensions between police and demonstrators continued after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon lifted the curfew on the town and called in the National Guard to help restore order. Police continued to fire tear gas, stun grenades, smoke bombs and rubber bullets into crowds in order to get protesters, who have been in Ferguson demonstrating against the shooting death of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson, off the streets.
CNN reported police were spurred into action because, the cops claim, some protesters who were throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at them, were shooting at police. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, the official in charge of the crowd control effort, said police responded because protesters were becoming “agitated.”
"Protesters became large and agitated and several of the groups tried to get media attention and agitated the response. When police stepped in, they began to throw frozen water bottles at officers," Johnson said.
"The crowd began to walk past the designated area for protesters and then they turned back. When a large group got to our area, they became agitated and one threw an explosive device on the ground," he said.
Thirty-one people were arrested. Four police officers were injured and two people were shot; authorities said they weren’t shot by police. Reporters on the ground in Ferguson found themselves caught between protesters and police. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was pelted with rocks by protesters as he was reporting live from the scene.
Hayes said the situation on the streets was untenable.
There is just a terrible dynamic that exists right now btwn protesters and police and I don't know what solves it, but can't go on like this— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 19, 2014
Earlier in the day, CNN anchor Don Lemon was among a group being pushed away by Ferguson police as he was reporting live.
Chicago-based Getty photographer Scott Olson was arrested Monday afternoon while covering the scene. He was released Monday night in time to photograph the skirmishes between protesters and police.
CNN's Jake Tapper noted the disparity between the violence from the small number of protesters with their rocks, frozen bottles of water, and Molotov cocktails, and the response from police.
"Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there has been violence, but there is nothing going on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram [Afghanistan], nothing." Tapper says. "So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn't make any sense."
The protests weren't confined to Ferguson. Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, was arrested in St. Louis. She was part of a group marching to Nixon's St. Louis office to protest his ordering of the National Guard to Ferguson.