100 Arrested In Ferguson As County Declares State Of Emergency
By aaroncynic in News on Aug 11, 2015 5:39PM
Photo via Natalie Solidarity
More than 100 protesters were arrested in Ferguson throughout the day Monday as a series of demonstrations took place after St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency. The move came a day after an African-American man was shot by undercover police in the St. Louis suburbs.
“I don’t believe that he would disrespect police like that,” said Gwen Drisdel, grandmother of 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, who was critically wounded by police in the Sunday exchange. Drisdel told the New York Times Harris’s girlfriend said he had been running to escape the gunfire that rang out across West Florissant, but that it also wouldn’t have “been unreasonable” for him to be carrying a weapon, given the violence on the streets. Prosecutors have filed 10 counts against Harris, who is still hospitalized.
Demonstrators, marking the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed young black man shot and killed by white officer Darren Wilson—who was never indicted for the killing but has retired from the police force—staged several different protests Monday, including shutting down I-70 for a brief period of time.
After a morning march which drew at least 150 people, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, some 57 demonstrators, including Cornell West and several prominent protest leaders, were arrested after holding a sit-in at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse.
“Between the continuous death of unarmed teenagers at the hands of police, tear gassing on Canfield Drive, and Ferguson’s failure to meet the DOJ’s consent decree, we see that not enough has changed in Ferguson.” Brittany Packnett, an organizer who works closely with some of those arrested, told the Washington Post.
Another group of demonstrators later blocked both sides of I-70 during rush hour, KMOV reports. Dozens stretched out across the highway and erected a barrier of yellow boxes with the words “Ferguson is everywhere.” One car drove through the group, but no one was seriously injured. Some 60 people were arrested and two journalists were briefly detained but later released.
Protests continued in Ferguson throughout the evening, with several tense standoffs between police and demonstrators occurring and about two dozen more arrests. Police fired pepper spray at least once, according to ABC. No serious injuries, shootings or property damage were reported.
Meanwhile, members of the gun-loving group the Oath Keepers showed up in the night, allegedly to “protect” a journalist from the conspiracy themed website Infowars. The group, a loosely-knit conglomerate of self appointed, so-calld defenders of the Constitution, is fond of parading around while heavily armed. This understandably made both demonstrators and police alike nervous. “You’re going to bring some uncommissioned citizens, white citizens, into a black community like this? It’s disrespectful,” said Talal Ahmad.
In what’s certainly some uncanny timing, two journalists were served indictments stemming from their arrests during last year’s demonstrations. Wesley Lowery and Ryan J. Reilly, reporters for the Washington Post and Huffington Post respectively, were arrested nearly seconds after police told them to vacate a McDonald’s in Ferguson where they were charging their gear while covering the demonstrations.
“Charging a reporter with trespassing and interfering with a police officer when he was just doing his job is outrageous,” Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, said in a statement. In it's own release, the Huffington Post stated: “A crime was committed at the McDonald's, not by journalists, but by local police who assaulted both Ryan and Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post during violent arrests."
Both publications say they stand by their reporters.