A generally peaceful Tuesday evening of protest marches in Ferguson ended in the late-night arrests of dozens. However, police showed a lot more restraint than in other nights and did not use tear gas or rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. After hours of marching, organizers of the marches called out to the crowd and said it was time to go home as Wednesday will be a busy day. Protesters plan on showing up at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, MO Wednesday morning to call for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch to recuse himself from the investigation into the shooting death of Mike Brown. Once the majority of protesters quietly and peacefully left the scene, a small group stayed behind. Like nights past, this group, called “the fighters” by St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, looked to confront the police head on and cause trouble.
Eventually, bottles were thrown at police. While police individually chased down offenders, other members of the crowd tried to hide out in the media staging area, posing as journalists. It appeared their plan was to mingle with the media and then attack police covertly. Eventually, police were able to identify these demonstrators and arrest them without much incident. The rest of the people who refused to disperse after a while were eventually arrested. In all, police said that 47 people were arrested Tuesday evening. An earlier arrest was made in the evening when people in a car pulled up to the police command center and made threats. Two handguns were retrieved from the car during the arrest.
Like the night before, it could be that many of those arrested are from out-of-town. On Monday, police arrested 78 people (revised up from the original total given of 31). Of those 78, 75 were arrested for refusing to disperse. Of those 75, 18 are from out of state, 5 are from different parts of Missouri and only 4 are actually from Ferguson. The rest are from other parts of the St. Louis area. Police did reveal that one man arrested Tuesday night had been arrested twice before during the protests and is from Austin, TX. It appears that much of the agitation and provocation within the protest crowds is being done by outside activist elements hoping to use these protests as a way to make a point or cause commotion.
Wednesday looks to be a busy day for Ferguson and the ongoing situation. A grand jury has convened to hear evidence in Brown’s killing. A prosecutor from McCulloch’s office will present evidence against Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown six times, and see what charges come back. Attorney General Eric Holder is in Ferguson and will meet with FBI agents investigating a civil rights case against Wilson. He’ll also talk to community leaders about the ongoing situation in Ferguson. Protests in Clayton are expected to last throughout the day. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, as of now, has refused to remove McCulloch from the case and replace him with a special prosecutor.
On Tuesday, I spoke with Camille Conte of The Camille Conte Show regarding the ongoing events in Ferguson. During the discussion, I spoke at length about McCulloch and the need for him to be removed from investigating the case due to his perceived lack of objectivity. I also discussed with Camille how the combination of an outsized police presence, national media spotlight and outside activists and agitators have helped to create outbursts at protests. Below is the audio:
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).