For the first time since unrest started over the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen-year-old, Ferguson is now under curfew after Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.
Ferguson residents and protesters have reacted angrily to the curfew, which starts at midnight and goes until 5 a.m., as they have to most police interventions during the long, tense week of standoffs, rioting and looting. Many demand to know the consequences if they break the curfew -- will police shoot rubber bullets, pepper pellets and tear gas, like on other nights? Will they go further, finally employing the snipers stationed on armored vehicles near the protests?
3 a.m. - That's all she wrote, folks. Our reporters are at the office getting something together from tonight, so check back with us for more later. Good night.
--- 2: 50 a.m. - Johnson, the commander at the scene, says police got a report of a shooting victim near QuikTrip. Police deployed tear gas at Red's BBQ to get protesters back so first responders could rescue the victim.Johnson says police were prepared to stay back until the shooting. He said the decision to use tear gas and increased police presence was due to protesters using guns, not breaking curfew.
I can tell you firsthand that some of the people that remained tonight were armed. Were ready for a fight. And wanted to injure police.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
The shooting victim is in critical condition in the hospital, and protesters transported the victim to the hospital. It's not clear if the victim is a protester or bystander. St. Louis County police will investigate. (See more below at 1:01 a.m.)
A police car was also shot at, Johnson says. Police made seven arrests with the charge of failure to disperse.
"I can tell you I was disappointed in the actions of tonight," Johnson told reporters just before 3 a.m. "The crowds we've had for the last two nights were citizens obeying, protesting."
There was no looting, he said.--- 1:59 a.m. - Oh, it was tear gas after all, y'all.
I hear police are saying it wasn't gas. Bullshit. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Tear gas sucks.— Mitch Ryals (@mitchryals) August 17, 2014
--- 1:30 a.m. - Rumors are spreading that Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and a St. Louis native, was arrested. They're not true.
The last in#Ferguson pic.twitter.com/y6sLvuPV54— Mitch Ryals (@mitchryals) August 17, 2014
Finally home. See you tomorrow #Ferguson.— Jack (@jack) August 17, 2014
Can't find Jack Dorsey, I've seen about 30 people get arrested in the last half hour. He might have been taken in. Will update. #Ferguson— The Tech CEO (@TheTechCEO) August 17, 2014
Jack Dorsey is with me, possibly will be arrested. We are both after curfew right now, riot police 50ft in front of us #Ferguson— The Tech CEO (@TheTechCEO) August 17, 2014
It appears the co-founder of Twitter was not arrested RT @jenn_if_er people on the scene are also reporting that Jack was just escorted out.— Michael Flavin (@michaelflavin) August 17, 2014
KSDK (Channel 5) says Dorsey was not arrested, simply escorted away like French (below). --- 1:22 a.m. - Police did take Alderman Antonio French away for a moment, but he was not arrested. He's on Fox2Now right now.
STL County Jail does not have Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey in custody. #Ferguson— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) August 17, 2014
Police escorted @AntonioFrench out of crowd. I asked if they pulled him out of car. He said they asked politely.— William H. Powell (@WPowell19) August 17, 2014
A couple of folks have been arrested and loaded into a van. pic.twitter.com/eJIHjBHNNB— William H. Powell (@WPowell19) August 17, 2014
Information is hard to gather because journalists are limited to where they can stand. There's also lots of misinformation and rumors spreading rapidly on Twitter. Careful, St. Louis.
--- 1:09 a.m. - More "tear gas." Police say it's smoke, not tear gas, but still burns your eyes.
It was tear gas I was right in the middle of it. same as at night. unmistakable— Amy K. Nelson (@AmyKNelson) August 17, 2014
More tear gas being shot down Canfield.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
--- 1:01 a.m. - Someone has been shot.
Protesters retreat. More.tear.gas. #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 17, 2014
Man shot in leg. Just taken to hospital in car pic.twitter.com/DdMBc9l0vp— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 17, 2014
At least 15 gunshots just now. Cars speeding off, engines roaring. Police sirens. #Ferguson— joelcurrier (@joelcurrier) August 17, 2014
--- 12:48 a.m. - Tear gas fired at protesters. It's smoke, cops say. Journalists/leaders say that's a lie.
Molotov Cocktail tossed at Chop Suey restaurant, stomped out by protestor! #Fergurson— Marvin Bing (@MarvinBing) August 17, 2014
I tasted it and this was a lie RT @mattdpearce Police liaison tells press it's all been smoke, not gas.— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 17, 2014
Police make the first announcement: "This is the police department. You are violating the state-imposed curfew." Leave or face arrest "and/or other actions," police say.Things are moving fast.
There is a fire in the street.— William H. Powell (@WPowell19) August 17, 2014
Here comes the gas. Police are warning journalists. The small group of protesters are not flinching.
About 150 almost entirely young men up and down W Florissant waiting in the street ready for police #Ferguson— Umar Lee (@STLAbuBadu) August 17, 2014
"GAS! GAS! GAS!" Here we go.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 17, 2014
--- 12:35 a.m. - Police are gathering calmly away from protesters, near the businesses that were looted last night, including Feel Beauty Supply. A large crowd continues to gather just down the road. The chants have picked up again.
Crowd chants "we are Mike Brown! We have the right to assemble peacefully!"— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) August 17, 2014
Cops withdrawing from positions, moving back to staging area at Ferguson ave. #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 17, 2014
#Ferguson police lining up, protesters have moved part of the way up street yelling is louder— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 17, 2014
--- 12:20 a.m. - Still no violence. Police are gathering. People are chanting.
Crowd begins moving up West Florissant, chanting. "No justice, no curfew." Police seem ready. #Ferguson— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) August 17, 2014
Protesters have learned from police and are setting up their own blockade.
About 150 people are out on the streets in violation of curfew, according to police radio. Can hear chants of "we ready" at end of street— Joel D. Anderson (@blackink12) August 17, 2014
Demonstrators have made a barricade of cars across West Florissant. https://t.co/29966Xz4f2— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
12:00 at Red's Barbeque. https://t.co/8HFXUgoCj1— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
"No justice - no curfew!" #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
--- 11:57 p.m. - Ray Downs, our reporter at the scene, says there's a crowd nearby just waiting for midnight.
Heavy rains started almost exactly on stroke of midnight. Cops have not moved, though weather might enforce curfew for them #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 17, 2014
"They're not going to leave at twelve," he says. "The cops are going to do something with them."
The lot of Red's Barbeque has become the staging ground for the group looking for a confrontation with poli... https://t.co/PNcFoMsAs0— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
--- 11:45 p.m. - With minutes to go, our reporters say the crowd has thinned out, leaving about 100 demonstrators gathered on Canfield Drive. Leaders are urging folks to go home.
"Ain't no curfew for justice!" woman yells as ppl on loudspeakers urge protesters to go home before curfew. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
People yelling "Fuck 12," refusing to leave cuz of curfew. "I live here, man. It's the weekend. They can't make me leave." #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Several dozen protesters, many intoxicated, remain in the parking lot of Red's BBQ, at the corner of W. Florissant and Canfield. #Ferguson— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) August 17, 2014
Do the right thing and leave. Senator. https://t.co/vm7gpkGBBD— Jack (@jack) August 17, 2014
More live updates on the next page. 11:35 p.m. - OK, this is it folks. Peaceful protesters said they'd start leaving the area around 11:30 p.m., and many have already done so.The question is, will stragglers leave the area? Or are police in for a standoff?
30 minutes to midnight. Crowds have moved mostly north to Canfield and Florissant. "Get ready to gear up," I hear protester say. #Fergurson— Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) August 17, 2014
11:30 roll out. 11:45 they are making rounds. #ferguson— Jack (@jack) August 17, 2014
--- 11:22 p.m. - As the curfew nears, journalists head to the media staging area and many rained-on protesters are heading home. Captain Ron Johnson, who's in charge of police security in Ferguson, is in the parking lot of Ferguson Market and Liquor, which was looted last night after allegations that Michael Brown stole cigars from there just before he was shot by a Ferguson police officer. Protesters are gathering like they're ready to get rowdy, then calm down after talking to Johnson:
Very thin numbers as the curfew nears. Community leaders have been talking to the young guys. Many have already left #Ferguson.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
"I salute you sir." - protestor being won over by Johnson— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 17, 2014
That was a stunning moment. Masked protester removed his mask and told Johnson he salutes him. Wow. #ferguson— Jeremy Kohler (@jeremykohler) August 17, 2014
Malik Shabazz walking down Florissant hugging young folks, telling them he's their "big brother" and that everyone should go home at 11:30.— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Says police "have plan to slaughter us tonight" and to go home.— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Member of New Black Panthers says there might bet too many protesters to clear out before curfew. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Shabazz was stil urging people to go home. Some did. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 17, 2014
Here's our previous report on the New Black Panther Party here in Ferguson.See more live updates on the next page. 10:36 p.m. - We're finally getting details on the media staging area, where journalists will be sequestered after the curfew begins:
Media restricted to "staging area" in tiny parking lot of #Ferguson Market and Liquor during curfew. Journalists FACE arrest outside zone.— joelcurrier (@joelcurrier) August 17, 2014
--- 10:07 p.m. - There's a rumor that nearby municipalities are shutting down, but KMOX (1120 AM) says that's not true:
How the heck can you cover the effect of the curfew inside a tiny parking lot? Answer: you can't. Censorship? #Ferguson— joelcurrier (@joelcurrier) August 17, 2014
The neighboring town of Dellwood has instituted a 10PM curfew.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
Thursday night -- but more ominous. Thursday night didn't have a midnight curfew. Here are a few important images/moments from the scene:
Apparently Jennings and Dellwood, which border Ferguson have issued 10pm curfews.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 17, 2014
Half of protestors I talked to say they'll leave by curfew, others say they'll staying. Protestor who will leave: "We'll be back tomorrow."— Steph Lecci (@stephlecci) August 17, 2014
Girls I talk to across from QT not planning to get arrested. Will abide by curfew. Man on bullhorn demanding autopsy.— William H. Powell (@WPowell19) August 17, 2014
Protestors who say they will leave by curfew. "We are law abiding citizens." "I wish the media would show the unity." pic.twitter.com/oJbAP2BRjs— Steph Lecci (@stephlecci) August 17, 2014
But local activists who don't want the curfew to stop them from protesting are asking demonstrators to march from the QuikTrip at 11 p.m. into Dellwood, a neighboring community.
Leaders from the community will be out to clear the streets by midnight. Anyone here after that WILL NOT have the support of the community.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
As rain falls and demonstrators find shelter under a QuikTrip, one former gang member tells the Riverfront Times that police could have a difficult time quelling a crowd that's armed itself.
"People have the weapons the police have, the weapons the police have are the same weapons the people have on the streets," says Marvin Martin, 36. Martin says he used to be a member of the gang the Bloods, where he went by the name "D-Red."
"Overall, the city is already very, very dangerous," he says. And now, on a sixth night of unrest? "People are getting strapped." ---
6 p.m. - As police take over the Target parking lot here at W. Florissant Avenue and Lucas and Hunt Road, strapping on bullet-proof vests and preparing for a night of protests, a middle-aged man parks nearby and looks on from behind his sunglasses.
All this violence has reminded him of Cookie Thornton, the man who burst into a Kirkwood City Council meeting with guns blazing, fatally shooting five people, including council members and a police officer. The massacre forced mostly-white Kirkwood to face its racial tensions; Thornton, who is black, accused the council of exploiting his neighborhood for the profit of white people in town.
"This ain't that little town in Florida whre they killed Trayvon Martin," the man tells Daily RFT, declining to share his name. "This is St. Louis. There's a lot of history here."
He wasn't optimistic that the coming curfew would keep peace in Ferguson tonight. Rather, he says, police presence unites demonstrators and spurs them to keep protesting.
"These people ain't going to take it lying down, St. Louis ain't like that," he says. "I hope it won't happen, but all it takes is one bad move, and it'll be a blood bath."