Another long night begins.
After two nights under a state-mandated curfew failed to quell escalating violence in Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb prepared Monday for a night without a curfew under the watchful gaze of the newest security force on the scene, the National Guard.
The atmosphere in Ferguson has already become a tense one, with protesters and journalists arrested. Clearly, police are strictly enforcing rules against gathering in certain areas, including a blanket ban on standing in demonstration on West Florissant Avenue.
As Ferguson prepares for its first night this week without a curfew, we'll be live updating this Daily RFT blog post with news from the scene and dispatches from our reporters on the ground. Check back with us throughout the night for the latest.
See all Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson. --- 3 a.m. - OK, folks, that's all we have. Check back in the morning for our story on the Holocaust survivor arrested at a Michael Brown rally in Ferguson and more coverage of this awful, awful night. Take care of yourselves, St. Louis. --- 2:21 a.m. - Press conference is starting. Our reporters are safely back at the office.
Police arrested 31 people -- some from as far away as New York and California -- that Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, Ferguson's police security leader, called "violent agitators" using peaceful protests as cover. Two men were shot.
Johnson said police came under heavy gunfire at the Canfield Green Apartments. Police confiscated two guns from a car with its windows down parked across from the media staging area. Despite being fired on, police did not discharge weapons, Johnson said.
Johnson made an emotional, nearly tearful plea to journalists not to glamorize violence or interfere with police operations."We can't have this," he told reporters. "We do not want to lose another life in this community."
Johnson said trouble began around 9:40 p.m., when a loud, non-aggressive group of protesters walked up to the police line. This had been happening all night as demonstrators weren't allowed to stop walking on West Ferguson Avenue, the main drag of late-night violence, but this time was different. The crowd grew large and unruly, and people in the middle and back of the crowd began throwing bottles.
If we're going to solve this, we're going to have to do this together. pic.twitter.com/YOEeq4YdZQ— FOX2now (@FOX2now) August 19, 2014
Then came the gunshots. Then the rescue mission, when police sent a SWAT vehicle down West Florissant Avenue to clear the crowd and retrieve gunshot wound victims. Two fires were reported, in a business and in an empty home. And at the Canfield Green Apartments, "our officers came under heavy gunfire," Johnson said.
A step behind police and gunmen alike were journalists -- some with credentials, some without, some working for international outlets, some volunteers with an ambitious livestream -- racing for the best shot. Johnson did not apologize for detaining journalists, saying officers released them immediately once their credentials are verified.
"We do take some of you into custody," Johnson said. "In the midst of chaos, trying to move people up, we have to be safe. We have to be safe."St. Louis County police tweeted photos of the items confiscated:
Guns seized tonight by police pic.twitter.com/RU4XEfcOEq— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 19, 2014
--- 1:55 a.m. - Ryan Deveraux, journalist for The Intercept, was detained:
Molotov cocktail seized by police pic.twitter.com/4sR7jRsGEJ— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 19, 2014
Police are driving through a residential neighbor, a side street off Florissant, with an APC shooting gas canisters— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 19, 2014
Rounds keep going off, we took cover in a yard— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 19, 2014
--- 1:23 a.m. - A harrowing account from the Belleville News Democrat at West Florissant Avenue and Northwinds Estates:
So much smoke in this neighborhood right now, seems like the police succeeded in clearing out the rest of the demonstrators— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 19, 2014
Police just shot at least three tear gas canisters at me. One hit my leg, one my backpack. #Ferguson— Jacqueline Lee (@BNDJLee) August 19, 2014
We held up media credentials. They drove into parking lot of private apartment complex and shot tear gas in circle, 10ft from us. #Ferguson— Jacqueline Lee (@BNDJLee) August 19, 2014
They circled us, shot tear gas. We're in bushes. Street we needed to get to car was blocked off by officers in armed vehicles. #Ferguson— Jacqueline Lee (@BNDJLee) August 19, 2014
I just heard a huge bang. I don't know what that was. #Ferguson— Patricia Bynes (@Patricialicious) August 19, 2014
They're firing rubber bullets #Ferguson— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) August 19, 2014
"They just tear gassed a whole neighborhood:" "People are getting rubber bullet-ed, this is not OK:"
That's for the area where the protesters are. Now for the fighters down by Canfield, they are definitely using gas and lots of it.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 19, 2014
They detained 2 foreign journalists who IDed themselves as journalists. Officer said, "You know you should have left a long time ago."— Patricia Bynes (@Patricialicious) August 19, 2014
"If you sit down in the road way, you make it easier for us to arrest you" - Police to this crowd. They start sitting in the street— Patricia Bynes (@Patricialicious) August 19, 2014
Capt. Johnson just said two protesters were shot with live fire from the "protest side."— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) August 19, 2014
Capt. Johnson confirms tear gas was used tonight on protesters after first deploying smoke bombs— Jon Passantino (@passantino) August 19, 2014
--- 12:34 a.m. - Amnesty International is not happy that no one is witnessing the fighting that police say is going on now at Canfield Drive and West Florissant Avenue.
I'm at the #Ferguson apartments behind the QuikTrip. I do see orange flames, smoke but it's unclear what is burning.— Jacqueline Lee (@BNDJLee) August 19, 2014
--- 12:20 a.m. - Blockades are making it difficult for anyone to move around out here. Press are unable to reach their cars.
US can't tell other countries to improve their records on policing and peaceful assembly if it won't clean up its own human rights record— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) August 19, 2014
There are ppl who get off late at night. They walk & take public transp. Just because this isn't YOUR life doesn't mean they are wrong.— Patricia Bynes (@Patricialicious) August 19, 2014
Back at my car. With police barricades in place I don't think I can get out of here— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 19, 2014
Police are keeping media from accessing West Florissant Avenue by Canfield Drive. Antonio French says there's a good reason why:
Entire neighborhood encased with barriers. No way out without driving through someone's lawn pic.twitter.com/UMU1oZbChe— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 19, 2014
This hero is holding it down strong:
The guys police are battling right now on Canfield are the fighters I described earlier. Reporters, you don't want to be over there now.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 19, 2014
Well, the police are evacuating the area. All this makes no sense. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
I haven't seen any national guard troops, just cops. Tense, pissed off cops. #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
There will be a press conference shortly at the command center.
Officers shining spotlights, lighting us up with helicopter lights. No one allowed to approach Canfield— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 19, 2014
Continue reading for more updates. 11:50 p.m. - Police are ordering protesters off the street and corralling media into a staging area. This is weird because the governor told Ferguson there would be no curfew tonight.
Arrests happening. At least four people were put on the ground and ziptied, says our reporter on the scene. Police are wearing gas masks."Those that didn't move fast enough were arrested here," says Danny Wicentowski, RFT reporter. Police are pushing protesters to the police line on the north end of West Florissant Avenue.
Police PA in Ferguson: "If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse or you will be subject to arrest"— Katie Hinman (@khinman) August 19, 2014
Police herding media to designated areas, loudspeakers telling people to disperse or face arrest, police starting to sweep now.— John Butler (@NewsDirKMOX) August 19, 2014
"If you are not credentialed media you need to disperse from the area." -- police bullhorn #ferguson— Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop) August 19, 2014
Police got everyone corraled. Tear gas drifting in the air. Some protesters still at it. Damn, I need a better gas mask. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
Police have fired multiple tear-gas and flash-bang canisters into the crowd at QuikTrip. An ominous cloud of gas is moving down to the other end of the street, where there's a strong line of police.Danny Wicentowski, the RFT reporter at the QuikTrip, says protesters are throwing canisters back at police and using portable toilets to block the road from police vehicles.
Protesters are washing the tear gas out of each other's eyes. That fire appears to be from a street sign.
I just got hit in the leg with the plastic cap of a flashbang grenade. I'm ok. They just fired more tear gas #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
Chaos at QuikTrip makes this super creepy:
Residents start fire in street in hopes of keeping police back. Several prepping for confrontation with homemade bombs.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 19, 2014
--- 10:45 p.m. - Someone stole a yield sign. Police don't like it.
At command center. National Guard holding down operations here. Very calm. pic.twitter.com/o0UyRIuVSm— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) August 19, 2014
"If you are carrying around a street sign that you illegally removed from the ground you may be subject to arrest." pic.twitter.com/YxxGa6FxFa— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 19, 2014
Danny Wicentowski, the RFT reporter at the QuikTrip says, four armored tanks and about 24 SWAT team members are showing restraint to the about 40 people demonstrating illegally in the parking lot. Another 30 or so people are watching from the rear parking lot, and media have gathered to watch along the road.
Around 100 (illegally) gathered at quiktrip. Loudspeaker: "YOU MAY BE SUBJECT TO ARREST!" pic.twitter.com/XWwE9MmO3f— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
The only thing keeping folks calm tonight is the tireless effort of community members and faith leaders. And Governor Jay Nixon knows it.
Water bottle thrown. "YOU NEED TO STOP THROWING OBJECTS OR YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST OR OTHER MEASURES!" #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
Thanks for nothing, Governor: no-fly zone. The governor's office has ordered that only relief aircraft be allowed under 3,000 feet above Ferguson.
Deeply appreciate the faith & civic leaders working w/ law enforcement to help protect rights of peaceful protesters & keep community safe— Governor Jay Nixon (@GovJayNixon) August 19, 2014
At one time there were 100s of protesters - most have dispersed - only several dozen remain. #Ferguson— Steve Futterman (@sfutterman) August 19, 2014
--- 10:14 p.m. - Police are ordering everyone onto the sidewalk. Reports of water bottles thrown.
Ebbs and flows. Seems like more media than protestors. #ferguson— Valerie Schremp Hahn (@valeriehahn) August 19, 2014
Once again, disturbers focus on big police presence. Easy to do. A water bottle can cause chaos here. Probly a buzz if you're 16. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
No tear gas yet. Just north of the Quiktrip, a crowd of about 75 people are lining up and antagonizing police, says RFT reporter Danny Wicentowski. Two armored trucks guard the area with SWAT team members with assault rifles and gas masks.
"Stop throwing objects," officers tell protesters. #Ferguson— Erica Smith (@ericasmith) August 19, 2014
Riot policen were stepping up. Malik Shabazz working ass off to keep ppl back. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
About 10 police vehicles took off south on West Florissant. We've been told the National Guard is taking over. #Ferguson— Joel D. Anderson (@blackink12) August 19, 2014
When police was trying to get crowd out of street, riot cops looked on edge. Everyone tense. Lots yelling, shoving among crowd. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
I see bottles hurled at police- some with liquid inside— Chris Hayes (@ChrisHayesTV) August 19, 2014
I spot ron johnson with cops. Some cops have fingers on triggers of beanbag guns #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
Things thrown police say crowd must disperse.— Willis Arnold (@WillisRArnold) August 19, 2014
The sound cannon has been turned off, and community leaders are still forming a peaceful line in front of police. Oh, just kidding, the sound cannon is back on.An armored police vehicle drove through the crowd on the street, dispersing demonstrators.
Apc drove at crowd, dispersed around it, cops now deploying behind protesters. I see sniper. Sound cannon is back. #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
See more on the next page. 9:50 p.m. - Uh oh, things are changing rapidly. Sound cannons are going off. Here's what happened:The crowd swells as protesters march toward police during their moving protest, and things quickly become tense. Someone throws a rock. Police form a line, and things calm down for a second.
Order to disperse or face arrest has been given, sound cannon ringing pic.twitter.com/IlaSrlbNm5— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 19, 2014
--- 9:45 p.m. - From Riverfront Times reporter Ray Downs: "Only businesses open are barber shop and burger joint. You can still get a snack and a shape-up."
Protesters crowding cop line. Police ordering media to "seperate yourselves from crowd" #Ferguson— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 19, 2014
And if you can't afford to pay for a meal, this family is handing out free food to protesters:
Captain Ron Johnson is updating the press and says things are much more low-key tonight: "Today we have more community leaders out here. Some are just mothers and fathers. Sisters and daughters are out here helping, asking people to leave the protest in peace." ---
Arrest just made in street.— Maria Altman (@radioaltman) August 19, 2014
Kid about 11y/o on a bike, wearing a surgical mask. #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
Street emptying. "If you're not press, you gotta go!" Officer yells. Tells people to keep it moving. #Ferguson— Valerie Schremp Hahn (@valeriehahn) August 19, 2014
Protesters now allowed to march to Chambers, about 1 mile more of space #Ferguson— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 19, 2014
More on the next page. 9 p.m. - Scott Olson, the Getty Images photographer who was arrested, is now free.
Tonight in #Ferguson so different from last night. People out focusing on the protest, no tear gas by police.— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) August 19, 2014
So far, protesters marching up and down West Florissant Avenue are calm, peaceful and wary, says Riverfront Times reporter Danny Wicentowski. Demonstrators, including parents with children, are walking on the sidewalks or gathering in parking lots, and "it looks like the cops are letting people do their thing," he says.
I just spoke to my dad, Scott Olson. He's out of jail and said "looks like protests are kicking up. I'm going back to work." #Ferguson— Justin (@JJMerrif) August 19, 2014
The scene on the street:
--- 8:45 p.m. - Oh, also, Nelly is here. Of course.We may be in turmoil, y'all, but this is still the Lou.
Nelly to #ferguson protestors: "We can't overreact." Says showing destruction is working backwards.— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) August 19, 2014
Lot of people seriously unimpressed with Nelly. "You got options," he tells crowd. "YOU got options - you're rich," a guy shouts back.— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 19, 2014
I could stomach the looting and arson, but it's time to ask ourselves if it's worth living in a world that is unimpressed with Nelly.— Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) August 19, 2014
More live updates on the next page. ---
It's your right to protest...we have an operational plan to address (criminal element) -- Capt. Ron Johnson #ferguson— Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop) August 19, 2014
And these are the guys who will be in charge of "addressing" that criminal element:
The other element blends in w large groups, that's why no one can congregate. -- Capt Ron Johnson #ferguson— Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop) August 19, 2014
Riverfront Times managing editor Jessica Lussenhop caught this arrest on camera in front of the McDonald's that was busted into last night. Police say it was attacked by looters, but images show many protesters using milk from the restaurant to help people hit by tear gas.
Images of Getty photographer Scott Olson being arrested in Ferguson, taken by fellow Getty photographer Joe Raedle pic.twitter.com/NEul6TnsKG— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) August 18, 2014
Update, 9:18 p.m.: Police arrested at least two people for failure to disperse and disorderly conduct, the Associated Press reports.
Police aren't messing around, even if the world is watching. While Don Lemon was broadcasting live on CNN, police tried to shove him down the road along with a group of protesters.
"I think we're about to be arrested because we're standing on a sidewalk," Lemon tells the CNN anchors who ask what it's like in Ferguson today. "You can see what's happening. We've been standing here all day. They told us to come here. I can't move. I'm not going to resist a police officer."