Saturday, August 16, 2014

LIVE: Ferguson Protesters Break Curfew, Face Off With Police

Posted By on Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 8:47 PM

click to enlarge Protesters in Ferguson out past curfew. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Danny Wicentowski
  • Protesters in Ferguson out past curfew.

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?

During Ferguson's first night under curfew, Daily RFT will be live updating this story with news from reporters in the field, Danny Wicentowski and Ray Downs. Follow them on Twitter for live updates.

See all Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and protests in Ferguson.

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.

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. --- 1:45 a.m. - Our reporters on the ground in Ferguson are leaving and coming back to the RFT office, saying the crowd has dispersed after gas was fired and rain picked up again. They seem shocked to hear police are claiming they threw smoke, not tear gas. Here's what Ferguson looked like as we left: --- 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. 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. --- 1:15 a.m. - Arrests begin.

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. --- 1:01 a.m. - Someone has been shot. --- 12:54 a.m. - Our reporter on the scene Danny Wicentowski says a St. Louis County police cruiser drove north on Florissant Avenue, and he heard loud cracks. He says he thinks they were rubber bullets. Lots and lots of smoke canisters fired, and there are flares in streets. The police line has not moved. --- 12:48 a.m. - Tear gas fired at protesters. It's smoke, cops say. Journalists/leaders say that's a lie. --- 12:40 a.m. - Police are moving forward, starting with armored vehicles. The protesters are chanting loudly and discordantly, "Hands up, don't shoot."

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. Here comes the gas. Police are warning journalists. The small group of protesters are not flinching. --- 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. --- 12:20 a.m. - Still no violence. Police are gathering. People are chanting. Protesters have learned from police and are setting up their own blockade. More updates on the next page.

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