FERGUSON, Mo. – The beleaguered town of Ferguson, Mo. saw continued protests throughout most of the day on Tuesday concerning the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The demonstrations began peacefully but ultimately descended into more chaos.
Protesters began marching around 5:30 p.m. on West Florissant Avenue as they have the past few days. The events remained peaceful — even calm — nearly all night.
While police had attempted to set up an “approved assembly area,” many protesters elected to march up and down the street.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol visited the approved assembly area. He said he wanted to talk to community members about their thoughts. However, his presence only seemed to anger the protesters. Several referred to him as a “puppet.”
After Johnson’s exit, intense chants of “hands up, don’t shoot” began. Another chant was: “We young, we strong, we marching all night long.”
For much of the night, the protests were focused, something the past few nights distinctly lacked. Ministers and community leaders managed to keep the event substantially more organized than it has been in previous nights.
One police officer was overheard saying there was “nothing wrong with this (protest).”
For a long time, police made no advances towards the protesters.
In lieu of the wall of officers from Monday night, police lined the streets at around 11:20 p.m.
The ministers held a prayer at 11:30 p.m. They then attempted to disperse the crowd. Police tried to move the protesters to the approved assembly area, warning that staying on Florissant Avenue was tantamount to illegal assembly.
Then the situation became intense.
Some protesters grew agitated and eventually began throwing plastic bottles full of water and urine at officers. When the officers began charging protesters, community leaders formed a chain to create a buffer between the two factions.
Agitators in the amassed crowd then fled into a dedicated media area near a Public Storage facility to hide from officers. Next, police gave the scattered journalists covering the protest conflicting advice about where to go. Some said to go to the dedicated media area. Others said to head to the command center about a mile away in a Target parking lot.
Eventually, amid growing chaos, officers began gang-rushing certain individuals.
The cops also formed lines and pushed everyone to the corner of Florissant Ave. and Ferguson Ave.