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FERGUSON • The images from suburban streets here have been unreal. A police officer in riot gear, assault rifle strapped across his chest, baton in hand, staring at the camera. Police dogs, crouched in frenzied anticipation. Tear gas rising into the night sky. Armored trucks backlit by street lamps.

Police have maintained the weapons and show of force are necessary to control crowds, to protect themselves and property and to avoid more looting and destruction.

The photos transcend Ferguson, lean on history, and echo the conflicts of our nation’s past.  But, at the same time, they also document this particular conflict, encapsulating the modern police force by its armor, masks, trucks and guns.

Ministers try peaceful protest through Ferguson

Riot police moved in when protesters refused to get out of W. Florissant in Ferguson on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Many protesters raised their hands but refused to move. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Confronting state troopers

Protester Boss Bastain of St. Louis locked arms with others as they confronted Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in front of the Ferguson police station on Aug. 11, 2014, at the start of a third day of protests following the police shooting of Michael Brown. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Police clear streets before sundown in Ferguson

Police officers man a roadblock on Ferguson Avenue near West Florissant as they clear the area of residents and shutter businesses on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

Ministers try peaceful protest through Ferguson

More than 60 riot police lined W. Florissant Avenue in Ferguson on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, and asked the crowd of protesters to disperse. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Ferguson Wednesday Night

A St. Louis County police officer keeps watch on the surroundings as other officers search a vehicle and three men they believed may have been involved in an assault on West Florissant Ave. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson. It was the fourth night of unrest in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of a teen on Saturday. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

Ferguson Wednesday early morning

Protesters stand-off against the police across W. Florissant Ave. at Chambers Ave. late on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Ferguson. The protesters were eventually cleared from the intersection and dispersed with tear gas. It was the third night of unrest in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of a teen on Saturday. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

Crowd control debris

A collection of some of the debris found near the intersection of Lang Drive and W. Florissant Avenue where police used crowd control devices to subdue and break up groups of protesters. Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Tear gas Fired in Ferguson

A man an expired tear gas canister fired near the intersection of Lang Drive and W. Florissant Avenue on Monday night, Aug. 11, 2014. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

 

David Hunn is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.