Six arrests made as protests in Ferguson stay small, peaceful

Six arrests made as protests in Ferguson stay small, peaceful

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Six arrests were made by officers patrolling the streets of Ferguson late Wednesday and early today, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said.

Speaking at a brief press conference at 1:30 a.m., he said the 11th night of protests was fairly calm although an officer was hit by a bottle at one point. He said the officer was uninjured.

Johnson credited the officers as well as the "law-abiding men and women and teenagers of Ferguson" and the large contingent of clergy and church elders who came to the streets Wednesday night for keeping the protest in check.

He also said the protesters were a quieter group. "We didn't have as many of the agitators," Johnson said.

He said no fires were set, no one was shot and no guns were confiscated. The officers did not use smoke, tear gas or pepper spray on anyone, unlike in some past nights when the protests turned violent.

Johnson did not detail the charges in all of the arrests, but he said some were for failure to disperse.

Johnson, who is leading the security contingent, also credited the visit on Wednesday by Attorney General Eric Holder for helping lessen the tension on the streets. He said he believed the visit "let the community know their voices were heard."

Staff report, 1:50 a.m. Thursday

The streets of Ferguson clogged by protests for more than a week were nearly cleared out early Thursday as people headed home after a night unmarred by tear gas or violence.

By 12:15 a.m., there were two or three sets of two or three protesters doing the loop on West Florissant Avenue. And police officers on Wednesday night put helmets on only once, and only briefly. The helmets on past nights have sent a signal to the crowd that things were escalating. 

With the exception of one heated moment when pro-Michael Brown supporters exchanged words with two people backing the Ferguson police officer who killed him, the crowd was one of the smallest and best behaved since the protests began.

Police officers remained hopeful early Thursday that the calm would last into the weekend, when tensions flared a week ago. 

About 100 St. Louis area clergy members wore bright orange "Clergy United" T-shirts as they walked with protesters. They made up at least half the crowd and got much of the credit for keeping the night calm. 

"When things heat up we don't mind jumping into the middle of the fuss because we know who watches us," said Pastor Doug Hollis.

Protesters also counseled each other to stay civil and avoid giving police officers a reason to use tear gas -- which was avoided Tuesday night and again on Wednesday night. 

Steve Giegerich, Lilly Fowler, 12:07 a.m. Thursday

Pro-Wilson supporters evacuated for safety

A pair of protesters supporting Officer Darren Wilson joined the throng of protesters supporting the 18-year-old he killed Wednesday night in Ferguson, turning the mood of some in the crowd ugly. 

Two people showed up at the protests shortly after 8 p.m. carrying signs of support for Wilson. Many in the crowd shouted at them but took no other action. The mood of the crowd turned ugly, and the rain started falling about 8:30 p.m. -- just as tensions peaked. Many protesters took shelter under store awnings. 

One of the pro-Michael Brown protesters said of the pair: "They're trying to incite a riot."

Police evacuated the pro-Wilson demonstrators from the scene for their own safety. The protesters declined to give their names. 

As the rain eased after several minutes, protesters returned to West Florissant and chanted, "We're young, we're strong, we're marching all night long."

Shortly before 9 p.m, about 125 protesters were gathered -- a number that in the past has grown as the hour gets later. 

Steve Giegerich and Nicholas J.C. Pistor, 8:50 p.m. Wednesday

House Speaker makes low-key stop in Ferguson

Also endorsing the call for a special prosecutor was Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who visited on Wednesday the spot where Brown was killed and spoke to Ferguson residents and reporters. Jones backed the call for replacing McCulloch and criticized Gov. Jay Nixon for having been “all over the map” in the 11 days since Brown was killed.

“When you have that many people asking (for a special prosecutor), the best thing to me is to avoid the appearance of impropriety ... and appoint a special prosecutor,” Jones told reporters.

A regular critic of Nixon in Jefferson City, Jones said the governor should have gotten involved in the case sooner than he did. “This is the first time an incident of this kind has occurred in this state,” Jones said. In the early days, Jones said, “He himself was not very engaged at all.”

Jones said he listened to residents’ concerns. “A lot of people still have a lot of raw emotions and are concerned,” he said. “They are concerned about justice being truly served.” 

Lisa Brown, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Fundraising site for officer raises more than $97,000

A fundraising site created to support Officer Darren Wilson had raised more than $97,000 as of 9 p.m Wednesday. It has a goal of $100,000.

The site says, “We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.

“Thank you to everyone who continually reaches out to us to offer words of encouragement and prayers.”

The site is at http://www.gofundme.com/SupportOfficerWilson

Valerie Hahn, 9:10 p.m. Wednesday

Small crowd in early evening protests in Ferguson

Protesters began their nightly marches up and down West Florissant on Wednesday night, with reporters outnumbering protesters in the early going.

The steamy evening -- temperatures were in the mid-80s with high humidity shortly after 7 p.m. -- took its toll on the early energy level.

Among the protesters was Mubarack Sulamann, who traveled to Ferguson from Memphis to peddle T-shirts that read "Justice for Mike Brown." The cost? $10.

Some of the protesters discussed plans to march to the Ferguson Police Department, but that plan has fizzled for several nights once they realize the police department is four miles away.

-- Steve Giegerich, 8:15 p.m Wednesday

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is meeting with the parents of Michael Brown downtown at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.

Afterward he will meet with elected officials, including Gov. Nixon, U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and U.S. Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City.

All the meetings are closed to the press.

Holder arrived in St. Louis about 11 a.m. Wednesday to meet with FBI agents and Justice Department personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation into the shooting of Brown.

He also spent time talking to students and other members of the community.

Read more about Holder's visit here.

- Kevin McDermott, 5:15 p.m. Monday

Eric Holder: A letter for the people of Ferguson

Archbishop Carlson celebrates special mass for Brown's family, an end to racism

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, about 500 worshippers gathered at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica in Lindell Boulevard to pray for Michael Brown and his family. Archbishop Robert Carlson celebrated the Mass. Among those attending was Mayor Francis Slay.

Said Carlson, “We must examine the tragic events taking place in the St. Louis area, seek to understand 'Why?' and work toward dismantling systemic racism. Until the causes are addressed and rectified, there will be no change.”

Carlson said the archdiocese would reestablish a human rights commission and work to provide more school scholarships.

Among the concelebrants was Rev. Robert “Rosy” Rosebrough, pastor of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta parish in Ferguson. “Beneath the surface of Michael Brown's death are a lot of issues,” Rosebrough said.  

Prayer cards handed out included a special appeal to God: “May you console Michael Brown's family with your healing grace, and walk with the family of the policeman involved in the shooting.”

Said Slay, "The archbishop invoked St Louis' bravest Catholic moments to call for a new activism. I thought his tone was both inspiring and very practical." 

-- Lilly Fowler, 8 p.m.

Clergy and others march to Justice Center this evening

Shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, about 100 people marched from Clayton High School eight blocks to the Justice Center for a rally organized by a clergy group. It called for replacement of McCulloch with a special prosecutor, "an expedited grand jury hearing to indict Officer Darren Wilson" and an investigation into racial profiling.

Participants sang and carried signs saying, "Black lives matter," and "Taser, then talk." A few officers stood outside the Justice Center when the marchers arrived.

The Rev. Julie Taylor, a minister at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Ellisville, said she had been to Ferguson and believed that clergy there had reduced tensions and save lives.

"We uphold the principle that every life has inherent worth and dignity." Taylor said. "Talk is talk, but I need to put my body on the line, too."

The Rev. Chuck Tobin of Kansas City, a retired Catholic priest, said he visited Ferguson Wednesday before joining the evening.

"I'm here for solidarity more than anything and to listen what's going on with the people," Tobin said. "Until you walk it, you really don't get a feel for it."

-- Valerie Schremp Hahn, 8 p.m.

City releases videotape showing Darren Wilson

 The city of Ferguson released a videotape Wednesday that showed Officer Darren Wilson being commended for outstanding police work.

The videotape, taken at a city council meeting in February, marked the first time the city confirmed any kind of image of Wilson, who has not been seen since the Aug. 9 shooting. 

Staff, 6:45 p.m. 

• • •

Evidence presented to grand jury

Evidence in the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer was presented to a grand jury beginning this morning.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch said it could be the middle of October before his office has presented all of the evidence in the Michael Brown slaying to the grand jury.

Two assistant prosecutors on McCulloch's staff will begin presenting evidence later today to the grand jury in secret, as is protocol. But McCulloch said not all of the evidence is ready to be presented, and he said the grand jury's term that expires in September will likely be extended just for this case.

He made his comments Wednesday morning in a radio interview with McGraw Milhaven on KTRS-AM 550 and another with the Post-Dispatch. Read more of what he had to say here.

The grand jury will consider criminal charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed Brown, 18, on Aug. 9.

"We will have no comment about any evidence or statement from witnesses that are presented to the grand jury," said Ed Magee, a spokesman for McCulloch's office. "All evidence from both the St. Louis County police investigation and the FBI's will be presented to the grand jury."

Magee said if the grand jury does not indict Wilson, all evidence and statements will be released immediately. If he is indicted, the evidence will be presented at trial.

About 40 people and at least twice as many media members gathered in front of courthouse by 9 a.m.

A line of about 20 officers stood side by side on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, while marchers circled in the street.

- Kim Bell, 8:15 a.m. Wednesday

• • •

51 arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning

County Police reported Wednesday that that 51 people were arrested between 8 a.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Ferguson protests. Only one of the suspects lives in Ferguson.

Nine of them were from other states, including people from Chicago; New York; Westport, Conn.; Austin, Texas; and Cincinnati. Fourteen suspects are from St. Louis city, three from places in Missouri outside St. Louis city-county, and the remaining 24 from St. Louis County, including five from Jennings, three from Florissant and nine from unincorporated neighborhoods.

Most are from north county, but one each are from Crestwood and Creve Coeur. Most of them were charged in refusal to disperse, but four were charged with unlawful use of a weapon and three were charged with possession of burglary tools.

-- Leah Thorsen, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

• • •

Incident report released

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch received a copy of the St. Louis County Police incident report of the shooting death of Michael Brown, but it offers no new details.

The incident report, just over one page long, lists the basics of the investigation, such the address of the shooting (2947 Canfield Drive) and time the shooting occurred (12:02 p.m. on Aug. 9). It did not shed any light into the probe about what led to the shooting.

The report lists the offense being investigated as a homicide and Brown as the victim.

- Joel Currier and Leah Thorsen, 5 p.m. Wednesday

• • • 

Attorney for witness dispels rumors that story has changed

Dorian Johnson, witness to the Michael Brown killing, has not met with investigators since he was first questioned and has not recanted his statement, his lawyer said today.

Attorney Freeman Bosley said Johnson's statement that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson chased Brown, who put up his hands in surrender before being fatally wounded, stands. Bosley said he has been dealing with rumors that Johnson has changed his story most of the day.

- Staff, 1:15 p.m. Wednesday

  • • • 

Tense moment as supporter of officer shows up at protest

While about 40 people protested the killing of Michael Brown outside the St. Louis County Courthouse, one woman  walked into the protest area holding a sign expressing support for Officer Darren Wilson. Patty Canter's sign read: "My family and friends support Officer Wilson and the police."

Chanting "What about police rights?" and "Police officers have rights, too," Canter, of Clayton, marched near the Brown protesters but did not try to break their line. Once protesters noticed her presence, they began shouting, "Go home! Go home!"

Replied Canter to the crowd: "I have Constitutional rights. I'm not going anywhere."

As the crowd became more agitated by Canter's presence, Clayton and county police officers escorted her from the area and put her into a police vehicle. When a reporter asked her if she was under arrest, Canter said, "No. Why would I be?"

- Joe Holleman, 11 a.m. Wednesday

  • • • 

Outburst interrupts night of relative peace in Ferguson

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said 47 people were arrested and three loaded handguns were seized during the protests Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

In a news conference that began at about 2:15 Wednesday morning, Johnson said officers interrupted criminal activities and prevented violence.

"Protest crowds were a bit smaller, and they were out earlier," he said, noting that no Molotov cocktails were thrown or bullets fired by protesters.

However, he said some "criminals and agitators" threatened police, threw glass and plastic bottles — some filled with urine — at officers and hid behind members of the media covering the protests.

He said one of the arrested was a man from Austin who had been arrested twice previously for actions at the protests.

Johnson praised religious and community leaders with keeping tensions lower than in recent nights. He also thanked hundreds of volunteers who cleaned area streets and businesses.

"That is the true spirit of Ferguson," Johnson said.

Police moved in quickly after the bottles were thrown, rushing from the QuikTrip area, heading south on West Florissant and pushing people back. An officer on a loudspeaker told people to disperse immediately. One protester smashed a television crew's camera, ordering a journalist to turn it off.

As police moved in to arrest one protester, other people threw water bottles at the assembling police officers.

A long line of police officers formed in the middle of the street, and a line of peacekeeping protesters joined arms in front of them to try to block troublemakers from police.

West Florissant Avenue was mostly clear of protesters by 1 a.m., but a heavy police presence remained.

Earlier, police had asked protesters to move out of the street to the approved assembly area at an old Ford dealership at 9026 West Florissant Avenue. Protesters were told that they could stay in that spot overnight.

A contingent of about 10 observers from the human rights group Amnesty International was among those in the assembly area.

Several of the more aggressive protesters were arrested in sporadic clashes with police. No tear gas was used in those clashes but there was isolated use of pepper spray.

- Jesse Bogan, 2:35 a.m. Wednesday

• • •

• • •

More than $95,000 raised to help Michael Brown family

A crowdfunding site set up for the family of Michael Brown had helped raise more than $95,000 by Tuesday night for a memorial fund to help his family. The goal was $80,000.

"Their pursuit for justice will be lengthy and hard but with the support of the community they will get justice," the site says.   "If you are willing to support Michael’s family please donate to Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund.  These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf.  All funds will be given to the Michael Brown family.  We appreciate your support."

The site was set up by the family's lawyers, Benjamin L. Crump and Anthony D. Gray.

The site is at http://www.gofundme.com/justiceformikebrown

- Valerie Schremp Hahn, 8:22 p.m. Tuesday

• • •

Police receive call about people living in abandoned school near church that has hosted rallies.

 

A tweet making the rounds Wednesday claimed that officers had gone into a church in the Ferguson area -- a report that was denied by police and by people at Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, 9950 Glen Owen Drive at Chambers Road, where rallies have been held in support of the Browns. Later that evening, County Police said officers had responded to a call at an abandoned school building near the church and several people who appeared to have been living there.

• • •

United Way opens resource center

A community resource drop-in center will open Wednesday for individuals and families impacted by the unrest in Ferguson and living in the 63135 and 63136 zip codes.

The center will be open daily for the remainder of the week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dellwood Recreation Center, 10266 West Florissant Avenue. It will be closed Saturday, but open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Residents can get respite, hot meals, food staples and access to resources from other local agencies. Children's activities will also be available.

Bring a photo ID and a current utility bill to access the services.

A free shuttle will be available from the following locations:

- Glen Owen and Longford

- Glen Owen and Andros

- Glen Owen and Windward

- Canfield and Stonefield

- Canfield and Caddlefield

- Glen Owen and Bahama

- Glen Own and Exuma

- Canfield Leasing Office

Dial 2-1-1 or call 1-800-427-4626 for more information or to get access to immediate resources such as counseling.

-Michele Munz, 3:30 p.m.

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