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As Police Continue Ferguson Crackdown, Protestors Vow to Keep Taking The Streets

As Police Continue Ferguson Crackdown, Protestors Vow to Keep Taking The Streets

This post was written by Mike Ludwig. Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

Dee Nixon said he goes out to protest in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri before work, and then comes back out again after work.

“I’m going to keep coming out, day, everyday,” said Nixon, a 22-year-old resident of Ferguson who attended another demonstration Monday night.

Nixon said he learned from his mother that he was related to Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by local police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, only after Brown died. His daily participation in the protests against the killing, Nixon said, is ” about family.”

“Because it could have happened to any of us,” Nixon told me.

As we spoke, a scuffle broke out across the street as a group of riot police grabbed and arrested a protester. Hundreds of people had just finished marching in protest of Brown’s killing and the general treatment of black people in the St. Louis area by law enforcement.

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A row of riot cops and National Guardsman stood with weapons drawn and armored vehicles and squad cars parked behind. Photo: Mike Ludwig

Many of the marchers had already gone home, but dozens of activists, journalists, community leaders and youth – visibly angry about the murder of their peer – had stayed at an intersection, where a row of riot cops and National Guardsman stood with weapons drawn. Behind them was a line of armored vehicles and squad cars leading back toward a command center established in a strip mall by state police.

Local businesses on the street had boarded up their windows after several nights of clashes on West Florissant Avenue, where the city’s most confrontational protests have occurred over the past week.

People in Ferguson have been protesting for 10 days now and are showing no sign of stopping. Police have blamed “criminals” and outside agitators for stirring up violence during nighttime demonstrations, but on Monday night, it was clear that the police — along with their military-grade weapons — were a provocation in and of themselves. It was a cop that fatally shot Michael Brown, after .

“We’re just trying to have the same rights as you,” one angry demonstrator told a group of mostly white journalists.

“I think it’s the fact that everybody is upset. This has happened too many times,” said a local man who told me his name was Gerard. “First I thought they were going to continue with [the protests] until they released the officer’s name, you know, but now I think they are going to keep going until the officer is convicted.”

A few skirmishes broke out in the intersection where police had drawn their line in front of the command center and constructed a media pen for journalists in a parking lot, but after a few arrests were made, the crowd thinned and it seemed like the protest was over. Then, down the street, the familiar sounds of flash bang grenades were heard as sparks and tear gas filled the air.

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Photo: Mike Ludwig

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Photo: Mike Ludwig

Protesters had dragged traffic cones and portable toilets into the street, and a few small fires could be seen burning through the tear gas. Gunshots rang out from a side street. Some protesters grabbed the gas grenades and threw them back.

As the smoke cleared and activists treated people blinded by tear gas, police could be seen casing a restaurant with automatic weapons drawn. Protesters told reporters that the police starting filling the street with tear gas after a few plastic bottles were thrown.

“My anger is seeing my people, black or white, brown or blue, getting hurt,” said Travis Sowell, a 19-year-old black man who gave an emotional testimony to reporters after the clash. “What I’m going to do is stand here every night . . . no pillow, no covers.”

A group of young protesters, unfazed by the clash and the tear gas, soon began chanting “Mike Brown” in front of the news cameras.

In an early morning press conference, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who has taken over security in Ferguson, blamed “criminals” and outside agitators for inciting the violence that sparked aggressive police responses in Ferguson, and asked that the community no longer protest at night.

Gerard’s friend Mike, who had a T-shirt wrapped around his face, told me that violence broke out during a protest on the night of August 17 only after the police tried to contain demonstrators.

“Everybody from Ferguson is from around here, this is their neighborhood,” Gerard said. “Even outside people, it hits home. St. Louis is not a big city; we’re a big little city . . . if this guy doesn’t get convicted, man, for shooting an unarmed 18-year-old, then it’s going to be chaos.”

Police had cleared the streets by 2 am, but the late-night protesters in Ferguson had once again made their point. If there is no justice for Michael Brown, there will be no peace.

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Photo Credit: Mike Ludwig

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117 comments

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6:23PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

If a black cop killed a white person, it's doubtful that story would have made the news let alone a discussion on Care2.

10:13AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

@ Marc P. "If I should suffer a home invasion, the criminals picked the wrong person. I will kill someone. Period". Whoa, tough guy.Then you don't have to violate the "no snitching" law, but only the laws of our justice system. Unfortunately that doesn't work well for a black female single parent whose three year old child is shot to death in a drive by shooting. When you go to prison, be sure to join the group that fits your ethnicity to avoid being killed. BTW, your comment smacks of vigilanteism.


10:01AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

@ Monica C."Not sure why six bullets were needed regardless of skin color". Could it be because the first shots, not being in the torso as police are instructed to shoot, did not stop the assault by a six foot plus 200 pound plus "unarmed teenager " ?@ Angela P. ""if this guy doesn’t get convicted, man, for shooting an unarmed 18-year-old, then it’s going to be chaos.” That isn't a call for justice. It is a demand for a lynching with a threat if that doesn't happen. I know that some police commit crimes, sometimes the entire police force as in the Bambi Bembenek case, but while generalization is justified, it is wrong to apply it to an individual case, especially when confronted by black racist demands.




10:41PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Not sure why six bullets were needed regardless of skin color. Seems excessive.

12:20PM PDT on Aug 24, 2014

ty

1:31PM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

Yay, this should actually help make Ferguson police behave themselves, and provide solid evidence for if any future shootings were justified or not.

City of Ferguson Pledges to Outfit Officers with Vest Cameras
http://www.thewire.com/national/2014/08/city-of-ferguson-pledges-to-foster-diverse-police-force-and-vest-cameras/378778/

11:30PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

It is completely premature to imply that a murder was committed. A young man is dead, a police officer has already been convicted in the court of public opinion, at least in the opinion of those who can't seem to base their opinions on known facts, a community is in turmoil, creepy thugs have used the tragic event to loot and riot, too bad the store owners were not armed with shotguns. In the end we can only hope justice will be served for Michael Brown and for the officer accused of shooting him. No matter which way that justice will turn out to go as long as it is based on fact and not conjecture or emotional trauma. This is the only thing these protesters have a right to demand, that justice prevails. No need for buffoons like Al Sharpton to agitate the already turbulent waters.

9:12PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

What a mess.

5:04PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

Ernest R.: If I should suffer a home invasion, the criminals picked the wrong person. I will kill someone. Period. When have you ever heard of police STOPPING a home invasion, boy genius? Police show up after the carnage and REPORT home invasions after the fact. That's about it. I am tired of police sympathizer bootlicks trying to convince people that cops are the cure for all of societies evils and that this is some excuse for them to wantonly shoot unarmed citizens on the street. Your comment reeks of bigotry.

4:23PM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

Thanks for sharing Mr. Ludwig's enlightening post from Truthout.org.

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