Mayhem Descends on Ferguson Once Again

Reports also show that police officers were trying to isolate media from protesters. Around 11 p.m., tensions escalated between police and locals. Ron Johnson was spotted amongst the officers on duty.

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After what looked like a day of relative calm, Monday night in Ferguson has devolved into another day of chaos and shooting. Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, lifted the midnight curfew and called in the National Guard, but tonight's clashes between police and protesters look to be among the worst of this nine-day ordeal. Protesters entered the streets once more for a peaceful march, however, once again arrests were made, tear gas was used, gunshots were heard, and tensions were at an all-time high.

The Wire has been gathering updates and news bits throughout the evening, which you can follow below and we will continue to update as news comes in. (All times are Central, or local time.)

The Latest

Captain Ron Johnson gave a late night press conference around 2:30 a.m. to update the current situation. Johnson says that the protests were mostly peaceful until "a tiny minority" began throwing bottles and Molotov cocktails at police. At one point, he said police came under "heavy gunfire," but that not a single gunshot was fired by police in response. "These are not acts of protesters, these are the acts of criminals," he said. Police also displayed two confiscated guns and unused Molotov cocktails as evidence.

Johnson also asked "peaceful protesters" to come again on Tuesday, but during the day, to let their voice be heard, adding "let the criminals come at night," so they can be removed from the community. There will be no curfew tomorrow. In all, 31 people were arrested.

"This nation is watching each and every one of us," said Johnson. "We'll have to solve this together."


Journalists also once again clashed with local police officers on Monday. Since the protests began, a number of journalists have been in trouble with the law. While some were formally arrested, others were just temporarily ziptied and were let free shortly thereafter. On August 15th, authorities in Ferguson acknowledged press should be free to report on the case as they see fit. Nonetheless, journalists continue to be arrested and threatened by officers:

Earlier in the day on Monday, photographer Scott Olson of Getty Images was arrested, and later released, for his work on the scene.

Getty Images offered this statement about the arrest:

Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson, who was arrested this afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri, while on assignment, has been released. Scott told me tonight, “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job.”

Getty Images condemns Scott’s arrest and is committed to ensuring that he and our other photographer colleagues are able to report this important story.

Hedy Epstein was also arrested. Epstein is a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor known for her work for the Free Gaza Movement and her involvement in the Nuremberg trials. She was charged with "failing to disperse."

At least eight people were arrested on Monday evening.

Reports also show that police officers were trying to isolate media from protesters. Around 10:00 p.m., tensions escalated between police and locals. The crowd threw debris at police, and marched towards them with linked arms. This strategy was also used in the large Times Square protest last week.

In order to disperse the crowd, police blared sirens and large "sonic weapons," like often seen during Occupy protests of recent years.

Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Police was spotted amongst the officers on duty. He helped to calm the situation and did not wear riot gear:

Black Panther Leader Malik Shabazz also tried to de-escalate tensions:

For local children, the protests mean school will be canceled for the rest of the week. The local school system offered this explanation:

All schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed Tuesday, August 19 through Friday, August 22 due to continued unrest in and around Ferguson, Mo. This decision was made after much careful deliberation and consideration of input received from local law enforcement officials and District security staff.

We believe that closing schools for the rest of this week will allow needed time for peace and stability to be restored to our community and allow families to plan ahead for the additional days that children will be out of school.

While we deeply regret this delay to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, our first priority is the safety of our students.

Due to this change, the first day of school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be on Monday, August 25. 

Rappers J. Cole and Nelly have joined protesters in Furgeson. Nelly is a native of St. Louis who has been urging a peaceful protest and speaking out against looting since the situation escalated in Ferguson.

Local clergymen also joined the protest in full force:

While tensions were lessened by Johnson and Shabazz around 10:00 p.m., after midnight, a building was spotted on fire:

Police officers shot what appears to be a wax bullet into the crowds:

Tear gas was used once again and molotov cocktails were thrown from the crowd:

Around midnight local time, police officers began urging protesters and press off of the streets, though no formal curfew is set at this time. Officers stood with their guns drawn:

UPDATE (1:00 a.m.)

It was earlier believed that just one person was hit with gunfire this evening, however, it seems at least two were:

One of the most striking images of the night came from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which capture this officer firing off tear gas canister from a launcher.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.