What you see above is currently what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri. It is the fifth night of protests following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, with the only possible description being chaos.
Local police had asked demonstrators not to gather on Wednesday night, but many ignored the request and took to the streets. Authorities answered with riot gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets into houses and down the street, sending protestors fleeing and catching many journalists in the middle of it.
The confrontation comes hot on the heels of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announcing that details behind the Brown’s shooting would not be released anytime soon, leaving many desperate for answers. From the LA Times:
“We are still in the information-gathering part of the investigation,” McCulloch said in a televised news conference.
He urged anyone with information to come forward and promised that every piece of evidence would be reviewed, presented to a grand jury and eventually made public.
“There is no timeline” for that process, he said. “We will do it as expeditiously as possible, but we won’t rush through it…. It’s not going to happen in two weeks.”
Withholding details from the public during the criminal investigation will help investigators gauge witnesses’ credibility, he said.
If the grand jury returns an indictment, the evidence will come out over the course of a trial, he said. If there is no indictment, “absolutely everything will immediately be made public.”
None of this saves the fact that Ferguson, Missouri resembles something out of a combat zone. Apart from the increased police force against demonstrators, many have been arrested for forced to take shelter in homes. Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post were two journalists arrested and detained shortly by police. From The LA Times:
Lowery and Reilly tweeted that they were in a McDonald’s near a demonstration when police came inside and asked patrons to leave.
“Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of,” Lowery tweeted after his release. “Was waiting to be taken away, large black man SCREAMING for help in back of police truck. They refused his calls for paramedics. ‘I’m dying. I’m dying. Please call help’ he screamed. They mocked him.”
Lowery said he was released without paperwork or explanation.
You can see more from that incident here. We’ll update with more as it happens, but it is safe to say that things aren’t going to get solved anytime soon. Be sure to check out the live feed as it is happening.
Here’s some more from the scene via Antonio French, with plenty more on his Twitter and Vine accounts.
Here’s some of the fine people of Ferguson giving shelter to photographer David Carson:
And nothing is complete without a look at what the folks in charge are doing while things devolve into chaos. Here’s the latest Tweet from Governor Jay Nixon: