Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another Long Night

Police used sound cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds in Ferguson last night.

Two people were shot and police launched several rounds of tear gas late Monday night to clear the streets of Ferguson amid a tense confrontation between police and protesters, authorities said Tuesday.

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, told CNN that two people in the crowd were hit by gunshots. He said the shots weren’t fired by police.

The renewed police activity started about a half-hour after community leaders appeared to have defused a showdown between several hundred protesters and a wall of law enforcement officers 60 wide and five deep.

The protesters, some of them throwing bottles, surged forward and back as the officers held their ground. An armored vehicle began moving toward the crowd, and as clergymen and other community leaders locked arms to hold the protesters back, the crowd appeared to retreat about 10 p.m. (11 p.m. ET).

Captain Johnson came out and spoke to the press at 2:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday morning and said that there were a small number of people in the crowd who were trying to provoke the police.  He emphasized that while shots were fired, none of them were fired by the police.

I have to give credit to Capt. Johnson for keeping a cool head and a perspective on the rights of the people to protest and the police to keep order and for everyone to be safe.  He’s doing his best to avoid escalating the situation himself.