War Zone: Racial Tension, Rioting Continues In #Ferguson [Photos]
Violence between protesters and police in Ferguson, Mo. Over the killing of unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown continued to escalate for the fourth day in a row. With authorities firing tear gas into crowds and rolling tanks through the city the past few days, the Show-Me State has been reduced to a literal war zone.
What we know thus far is that last Saturday (Aug. 9), the 18-year-old Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson City police officer after an alleged scuffle. Eyewitness accounts differ greatly from what police investigators have stated, and they say the officer gunned down Brown maliciously.
A series of protests that began peacefully on Sunday suddenly erupted into riots and looting late Sunday night, which sparked a brisk response from St. Louis County troopers and other officers from local jurisdictions.
We’ve been reporting on the developments of the situation, noting that St. Louis rappers Tef Poe and Vandalyzm were among the many who took to social media to detail the unrest in live time. Alderman Antonio French was another active person on the ground, using Twitter and Vine to bring outsiders into the events taking place in Ferguson.
Well over 50 people have been arrested and a handful of police officers have been injured. Other injuries include protesters who have been hit with rubber bullets from police, even while reportedly showing no signs of aggression towards the heavily armed militia. Decked in riot gear, adorned with weaponry better suited for skirmishes a Middle East war zone, and using armored vehicles, the police have the advantage on the ground and are seemingly abusing their authority.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, a pair of reporters from The Washington Post and The Huffington Post respectively were assaulted and then later arrested by a SWAT team inside a McDonald’s for reasons yet unknown. Alderman French was also one of the individuals arrested last night, but was released Thursday morning.
Later that night, police made offensive maneuvers on peaceful demonstrators and it was caught live by way of the I Am Mike Brown livestream at KARG Argus Radio. Police fired more of the aforementioned rubber bullets at the crowd, and they demanded that bystanders refrain from videotaping the events. This was to silence any potential witness testimony according to the KARG reporter.
Although there haven’t been any reported riots or looting since Monday night, police still fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at the citizens who all hand their hands raised and were not making motions toward the cops. The police also fired gas at news trucks, including an Al Jazeera vehicle parked in the area and the act was caught live on camera.
As of Thursday, there are no available live feeds of the protests in Ferguson via major news outlets, and the area was declared a “no-fly zone” which rightfully added to the concerns of many.
Hacker group Anonymous has taken drastic measures to level the playing field, and has released the name of the officer who first responded and thus allegedly shot and killed Brown. The group threatened to release the photo, address and related sensitive documents regarding the shooting at 11:00 a.m. ET and other points throughout the day if the St. Louis County police do not confirm the name of the officer. As of now, Officer Bryan P. Willman’s photo is live on the Anonymous Twitter feed.
The hacker group also says it has obtained video of Brown’s body being shoved into the back of a police SUV and that there were no emergency medical services personnel there at the scene of the shooting. Previously, Anonymous released audio from the St. Louis County police department dispatch office regarding the Brown shooting.
President Barack Obama has issued an official statement regarding Ferguson, and has promised that the Justice Department will look into the matter.
Check out photos from last night’s (August 13) events on the following pages.