It was reported last Thursday (August 14) that police helped deescalate heated protests in Ferguson, Missouri, by responding less militaristically, which gave the public reason to think things were finally heading in a better direction.
The situation, however, reversed again over the weekend. As NYMag points out, more than two hours before a second midnight curfew was set to begin on Sunday night, police fired tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Authorities claimed they were responding to reports of gunfire, looting and a coordinated advance on police.
Though a handful of civil-rights organizations asked Governor Jay Nixon to revoke the curfew and state of emergency put in place earlier this weekend, on 3 a.m. Monday morning (August 18) he signed off on an executive order to deploy the National Guard in order to “help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”
Governor Jay Nixon’s full statement:
“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk. I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center. These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes. Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.”
The conflict on Sunday night was reportedly ignited when groups of teenagers (alleged rival gang members) began attacking each other in a location not too far from where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed last weekend.
Not only were there were reports of multiple people with guns in the area, but shots were also heard. While police prepped to react, some 300 protesters began marching down West Florissant Avenue toward the police command center. When the crowd was ordered and failed to disperse, police dressed in riot gear fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades.
Perhaps why things seem to only worsen has something to do with Officer Darren Wilson still walking a free man. The slain teen’s killer fired six bullets at him, two of which lodged into his head, according to the latest family-ordered autopsy.
Things are looking really bleak. See images of Sunday night’s turn of events in the gallery below. Sound off in the comments.