Police, protesters clash again outside St. Louis
By Jim Suhr and David A. Lieb, AP
August 13, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
FERGUSON, Missouri--Police in riot gear fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters in a St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by police over the weekend, as tension rose even amid calls for collective calm.
Between two nights of unrest, a community forum hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP civil rights group Monday night drew hundreds to a sweltering church in Ferguson, the St. Louis County suburb of 21,000 that's nearly 70 percent black and the place where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot multiple times after being confronted by an officer.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said a large crowd that gathered throughout the day Monday at the site of a burned-out convenience store turned rowdy at nightfall, throwing rocks at police. Officers used tear gas and shot "beanbag rounds" meant to stun them, he said.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said there were at least five arrests and no reports of looting. Nearly three dozen people had been arrested following a candlelight vigil Sunday night when crowds burned stores, vandalized vehicles, assaulted reporters and taunted officers.
"People are tired. They have reached the end of their rope," said Ruth Latchison Nichols after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People forum, where many more were left waiting outside once the pews reached capacity. "Enough is enough. This is a state of emergency."
National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks implored residents to "turn your anger into action" while condemning a violent response to Brown's death.
"To sneak around under the cover of darkness, to steal, to loot, to burn down your neighborhood — this does not require courage," he said. "Courage is when you strive for justice."
"Martin Luther King did not live and die so that we may steal and lie in the middle of the night," he added.
The FBI has opened an investigation into Brown's death, looking into possible civil rights violations. Witnesses have said that Brown had his hands raised when the unidentified officer approached with his weapon drawn and fired repeatedly.