Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, witnessed a calm and peaceful night Tuesday after nights of unrest, marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. About 100 protesters and an equal number of police officers were reportedly seen near West Florissant Avenue in St. Louis suburb.
Fewer people gathered for protests for a fifth consecutive night compared to crowds on recent nights. In the past few days, hundreds of people have gathered on the streets to express concern over the death of Brown, an unarmed black teen, on Aug. 9, 2014, and to protest the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials. Protests that began Friday night were marred by clashes between demonstrators and police as people hurled bottles and rocks at authorities.
"We already know what needs to be happening is not happening," Larry Miller, 58, organizer of the protest group Ferguson Freedom Fighters, told the Associated Press late Tuesday. Miller added that the latest protests were dying down without much being accomplished. "We're still bothered over the killing of Mike Brown because we still need police reform, criminal justice system reform."
Protests that turned unruly Sunday night were further disrupted by gunfire. Tensions escalated after an 18-year-old friend of Brown, Tyrone Harris Jr., was shot by police.
A video released by St. Louis County Police Tuesday shows Harris, who has been accused of firing on police, brandishing what looks like a pistol. The black teenager, who was in a critical condition after the shooting, has been charged with four counts of assault on law enforcement officials, five counts of armed criminal action, and one count of shooting at a vehicle. He is reportedly being held on $250,000 cash-only bond.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, several people gathered outside police headquarters in solidarity with the Ferguson protests. Two protesters were reportedly arrested by police, but later released.
— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) August 12, 2015
In Ferguson, weapon-carrying members of the private militia group Oath Keepers walked the streets Tuesday. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told Reuters "their presence was both unnecessary and inflammatory."
A state of emergency, which was declared Monday, was in effect Tuesday in Ferguson, which had witnessed weeks of violence after Brown was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson last year. Public anger escalated in November after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer for Brown’s death, leading to a debate over police handling of black people across the country.