FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) – During a media briefing around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said that two people were shot and 31 were arrested during Monday night protests in Ferguson.
This marked the first night in two days without a midnight curfew, and the first night since Gov. Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard.
Johnson said protesters came from as far away as New York and California, and more than 200 people walked toward police. They were loud, he said, but not aggressive.
Police told protesters they could stay as long as they want, but safety became a concern around midnight. “You were out there,” Johnson said to one reporter. “You saw the chaos.”
He said SWAT trucks were not deployed until things deteriorated and police had to get to a victim.
Johnson also said four county police officers were hit by bottles and rocks, but not one bullet was fired by police. There were two fires; one at a business and one at an unoccupied residence.
“These criminal acts came from a tiny minority of law breakers,” Johnson said. “There is a dangerous dynamic in the night.”
He encouraged peaceful protestors to gather during the day in the name of safety, and so that they would be distinguishable from those seeking violence.
“Let’s not glamorize the acts of criminals,” Johnson said.
He did not provide an update on the conditions of the shooting victims.
Johnson noted that the crush of national media is adding another degree of difficulty to dealing with the nightly mayhem. He said the following about intense media coverage:
“We have to be safe. And we are providing protection for journalists. We had a journalist who was trapped in the midst of that gunfire – in the midst of that chaos, and we’re providing protection for them.”
Johnson said it has been difficult for police to tell journalists apart from protestors, which has accounted for some arrests of members of the media. He asked media to clear the roads when asked by police.
“We may take some of you into custody, but when we’ve taken you into custody and realized you’re a journalist, we’ve taken the proper action,” he said.
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