Things escalated once again late Friday evening in Ferguson, Missouri. An incredible uprising against the police state has been on-going in the streets there ever since the murder of seventeen year old Mike Brown, an unarmed teenager who was shot ten times by Officer Darren Wilson.
Things seemed to be going smoothly after the peace (PR?) gesture by Captain Ron Johnson where he lead the march side by side with protesters, vowed no more SWAT and that they would treat people with respect.
That ended tonight.
Media was threatened with arrest, protesters and press alike were given a 60 minute warning to disperse before being tear gassed, and reports of fireworks and smoke grenades flooded the internet.
Things are getting very heated in #Ferguson right now. Media have already been told they are not exempt from arrest
— Jess Camacho (@CamachoJess) August 16, 2014
— Lynden Steele (@manofsteele) August 16, 2014
Protesters began chanting “we are ready” at the police, and social media was on fire with eye witness reports coming in by the second.
Protesters in #Ferguson egging on police in standoff in middle of street chanting "we're ready!!"
— David Douglas (@DavidDouglasTV) August 16, 2014
Then the looting kicked back up. Focus rapidly changed. Many started virtually shaking their heads at the protesters once again, but what those people didn’t seem to notice was this-
4-5 business had door glass broken by looters. Protestors quickly blocked the entrance.
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
Despite fears of being arrested themselves, many protesters put themselves at risk to protect these local businesses. Even an attempt to loot the store that Michael Brown allegedly stole from was stopped by protesters, according to reports.
— Carolina Bama (@Awkward_Duck) August 16, 2014
So @stlcountypd says it pulled its officers from Ferguson Market and allowed looters to have their way. PD told by commanders to not engage
— FOX2now (@FOX2now) August 16, 2014
Remarkably, the police decided to hold back and not engage the looters.
The departments decision not to stop them, very shortly after assaulting crowds of protesters with pepper spray and arresting peaceful protesters, left many wondering who the police consider the real threat.
2/2 protesters trying to stop looters asking why police stops protests but not looting. And not always so easy to see who's who #Ferguson
— Alice Speri (@alicesperi) August 16, 2014
The media is already seeming to change the narrative to protesters versus looters and overlooking the police role in all of it.
It is important to point out that Thursday night when militarized police were not present, there was no conflict.
Friday night protesters and media were assaulted by police and threatened with arrest just for being there and there was chaos.
Whatever protest tactics are being used, the real important thing we all need to remember is this: