FERGUSON, Missouri - Community elders and the clergy were credited with helping to bring "a different dynamic" to protests in this St. Louis suburb, police said early Wednesday. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who's in charge of security in Ferguson, said police responded to fewer incidents overnight. Although urine and bottles were thrown at officers and National Guard troops deployed in Ferguson, "there were no Molotov cocktails tonight, there were no shootings," Johnson told an early-morning press conference. At least 47 people were arrested - including one Texas man apparently for the third time - with some "agitators" hiding behind the media, he said. Police also received a death threat.
Johnson cited a marked difference in the protests from recent nights, thanking community leaders and members of the clergy who came out to defuse tensions. "They walked, they talked with people," he said. "They urged order, calm and peace." Johnson said he believed the community appeared had reached a "turning point," highlighting "more and more police officers and residents interacting and smiling." While a "limited" amount of pepper spray was used, no tear gas or bullets were fired, he added. Johnson called the night a "small step" toward restoring calm in the community, adding that those "are going to turn into giant steps." The protests erupted 10 days ago after unarmed black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer.
- Cassandra Vinograd and Rick Brown
First published August 20 2014, 12:42 AM