It ain’t over ’til the ACLU gets to represent. Thursday night’s protest, the latest in the town of Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of Michael Brown, ended in the arrest of about six people belonging to the Millennials. Reports vary drastically, some reporting the protesters broke a local noise ordinance, others implying the arrests were police overreach during a ‘relatively tranquil’ legal assembly. The ACLU has moved in to referee the ongoing melee between citizens and Ferguson law enforcement.
Oct 3, h/t: Washington Post
Police in Ferguson arrested at least a half dozen people on Thursday night, ending what had been a relatively tranquil period between the department and the protesters who have shouted at them.
Among those arrested was a freelance journalist who has worked for CNN named Mary Moore. The charges were not immediately clear.
A number of those arrested were part of an activist group known as the Millennials that have taunted the police for days. Late Monday night, they had linked arms and stood in the middle of the street, daring police to arrest them for “standing up for their constitutional rights.” Police eventually walked away from the protesters that night, and Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said he respected their rights to peaceful protest.
The group reappeared on a rainy Thursday, after police asked protesters to quiet down and obey an 11 p.m. noise ordinance.
The protesters chanted even louder and began to walk toward the police department parking lot with their hands up. From a distance, a police officer on an intercom commanded them to get back on the sidewalk or risk arrest.
The protesters locked arms again and continued to chant. At least a dozen police officers approached them quickly, and the group began to race back to the nearby sidewalk.
“Get them,” an officer in a brown uniform told others. They arrested the group quickly, pulling apart those who linked arms, yelling charges to them such as “inciting violence” and “failure to obey. “
In the mix was Moore, the journalist, who was recording the action.
“What a remarkable display of making your own rules as you go,” said Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township. “They took the journalist who was doing her job and wasn’t involved.”
Of the nightly protests in Ferguson after the slaying of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer Darren Wilson, this rainy night was relatively small and quiet. Protesters had complained that the noise ordinance had been enforced arbitrarily. Some nights police ask then not to drum after 11. But there were no drums on this night and police asked the protesters to stop yelling. They did not comply.
Enter the ACLU
Oct 3, h/t: BND
Tony Rothert, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union office in St. Louis, said several complaints have been lodged about Thursday’s arrests and the ACLU is investigating.
“There do appear to be, if not bogus, at least unnecessary arrests,” said Rothert, who had no details about why the protesters were arrested. He also questioned why they’d be jailed on a 24-hour hold.
“Holding people unnecessarily long, arresting them when it’s not necessary — that’s an indication of overreach,” he said. “It certainly appears that the purpose is to discourage people from coming to Ferguson to protest.”
Hundreds of people have been arrested during nearly two months of protests in Ferguson, including journalists and clergy members. The Rev. Osagyefo Sekou was arrested Monday after he sat down on the sidewalk with other protesters and was charged with failure to disperse — a misdemeanor that is the most common charge protesters have faced.
Hanson said Moore was shooting video of the arrests when one of the protesters handed her a cellphone. When Moore took it, she was arrested, Hanson said, and officers confiscated her camera.
Asked what the protesters were saying or whether they were being noisy, Hanson said, “They were chanting, ‘Show me what democracy looks like.'”
Hanson said the family had received no explanation from police, and that she had not heard from her mother as of Friday morning.
“Nobody really knows what’s going on,” she said.
You know there’s a Hollywood movie in the works about Ferguson, MO and Michael Brown. The question is how to portray the leading characters? Who’s the Bad Guy? Who’s the Good Guy?
No doubt, the script will undergo many revisions as this racially charged drama plays out completely in coming months.
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