Tensions are high as night falls in Ferguson, Missouri, where demonstrators gathered yesterday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer.
Peaceful protests took place over the weekend, but the community was rocked yet again Sunday night as marches through the city streets turned violent.
St. Louis County officers who bullhorned orders attempting to get the crowd off the street and onto the sidewalk were pelted with bottles, rocks and pepper spray.
“A crowd of about 50 people looted a beauty store in the St. Louis suburb,” reported Agence France-Presse.
“My son was running to the police to ask for help and he was shot,” Harris’ father claimed, adding that police account of events were “a bunch of lies.”
“They’re making my son look like a criminal.”
Harris was reported to be in critical condition following the shooting.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon described Sunday night’s unrest as “a sad turn of events.”
“Over the last year, people of good will across the community have worked tirelessly to bridge divisions, restore trust and build a brighter, safer, and more united future for the region,” the governor said in a statement. “For the sake of all, it is my hope and expectation that today’s events will be peaceful so that these efforts can continue to move the region in a positive direction.”
Two teens also reportedly sustained gunshot wounds early Monday morning as a result of a drive-by near Brown’s memorial, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On Monday afternoon, police arrested 57 protesters who held a sit-in in front of the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse.
Following the violence, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency for Monday night, urging the community for calm.
“In light of last night’s violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency effective immediately,” a statement from Stenger read. “The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger.”
The emergency powers allow the County Police Chief “to take control of police emergency management in and around Ferguson,” reports the LA Times.