Ferguson Experiences 3rd Straight Night Of Unrest
By ALEX SANZ and JIM SALTER
FERGUSON, Mo. — Authorities arrested three protesters during a third straight night of unrest in Ferguson as tensions mount amid speculation that a grand jury could decide soon whether to indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown.
St. Louis County police said large groups of protesters blocked traffic three times in the St. Louis suburb Friday night. That happened twice near the police station and once on West Florissant Avenue, the site of violent protests soon after Brown’s death. A motorist lost control and crashed into a light pole during the unrest on West Florissant. Protesters converged on the car, but no one was hurt.
Police spokesman Brian Schellman said three demonstrators were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly after remaining in the street after repeated requests to move.
Ferguson is on edge as a grand jury weighs whether to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown, 18, during a violent confrontation on Aug. 9. The white officer’s killing of the unarmed black 18-year-old led to protests, some of which turned violent.
Wilson, 28, reportedly told the grand jury that he feared for his life as Brown, who was 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds, came at him. Some witnesses said Brown was trying to surrender and had his hands up.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has said the grand jury decision will be announced this month. His spokesman, Ed Magee, told reporters at around noon on Friday that the grand jury was still in session. Five hours later, though, Magee declined to say whether the panel was still meeting. He did not respond to messages seeking comment Saturday.
The time, date and place for a news conference announcing the decision has not been decided, Magee said.
The size and intensity of protests had dwindled until recently. Arrests have been made three straight nights, mostly for protesters blocking streets.
Calls for peace and restraint emanated from several quarters, including President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and civil-rights leaders and business owners.
The most emotional appeal came from Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr.
“Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer,” Brown said in the video released by the group STL Forward. “No matter what the grand jury decides, I don’t want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”