St. Louis police chief Jon Belmar and Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson held a press conference at 2:30 a.m. ET. Belmar claims that over 150 gunshots were heard, glass bottles were thrown, dozens of buildings were set on fire and at least two police cars were set on fire.
Belmar claims that the lack of “peaceful” protests “disappointed” him and Johnson agreed. Belmar further stated that protesters had “torn the community apart.” None of the blame was allocated to Officer Darren Wilson. Both men said that they were pleased that there was no loss of life. No mention was made of Michael Brown’s life, the theft of which spawned the first protests; nor was there any mention of the fact that the lack of accountability granted Wilson by the grand jury exacerbated the conditions tonight.
According to Belmar, guns were confiscated and at least 29 people were arrested.
Belmar said that the Union City police officer shot was unrelated to the protests in Ferguson.
Both Belmar and Johnson lamented the potentially permanent loss of small businesses along Ferguson’s Florissant Ave.
So far, a police car, reportedly filled with live ammunition, was set on fire and explosions have been heard going off. At least three buildings are currently on fire, police changed the protest perimeter and used tear gas and flash grenades on protesters, and several businesses have been looted.
One resident, who spoke with reporters as a local O’Reilly’s Auto Parts burned, says that police are allowing the community to be destroyed: “There ain’t a police no where to be found. It don’t make sense. Y’all got helicopters and all of this sh*t, and ya’ll just letting it burn…. I really believed this wasn’t happened again. It breaks my f—‘in heart. There should be police out here protecting these businesses, but instead they’re standing around somewhere else with their guns.”
See below for dispatches from the ground and watch NewsOne livestream.