Update: State Of Emergency Has Been Lifted In Ferguson

Photo: Marcus DiPaola/NurPhoto/Rex/REX USA.
Update: The state of emergency was officially lifted in Ferguson, MO, as of Friday morning, after the third straight night of calm in the city. “After reviewing the events of the past four evenings, under the state of emergency, I am pleased to report our law enforcement officers have established order while preventing further acts of violence in Ferguson," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement released just after 9 a.m. "I want to emphasize local law enforcement will remain vigilant, and officers are prepared to respond swiftly if necessary," he added. The state of emergency was instituted following several incidents of violence coinciding with the anniversary of Michael Brown's fatal encounter with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Tyrone Wilson, an 18-year-old Ferguson resident who was critically injured this week after allegedly opening fire on police officers, is expected to survive, according to comments made by his father to the local Fox News affiliate. This story was originally published August 11, 2015. A state of emergency has been declared in Ferguson, MO, following the announcement that Tyrone Harris, 18, would be charged with four counts of assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action, and one count of shooting at a motor vehicle. Harris remains in critical condition as of Monday evening. The four plainclothes detectives in the unmarked SUV that Harris is being charged with shooting at were not wearing body cameras, leading to a lack of documentation about what incited the incident; according to Harris' father, his son was unarmed and "running for his life."
The state-of-emergency announcement came from St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. "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," he said in a statement to NBC News. CNN reported that an estimated 200 activists marched to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis; 56 people were arrested at that demonstration. By the end of Monday, the total number of arrests in Ferguson reached nearly 150, according to CBS St. Louis. That reportage also indicates that there were no additional shootings, shots fired, vandalism, or property damages overnight into Tuesday. This story was originally published on August 10, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's fatal encounter with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Over the weekend, activists and attendees gathered to remember Brown — along with the events that have followed the days and months after his death — through peaceful vigils, both in Ferguson and across the U.S.
In Brown's home city, hundreds observed four-and-a-half minutes of complete silence, meant to signify the four-and-a-half hours that Brown's body was left in the street after being struck by at least six bullets. But what began in the spirit of somber commemoration turned to gunfire by late Sunday evening. A man identified as Tyrone Harris Jr. is accused of firing multiple gunshots at plainclothes detectives in an SUV. The detectives shot back, striking the 18-year-old Harris, according to Police Chief John Belmar in St. Louis Today. According to the alleged shooter's father, Harris was close friends with Brown. He was critically injured and went into surgery early Monday morning. The detectives have been placed on administrative leave, though that has done little to quell the concerns of citizens. In a statement released today, a group that calls itself the Ferguson Action Council said, "After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plain clothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic." At the same time Harris and the detectives were engaged in gunfire, around 11 p.m. Sunday, two other groups were heard firing weapons for between 40 and 50 seconds. Officers, reporters, and protesters sought cover from the shots, and no injuries from that instance have been reported at this time. The violence continued through the night. Around 2 a.m., two teens, ages 17 and 19, who were walking by the Michael Brown memorial sustained gunshot injuries from a drive-by shooting. Their names have not been released; both are expected to survive. Three police officers were injured overnight as well: Two were pepper-sprayed, reportedly by demonstrators; one was injured when he was hit in the face by a rock. In a statement to St. Louis Today, Chief Belmar called the shooters criminals. "They were not protesters," he said. Yet in a city where police and citizens continue to clash, it's difficult to rely upon such a black-and-white assessment. A year after protests that were meant to move the mark on equality and accountability, Ferguson's Black residents are still unable to escape the violence — in part because oftentimes discriminatory housing practices make leaving it behind impossible. What's more, Ferguson is seemingly everywhere. A Texas teen who crashed his car into an Arlington auto dealership was fatally shot four times by a white police officer over the weekend; that officer was not wearing a body camera. The family of Christian Taylor, age 19, is demanding clearer articulation and evidence about the events leading up to his death. Three hundred fourteen Black Americans have been killed by police officers between the time of Michael Brown's death and the violence in Ferguson yesterday. We can only hope that by August 2016, some progress will have actually been made.

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