Tear gas, flash grenades, arrests.
Those three elements have been a constant the last few nights in the Ferguson protests for the death of Michael Brown. But Monday evening added its own dramatic characteristic, as gun shots were fired towards several protestors. The only difference however was the source of were those shots arise, as other members of the public allegedly fired bullets amongst a relatively peaceful crowd.
Two people were wounded as tense times surfaced again in the small town outside of St. Louis, hours after President Obama made a second public statement on Ferguson. It appeared that it would be a relatively calm evening in wake of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon lifting Sunday's midnight curfew. Most protestors marched through their community from late afternoon into sunset without any major controversy, trying to avoid being arrested at the hands of a police's edict barring marchers from stopping in the middle of the street. But as the hours passed, certain individuals within the large crowd began to challenge police rules and prompt more aggressive action from authorities.
Water bottles were among the items allegedly thrown at police, as well as Molotov cocktails. However, multiple gun shots prompted intense police action as flash grenades and tear gas bombarded the street. Some protestors and media members were struck by those items, including one photojournalist from New Mexico whose injury was documented on CNN. "Thank you people of Ferguson," he said, indicating that local citizens poured water & magnesium into his eyes to halt his distress. "You have been great to me the whole time."
31 people were arrested, including Intercept journalist Ryan Devereaux. When asked if any journalists were in police custody, Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson inaccurately stated that was not the case. Johnson also indicated that some journalists not from a major media outlet could be handcuffed due to police being unable to distinguish "who is a journalist or not."
"In the midst of chaos and trying to move people on, we have to be safe," he said. "And we are providing protection for journalists. We had a journalist who was trapped in the midst of that gunfire, in the midst of that chaos. And we're providing protection for them. We took journalists back to their trucks."
Earlier in the day, Getty photojournalist Scott Olson was wrongly arrested by authorities and released during the evening.
President Obama said in his press conference Monday afternoon that Attorney General Eric Holder would travel to Ferguson on Wednesday, as some rumors have noted that St.Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch could bring charges on Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown to death on August 9, this week.
Update: NBC News reported that over double the number of people from the police's total were arrested last night. 78 people were taken into custody based on a list at the St. Louis County jail, with all but three arrested for refusing to disperse. Two people were arrested for use of an unlawful weapon, while the other was arrested for interfering with an officer.