2 Shot, 78 arrested as violence escalates amid Ferguson’s peaceful demonstrations

Highway Patrol Ron Johnson

Violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri led to 78 arrests overnight – with the majority of people handcuffed for refusing to disperse under a heavily-armed police presence.

Demonstrations, mostly peaceful but with spasms of violence by smaller groups, have flared since Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead while walking down a residential street on August 9. State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said on Monday night ‘our officers came under heavy gunfire’ in one area.

The majority of those arrested were from Missouri but there were a few out-of-towners. Two people from St Louis were arrested for unlawful use of a weapon and a man from Illinois, was jailed for interfering with an officer.
The arrest number on Tuesday more than doubled the arrests earlier reported by police, NBC reported. The total arrest number being reported was only for the St Louis County Jail with numbers unclear for other locations.

A total of 18 people from outside Missouri were arrested during clashes between police and protesters, some from as far away as New York City and California.

A St Louis County Jail official told MailOnline today that he was not authorized to comment on the number of arrests.

Captain Johnson said that ‘violent agitators’ are using largely peaceful demonstrations as an excuse to commit crime. He said some of those arrested had traveled across the country, from as far afield as New York and California, to take advantage of the town’s unsettled state.

‘Not a single bullet was fired by officers despite coming under heavy attack,’ he told a news conference today.

Riot police had confiscated two guns from protesters and what looked like a petrol bomb. Four officers had been injured.

Johnson separately told CNN that two people were shot within the crowd, but not by police, and were taken to hospital. There was no immediate word on their condition.

‘This has to stop. I don’t want anybody to get hurt. We have to find a way to stop this,’ said Johnson, an African-American who grew up in the area and who took over security efforts last Thursday after the mostly white local force was accused of using excessive force against blacks.

He added: ’This nation is watching each and every one of us.

Johnson separately told CNN that two people were shot within the crowd, but not by police, and were taken to hospital. There was no immediate word on their condition.

‘This has to stop. I don’t want anybody to get hurt. We have to find a way to stop this,’ said Johnson, an African-American who grew up in the area and who took over security efforts last Thursday after the mostly white local force was accused of using excessive force against blacks.

He added: ’This nation is watching each and every one of us.

Read more at The DailyMail Online.

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