Police say violence on the second night in the St. Louis region since Monday’s grand jury decision has not been as intense as that on the first.
St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar says that’s been due in part to the increased National Guard presence from Monday night to Tuesday night. 700 National Guard soldiers had been deployed to Ferguson on Monday and that number was more than tripled, to 2,200, last night.
Belmar says with the Guard there in a support role, more police officers and highway patrol troopers could deal with the demonstrators that turned violent.
“Generally I think it’s fair to say the officers acted with an incredible amount of bearing and discipline tonight,” Belmar told the media in a briefing early this morning. “We saw some protesters out there that were really out there for the right reason. Unfortunately there seems to be a few people that are bent on, I think, preventing this from happening the most ideal way that it possibly could.”
Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson also credited some demonstrators.
“A lot of the protesters that came out for peaceful protests actually were assisting us,” Johnson said.
St. Louis County Police say 44 people were arrested Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. At least one of those was related to a weapon and another, to assaults on police. Two guns and one Molotov cocktail were also seized and one police car was burned last night.
Windows were also broken at some locations, including the Ferguson City Hall.
“That happens also to be the only place we deployed tear gas this evening,” said Belmar.
Violent protests and looting, as well as some peaceful protests, have happened since August 9 when 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. They increased in scope and intensity after the announcement Monday night that a St. Louis County grand jury would not indict Wilson for that shooting.