The second day of protests continued in Ferguson, Mo., as police arrested some 44 people, but authorities considered Tuesday’s protests to be more calm overall, and attributed that to the some 2,000 National Guard troops deployed to the St. Louis suburb.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar noted that of the 44 arrested, four were hit with felony charges including weapons and assaults on officers. Belmar also reported that two guns and a Molotov cocktail were taken from protesters over a night that started with a few hundred gathered in front of City Hall. According to Belmar, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd at City Hall, but that that was the only time tear gas was used all night.
The Post-Dispatch reports that the night included some vandalism by protesters and the torching of police cars, but there was nothing along the scale of Monday’s protests, which included the burning of some 12 businesses.
“We did have a much better night,” Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said at a press conference, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Belmar claimed that protesters threw “projectiles that included rocks, pieces of asphalt and bottles filled with urine,” and he credited his officers and the guard troops for the restraint they exhibited while being pelted with objects.
In addition to tripling the National Guard’s presence from some 700 to 2,000, Belmar believes that closing a stretch of West Florissant Avenue where business had been looted and burned helped center the protesters into a smaller location. The Post-Dispatch notes that some of those businesses that had been set ablaze Monday were still smoldering well into Tuesday night.
Both Belmar and Johnson noted during the press conference that Monday’s reaction to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson was much bigger than they had anticipated.
“I don’t think anybody thought it was going to be this magnitude,” Johnson said.
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.