Police saw a different dynamic Tuesday in Ferguson, Mo., Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson said, a day after he asked the community to protest during the daytime “so they would not serve as shields to lawbreakers in the night.”
At a news conference early Wednesday, Johnson said protesters assembled in smaller crowds and came out earlier on Tuesday. No molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, tear gas or gunshots were fired by police. Officers did use pepper spray, he said.
“Tonight the elders in this community, volunteers, activists and the clergy came out in large numbers,” he said. “They walked, they talked with people. They urged order, calm and peace. That had a calming influence on the younger people.”
Johnson said someone made a threat to shoot an officer earlier in the evening. Police identified the vehicle driven by those who made the threats at about 8:30 p.m. Central time, stopped the vehicle and seized two handguns. Another gun was seized in a separate incident, he said.
Then about midnight, a mostly peaceful scene threatened to explode when someone threw a bottle at police. Johnson said agitators began throwing glass and plastic bottles filled with water and ice. They threw urine, too.
Officers moved in as the alleged agitators “hid behind the media for protection,” Johnson said. There were 47 arrests Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, including one Texas man allegedly arrested for the third time, he said.
Still, this was an improvement over Monday night.
“I believe there was a turning point made,” Johnson said.