Violence erupted on Sunday night (Aug. 9) during protests that sparked from the one-year anniversary of Mike Brown’s fatal shooting by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. After gunfire rang out between citizens and police officers, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency in the city.
“In light of last night’s violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency effective immediately,” Stenger said. “The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger.”
Tyrone Harris Jr was identified as a victim of a shooting that took place early Sunday morning, after authorities claimed he opened fire on officers. He was reported as being in “critical condition” at the time of his identification, and three others were reportedly shot, according to USA Today. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar is now controlling police operations for the remainder of the demonstrations.
“There is a small group of people out there who are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails,” Belmar said. “That’s just the bottom line on this and that’s just unfortunate…We can’t afford to have this kind of violence.”
Along with the declaration of a state of emergency, several prominent #BlackLivesMatter activists were arrested on Monday afternoon (Aug. 10) , including Deray McKesson and Johnetta Elzie. Dr Cornel West was also among those arrested:
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 10, 2015
They arrested Netta. https://t.co/1pDong9qxF
— deray mckesson (@deray) August 10, 2015
— Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) August 10, 2015
Along with taking to Twitter to denounce the violence, Attorney General Loretta Lynch also noted that the message of the movement was in danger of being lost.
“As we have seen over the recent months and years, not only does violence obscure any message of peaceful protest, it places the community, as well as the officers who seek to protect it, in harm’s way,’’ she said. “Incidents of violence, such as we saw last night, are contrary to both that message, along with everything that all of us, including this group, have worked to achieve over the past year.”