School canceled, more protests and arrests in Missouri


School canceled, more protests and arrests in Missouri

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Aug 14, 2014

Children were supposed to head back to school Thursday morning in the Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri, but that did not happen.

The neighborhood has been up in arms since Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by a police officer last weekend. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said shortly after that Brown was trying to grab a police officer's weapon during the incident.

Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other objects at local police Wednesday on night five of protests in the town of Ferguson, near St. Louis. Officers wearing body armor and carrying assault rifles fired back at the protesters with tear gas and smoke bombs.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says his force has demonstrated "a remarkable amount of restraint" in dealing with the crowds, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City leaders are now asking residents to hold vigils and protests during the day instead of at night for safety reasons. At least 10 people were arrested on Wednesday night during a gathering of more than 300 people.

RELATED: The Shooting of a Missouri Teenager timeline

Gov. Jay Nixon tweeted that he was canceling a visit to the state fair on Thursday and will be focusing his attention on the problems in Ferguson instead.

The governor also tweeted that the situation in Ferguson "does not represent who we are" and that he is asking for calm and urging law enforcement to respect rights of residents and the press.

Protesters on Wednesday night reportedly wore shirts wrapped around their heads and held signs that read "Hands up, don't shoot." Witnesses to the shooting of Michael Brown claim he was running with his hands in the air when he was shot by the police officer.

PHOTOS: Protests over Missouri teen's death

The protests began on Saturday night. On Sunday, vandals damaged 12 businesses, burning one. Early Wednesday morning, a St. Louis County police officer shot and critically wounded a man who pointed a gun at the officer near the site of the Brown shooting.

Two journalists and Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman, were among those arrested on Wednesday night. The reporters from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were released after the police chief intervened. Both journalists are claiming that they were roughly treated during the incident.

RELATED: Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

The outrage over their arrests spread quickly on social media.

French had been documenting the protests on social media. He was released early Thursday morning.

Police have still not released the name of the police officer who shot Brown because of death threats against him. The police chief revealed on Wednesday that the officer was also injured during the incident with 18-year-old Brown, according to the New York Times. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing and could take several weeks.

President Obama was briefed on the situation late Wednesday night, according to Reuters. Another briefing was scheduled for Thursday morning.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to