Two arrested in Ferguson protest, later freed: Police

AFP , Sunday 15 Mar 2015

St. Louis Police Department walk through a crowd of protesters outside the Ferguson Police Department, Thursday, March 12, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Two people arrested when Ferguson protests moved to downtown St. Louis on Saturday night have been released, police in the Missouri city said Sunday.

The two included freelance news photographer Philip Montgomery, on assignment for the Mashable website, and a black-clad male protester with a kerchief over his face.

"They were in the street and refused to move back onto the sidewalk," Schron Jackson, a spokeswoman for the St Louis Metropolitan Police Department, told AFP by email.

"They were arrested for impeding the flow of traffic. Both were issued summonses and released."

Ferguson, a black-majority suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of almost nightly demonstrations after a white police officer fatally shot unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown on August 9.

Saturday night's demonstration in St. Louis by about 50 activists -- chanting "no justice, no peace" in the shadow of the Midwestern city's signature Gateway Arch -- was the first since the release of a US Justice Department report that exposed racial bias in the Ferguson police force.

"Right now, we are at a moment where, if we don't demand changes to our system -- not just small fixes but long-term and deep structural fixes to, say, the criminal justice system for instance -- I think we are in deep trouble," one protester, college professor David Ragland, told AFP.

Focal point of the protest was the white colonnaded Old Courthouse, where black slave Dred Scott and his wife unsuccessfully sued for his freedom in 1856.

The ensuing Dred Scott Decision ruled that slavery was protected under the Constitution, helping to put the United States on the path to civil war and, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

In adjacent St. Louis County, which includes Ferguson, police Sunday pursued their investigation into gunshots fired at an otherwise peaceful Ferguson protest on Wednesday, wounding two police officers -- one in the face, the other in the shoulder.

The incident renewed tension in the city where local entrepreneurs met Saturday with Mayor James Knowles, saying business for them has fallen as much as 80 percent since Brown's killing put Ferguson in the national spotlight.

Knowles, a white second-generation Ferguson resident in his early 30s, is facing calls to resign, but he says he intends to stay in office to oversee reforms set out in the Justice Department report and to help restore community harmony.

Short link: