In the wake of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri that erupted on the anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s death, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced a state of emergency Monday afternoon.
Peaceful protests and demonstrations were followed by a police-involved shooting that left a man in critical condition. Two teenagers were also shot early Monday near the Brown memorial, ABC reports. Brown was fatally shot by former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson a year ago. His death sparked months of unrest that also prompted a State of Emergency for the area in 2014.
“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,” Stenger said in a statement. “The time and investment in Ferguson and Dellwood will not be destroyed by a few that wish to violate the rights of others.”
Stenger also said last night’s burst of violence created “the potential for harm to persons and property.” The order puts St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar in charge of police operations in the city and surrounding areas, CNN reports.
The state of emergency came as police arrested 56 protesters who staged a demonstration blocking the entrance to a federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Cornel West, who was arrested during a protest last October, was handcuffed by police during the demonstration. Johnetta Elzie and DeRay McKesson, two prominent activists in the movement calling for the dismantlement of policing practices that harm members of the Black community, were also arrested Monday afternoon.
Before she was arrested, Elzie posted this tweet, a reference to Sandra Bland, the Illinois native who was arrested by a Texas trooper and died three days later in a jail cell. Waller County authorities say the 28-year-old Black woman died of an apparent suicide by hanging, though family and a concerned community believe otherwise.
If I'm arrested today please know I'm not suicidal. I have plenty to live for. I did not resist, I'm just black.