FERGUSON, Mo.—A tense, hours-long standoff between police and protesters here ended in a fiery cocktail of chaos, vandalism, and tear gas on Tuesday night. It was the second night of protesting and violence in response to a grand jury’s decision to clear Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Ferguson was just one of dozens of cities throughout the country that faced off with police to demand better treatment of minorities, particularly black Americans.
Protesters stood for hours in the freezing night outside of the Ferguson police station where Wilson works, playing cat-and-mouse with a sentry of law enforcement officials in full riot gear.
At least 70 state, county, and local police were joined by about 30 National Guard troops who formed a line to block the entrance to the police station. There were minor disruptions and several arrests as police tried to keep protesters from blocking traffic.
At least two smoke bombs were hurled toward police from the crowd, and one unidentified man who was arrested lost consciousness while being handcuffed and had to be carried into the police station.
At about 10 p.m. a group of men urged the crowd to follow them down the road in what looked like a protest march. The mob of about 350 people proceeded several blocks past single-story businesses with soldiers stationed atop like sentries with fire extinguishers before abruptly turning down a side street. There, several people surrounded a parked police car and tried to unsuccessfully rock it to its side, finally settling on breaking the windows and attempting to set it on fire.
Police converged quickly on the area and the back window of a second police car, this time idling in the street, was broken by someone in the crowd.
Several canisters of tear gas were fired into the crowd, which was a mixture of protesters and media, sending them running for cover. After the street cleared, they continued to fire tear gas to keep the crowd at bay. The entire crowd, including media, were eventually ordered to disperse or face arrest for forming an “illegal assembly.”
Elsewhere in the St. Louis area throughout the day protesters and police continually faced off. Earlier in the day, a crowd stopped traffic on a main highway.