FERGUSON, Mo. — Police on Thursday defended the use of tear gas and smoke bombs to repel protesters after another night of chaos in a St. Louis suburb after the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers Wednesday night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers. More than 10 people were arrested in Ferguson.
"In talking to these guys, it is scary," Schellman said of officers on the front lines of the protest. "They hear gunshots going off, and they don't know where they're coming from."
But the police response is drawing criticism from many circles. Civil-rights activist Al Sharpton called Thursday for the Justice Department to monitor Ferguson and the way police are handling the crisis.
"Even if we disagree, this climate is not good for anyone and is dangerous for everyone," Sharpton said in a statement.
The police chiefs of Ferguson and St. Louis County said Wednesday that race relations were the top priority in the town, where a white police officer fatally shot the black teen. Authorities have vowed to reach across the racial, economic and generational divide in a community in search of answers. A meeting was scheduled for Thursday between civil rights leaders and police.
Read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.