St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has declared a state of emergency in and around Ferguson, Mo. following the arrest of several dozen protestors the day after officers shot a man they say opened fire on police on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.
“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 … will not be destroyed by a few that wish to violate the rights of others.”
Police arrested around 50 demonstrators on Monday, including Cornel West, who blocked a federal courthouse in St. Louis while protesting racial bias in law enforcement.
A group of activists blocked off part of Interstate 70 near Ferguson on Monday evening, holding hands and stopping traffic, as witnesses documented it on social media. Video footage posted by CNN showed police officers apprehending one of the protestors.
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) August 10, 2015
Earlier that day, county prosecutors announced 10 felony charges against 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr., including four counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, five counts of armed criminal action and one firearms-related charge.
St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said Harris Jr. shot a “remarkable amount of gunfire” into the windshield of a van containing plainclothes police on Sunday night. Police returned fire at Harris Jr., who underwent surgery and is in critical condition.
Harris’ father, however, called the police’s version of the story “a bunch of lies” and said two girls that were with his son told him Harris Jr. was unarmed.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemned the violence on Monday. Speaking at the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police, she said, “The weekend’s events were peaceful and promoted a message of reconciliation and healing. But incidents of violence, such as we saw last night, are contrary to both that message, along with everything that all of us, including this group, have worked to achieve over the past year.”
The Department of Justice said in a statement that the arrested protestors “are being processed as quickly as can administratively be accomplished…and are being released on a summons.”