A day of peacefull demonstrations devoted to Michael Brown’s deathÂ turned into a true rage wave onÂ Monday with rowdy protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police.
The St. Louis County police reported thatÂ frozen water bottles were thrown at officers, promting them to arrest some protesters to stop chaos.
“Safety, our top priority, is now compromised. This is no longer a peaceful protest. Participants are now unlawfully assembled,” the departmentÂ said in a post on Twitter.
Authorities declared a state of emergency as they are afraid that the situation that took place in Ferguson a year ago could repeat. Last year a police shot downÂ an unarmed black teenagerÂ that triggeredÂ a national firestorm on race relations.
“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,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.
The order was issued for the St. Louis suburb and surrounding areas after policeÂ critically shotÂ an 18-year-old man in an exchange of gunfire that marred what had been a day of peaceful demonstrations.
Prosecutors charged the man, Tyrone Harris, who currently remains in instable conditionÂ in a hospital, with four criminal counts, including “assault on law enforcement” and shooting at a motor vehicle. His bond was set at $250,000.
Tyrone’s father later revealed to reporters that his sonÂ was a friend of Michael Brown and that the teenÂ was “running away from the situation, and police ended up shooting him,” and addedÂ he thought the victim had been inÂ â€śthe wrong place at the wrong time.â€ť
The four officers,Â who supposedly opened fire at the man will be placedÂ on administrative leave pending an investigation. They were not injured, although Belmar said, â€śI can tell you that it was a remarkable amount of gunfire,â€ťÂ estimating that around 40 bullets were shot in under a minute.
Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooters were “criminals, they weren’t protesters. Protesters were out there trying to effect change.Â We canâ€™t afford to have this kind of violence, not only on a night like this, but any point in time if weâ€™re going to move forward in the right direction.â€ť
“We cannot continue, we cannot talk about the good things that we have been talking about, if we are prevented from moving forward with this kind of violence,”he added.
“We cannot continue, we cannot talk about the good things that we have been talking about, if we are prevented from moving forward with this kind of violence,” Belmar said, adding that those resorting to violence are not protesters.
“Protesters are people who are out there to effect change,” he said. There were “several people shooting, several rounds shot.”
During Monday, aboutÂ 200 demonstrators marched from Christ Church Cathedral to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis. The protesters carried signs, chanted and prayed and demanded the Justice Department take action.
Ferguson police arrested 56 people at the courthouse demonstration, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Schron JacksonÂ reported.
One of those protesters, Johnetta Elzie, took to Twitter just a few minutes before her arrest, “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.”